President attends Consecration of Bishop Williams in Limerick

Wednesday July 16th 2008

Most Revd John Neill, Archbishop of Dublin, President Mary McAleese, Rt Revd Trevor Williams, Dr Martin McAleeseThe Rt Rev Trevor Williams was consecrated Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe on Friday July 11.

The Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr John Neill presided at the service, assisted by the Most Revd Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh and the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath and Kildare.

Bishops and Archbishops from the Church of Ireland (both current and retired) and Bishops from the Anglican and Porvoo Communions also assisted at the 'laying on of hands' during the consecration service.

Public Representatives led by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese and the Mayor of Limerick, Cllr John Galligan were also present. The Roman Catholic Church was represented by the Bishop of Killaloe, the Most Revd William Walsh.
The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Alan Harper, the new Bishop of Limerick, the Right Revd Trevor Williams, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr John Neill and the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath and KildareAt the beginning of the service, the Bishop-elect was presented by the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Revd Alan Abernethy, the Archdeacon of Limerick, the Venerable Malcolm Shannon, the Dean of Limerick, the Very Revd Maurice Sirr, Mr Edward Hardy, a lay person from Killaloe and Joyce Williams (the Bishop-elect's wife).
The address at the service was given by Dom Mark-Ephrem Nolan OSB, Superior of the Benedictine Monastery of the Holy Cross, Rostrevor, Co Down, the first time that a Roman Catholic clergyman has delivered the address at the consecration of a Church of Ireland Bishop.
In his address, Dom Mark referred to the new Bishop's work in north Belfast promoting reconciliation and with the media.  He said: "A particular thrust and hallmark of his ministry up until now has been to bring people together in Christ – one immediately thinks of his work in the domain of the media, his membership of the Corrymeela community and the leadership role he played therein and of the work in which he was so wholeheartedly engaged in North Belfast until very recently. 

“To bring people together in Christ will undoubtedly stand at the heart of Trevor’s exercise of the new ministry confided to him today."
Dom Mark-Ephrem Nolan OSB (preacher at service), Rt Revd Trevor Williams, Mrs Joyce WilliamsDom Mark continued:  "The more discreet place the Christian Churches hold in Irish society today is a better place from which to truly minister…that we have lost some of our privilege is no bad thing. It is good to be brought back to the gospel call not to want to lord it over others, but to stand in their midst as humble servants.

“The Church is called to be the humble service of the Lord in our world. One of the greatest obstacles to true Christian witness is when we Christians take ourselves to be more important than we are and strive to cling to privilege. The true Christian leader – following the example of Christ himself – and the Church which he serves should strive to be a self-effacing servant.”
Following the address, prayers and a hymn led by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, the Archbishop of Dublin presided at the laying on of hands where he and the other Bishops present from the Church of Ireland and other Anglican and Porvoo Churches (about 20 in all) laid their hands on the Bishop elect and prayed for the Holy Spirit to come down upon him.

Following this, the new Bishop was vested in episcopal robes and presented with a Pectoral cross, an episcopal ring and a bible. At the close of the service the new Bishop was also presented with his final symbol of office, a crozier (symbolising his role as a shepherd of his flock).
The new Bishop will be representing his diocese at the once a decade Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops in Canterbury, England  from July 16 to August 4. Following his return, he will be enthroned in St Mary's Cathedral, Limerick and St Flannan's Cathedral, Killaloe on dates to be announced. (Notwithstanding this, he takes office as Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe from his consecration).

A native of Dublin, Bishop Williams is 59, and was educated in St Andrew’s College, Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin and St John’s College Nottingham.

He was ordained a deacon in 1974 and a priest the following year and first served as Curate in Maindenhead, St Andrews and St Mary’s in the Diocese of Oxford from 1974 to 1977.

He moved to Ireland to become Assistant Chaplain to the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1978 before going on to serve as Religious Broadcasting Producer with the BBC from 1981-1988. From 1988 to 1993 he served as rector of St John’s, Newcastle, Co Down.

In 1993 he became leader of the Corrymeela Community, an ecumenical Christian group committed to promoting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. He was appointed a Canon of St Patrick’s Cathedral in 2002, and moved to Holy Trinity and St Silas with Immanuel in north Belfast a year later.

Bishop Williams is married to Joyce and the couple has three adult sons, Andrew, Mark and Michael.

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