A Service of Institution in a blustery Castlerock marked a homecoming of sorts for the new Rector, Rev Chris Mac Bruithin.
He had been educated at Dalriada School and had ‘learned the ropes’ as a deacon in St Augustine’s in Londonderry.
For the last three years, Rev Mac Bruithin had served as a curate in St Macartin’s Cathedral in Enniskillen. The Dean of Clogher, Very Rev Kenneth Hall, was among the many who made the long journey from the lakeland county to the north coast to see their former curate instituted by the Archbishop’s Commissary and Archdeacon of Derry, Ven Robert Miller, as Incumbent of the Parish of Castlerock, Dunboe and Fermoyle. Among those in the congregation in Christ Church, Castlerock was the Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry, Mrs Alison Millar.
Dean Hall said the following Sunday would be the Feast Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the third anniversary of Rev Mac Bruithin’s ordination into the priesthood. He said he had known the new incumbent since 2014, when he had “spotted” him during a mission in St Macartin’s Cathedral. He said Clogher Diocese had really only ‘got a lend’ of Rev Mac Bruithin during the three years of his curacy as “all the signposts in Chris’s life seemed to point back to Derry Diocese – not his home diocese but a diocese where he made his home.”
“So, Rev Chris comes to you, filled with enthusiasm,” Dean Hall said, “and I don’t expect things to be the same as of old. But one thing I can assure you [of] is that any changes will be made within the confines of the Church of Ireland and all fully adhering to the teaching and traditions of our Church.
“He is one committed to word and sacrament and rightly so, for they are inseparable and vital for a Christian life. There is nothing more powerful than the family of God gathered round the Lord’s table in communion with him and with each other.
“Rev Chris I would deem ‘a prayer book person’ and so, too, should you his parishioners be prayer book people. It was the reading of a prayer book in a church that drew Chris into the Church of Ireland. We are a prayer book Church and the prayer books should not just be on those shelves at the back of the church for use on Sundays but there should be a copy of the prayer book in every home in the parish.”
The preacher said parishioners would find that their new Rector had a sense of humour but they would also discover that he was gifted with being able to minister to all ages. He said Rev Chris and his wife Sarah had done sterling work in maintaining and growing the important work of outreach to the unchurched in Enniskillen.
A new chapter was about to begin – the preacher said – not only for Chris and Sarah and son Noah, but for the parishioners of Castlerock, Dunboe and Fermoyle. Members of the congregation then made their way to the nearby parish hall where parishioners had also followed the Institution Service on a large screen. Presentations were made to the Rural Dean, Rev Canon Harold Given, and to Rev Adam Quigley, who had looked after the parish since the previous Rector, Rev Diane Matchett, had left.