Bishop of Clogher addresses retired clergy

Wednesday March 27th 2024

The Ven John Scott, RCA honorary treasurer (left), and Canon Jim Campbell (chairman), present Bishop Ian Ellis with a token of members’ appreciation following the Bishop’s talk to the RCA in St Anne’s Cathedral. (Photo: the Rev Clifford Skillen)

Report by the Rev Clifford Skillen

Members of the Retired Clergy Association (NI) met recently in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.

The morning began with a service of Holy Communion in the Cathedral’s Chapel of Unity, celebrated by Bishop Trevor Williams, assisted by Canon Raymond Fox.

Following light refreshments, the Association’s chairman, Canon Jim Campbell, welcomed members and the guest speaker, the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Rev Dr Ian Ellis.

Bishop Ellis began by sharing with members a series of personal reflections – ‘shaping experiences,’ as he called them – on his ordained journey, from a curacy in St Mark’s, Armagh, through incumbencies in Loughgall and Grange (Armagh) and Rossorry (Clogher) to his election as Bishop of Clogher. He described how such experiences had helped to influence his ongoing ministry and direct his life.

Referring particularly to his 13 years as Secretary to the Church of Ireland Board of Education (NI), from 2002-2015, Bishop Ellis, a teacher prior to ordination, explained that he had always enjoyed the world of education and illustrated how often in his role as Secretary, he had seen the worlds of education and ministry coming together.

Looking back, he saw his time as Secretary as ‘a fascinating period, a mix of jobs,’ dealing with various aspects of education through interfacing with, for example, the Church of Ireland, other Church denominations, Education and Library Boards and the Department of Education; and drawing up and implementing church safeguarding protocols along with the training of clergy and leaders.

He believed that the Church needed a voice in the ‘public square of education’ and told of the determined efforts of the Churches in the past to make a significant impact in education by retaining their historic role and rights of transferors.

Turning to the present-day, Dr Ellis said that he saw his episcopal work as ‘the most challenging I’ve had yet,’ but he found his previous experience in education invaluable, especially when called into school management and governance situations.

He viewed his role as bishop as a reconciler, a maintainer of unity and – his favourite description – ‘chief shepherd leading and caring for the people of God.’

Back to latest news

Site Directory