The warmth of welcome he and his family have received was acknowledged by the Rev. Paul Thompson, whose institution as Rector of the Grouped Parishes of Derryvullen North and Castle Archdale by the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt. Rev. John McDowell, took place recently in Derryvullen North Parish Church, Irvinestown.

A native of Dungannon, the Rev. Thompson grew up in Co. Armagh and studied Hebrew, Biblical and Theological Studies at Trinity College Dublin before attending the Church of Ireland Theological College. 

Following his ordination, he served first in the Diocese of Down and Dromore and then in the Diocese of Connor for almost 11 years before joining HM Prison Service in England where he has served as a Senior Chaplain for the past 17 years. While in the Prison Service he also trained as a Therapeutic Counsellor.

The Rev. Thompson and his wife, Lorraine have two grown up sons, Hugh and Oliver.

During the Service of Institution, the hymns were; “Praise my soul, the King of Heaven,” “As the deer pants for the water,” “Be still, for the presence of the Lord,” “I, the Lord of sea and sky,” “Be thou my vision” and “Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord.” The organist was Mrs. Florence Barrett.

Representatives from both parishes read the three readings. They were Mrs. Sandra Cashel, Mrs. Wendy Knox and Mr. Samuel Johnston. Other parishioners took part in the Act of Institution.

The Rural Dean of Kesh, the Rev. Alan Irwin also took part in the service. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Canon Walter Laverty.

The collection was taken up for the Clogher Ministry Fund which facilitates the development of lay and ordained ministry in the Diocese.

Following the service, during a reception in the Parish Hall, the Rev. Thompson was formally welcomed to both parishes by the Rural Dean of Kesh, the Rev. Alan Irwin; Churchwardens from both parishes, Mrs. Margaret Humes and Mr. Derek Anderson; the Rev. Steven Foster, Minister of Irvinestown Methodist Church on behalf of other churches in the Irvinestown area and the Bishop of Clogher.

The Rev. Thompson replied that the service marked a new chapter not only in his own ministry but also for the two parishes. He thanked everyone for their warmth of welcome to him and his family and said he looked forward to being part of the lives of parishioners in the years ahead.

Among those attending the service were members of the Cathedral Chapter in Clogher Diocese and one of the visitors to the service was the Rev. Stephen Hazlett, a close friend of the Rev. Paul over many years, who travelled from his parishes of Greyfriars Kirkcudbright and St. Mary’s Gatehouse of Fleet in the Episcopal Church in Scotland.