THE Church of Ireland Bishop-elect for the Clogher Diocese, The Rev. Canon Dr. Ian W. Ellis, has told The Impartial Reporter that he is “totally shocked and stunned” to have been elected as the new bishop on Monday.

The bishop-elect has been rector of Rossorry Parish Church since 2015 after he returned to parish ministry following a role in the Church of Ireland’s Board of Education.

Canon Ellis said: “I’m looking forward to a different kind of parish life, working with all of the parishes across the diocese.”

He feels “greatly honoured to be called to the position of bishop”, and says he knows he will be guided by God in this stage of his faith journey.

He said: “I will move forward in my faith in this new role and look forward to it. There is a great team behind the bishop in Clogher, so there is a great number of people who will be helping me.”

Canon Ellis reflected on moving into a wider role within the Church of Ireland.

He said: “There is a wider church role now. I will be one of 12 bishops in the Church of Ireland, so will be contributing to the wider Church of Ireland, not just the diocese.”

He was elected by the Clogher Episcopal College on Monday in a meeting that was held online via the Zoom remote meeting app, due to Covid restrictions.

On moving from Rossorry to Clogher, Canon Ellis said he and his wife, Heather, will be sad to leave the parish.

The couple have three grown-up children. He said: “I can’t bring myself to think about leaving Rossorry. All the parishioners have been so good to myself and Heather, and took us in when we were outsiders when we first arrived.

"They were so supportive of us. We have been so happy here; thankfully, we’ll still be back and forth for parish events. Heather and I thought we’d be here until my retirement.”

There have been many highlights for Canon Ellis in Rossorry. He reflected on times of joy and loss with all of his parishioners through the motions of life, with the 2016 Christmas Tree Festival being a particular highlight.

He said: “It was a great cross-community event, across all age bands, and had a big impact on the people.”

Reflecting on the challenges ahead when he takes on the role of bishop, Canon Ellis said: “One of the biggest challenges will be rebuilding parish life after Covid-19.”

Since moving to Rossorry, Canon Ellis has served as clerk of the Cathedral Chapter, as a member of Diocesan Council, and is currently one of its Clerical Honorary Secretaries.

He is a member of the Diocesan Board of Education, a Diocesan Nominator and a member of the General Synod.

He is a clerical representative on the General Synod Safeguarding Board, and the Clogher representative canon on the chapter of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublinm since 2015.

He is a member of the Board of Governors of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School, where he is vice-chairman of the Board of Governors, and chairman of the Education Committee, in addition to being a governor of Jones Memorial Primary School.

Canon Ellis is well known for his subsequent role as Secretary to the Church’s Board of Education where he served for 13 years, bringing together his experience as a schoolteacher and his time in parochial ministry.

He also served as the Church of Ireland’s representative on the Transferors’ Representative Council, and as secretary of that body, and in 2013 he achieved a Doctorate in Education from Queen’s University Belfast.

After graduating from Queen's University, Canon Ellis taught physics in Antrim Grammar until he entered the ministry, being ordained in 1989 for St. Mark's Parish, Armagh, serving as curate assistant.

From 1991, Canon Ellis served as rector of Loughgall and Grange for 11 years in the Diocese of Armagh.

During this time, he was editor of the Armagh Diocesan Magazine for eight years, a member of Armagh Diocesan Ordinands' Committee, General Synod, Standing Committee, Armagh Diocesan Board of Education, and Armagh Diocesan Council.

Archbishop John McDowell said: “I am delighted to announce the election of Canon Ian Ellis as my successor as Bishop of Clogher.

"Everyone who knows Canon Ellis will have been impressed by the dedication, pastoral care and intelligence which he has brought to his vocation in the Church and in education.

"I look forward to welcoming him into the House of Bishops, and to arranging for his consecration as soon as is practicable.”