THE Church of Ireland Diocese of Clogher now has a new bishop in place.

The Right Revd. Dr. Ian William Ellis was consecrated as Bishop of Clogher at a service on the Feast Day of St. Mark, on Monday, April 26, in St. Macartan’s Cathedral, Enniskillen.

He was previously the Rector of Rossorry Parish in Clogher Diocese.

While the numbers attending were restricted due to the Covid-19 guidelines, many people watched the service at home as it was live-streamed on the Enniskillen Cathedral website.

The Right Revd. Dr. Ian Ellis, who was elected following a meeting of the Episcopal Electoral College held on Monday, November 9 last – an election that was subsequently approved by the House of Bishops – was ordained Bishop by the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd. John McDowell, assisted by consecrating bishops, the Most Revd. Pat Storey, Bishop of Meath and Kildare; the Right Revd. George Davison, Bishop of Connor, and the Right Revd. Lord Eames, OM, former Archbishop of Armagh.

The Dean of Clogher, the Very Revd. Kenneth Hall, took part as the Archbishop of Armagh’s Chaplain, and the Archdeacon of Clogher, the Venerable Brian Harper, also took part as the Bishop-Elect of Clogher’s Chaplain.

During his address to the congregation, the Archbishop emphasised a bishop’s role not only in serving and caring for the people of God, but also in working with them in the oversight of the Church.

The Bishop-elect affirmed the questions put by the Archbishop, the Litany, and the Archbishop prayed for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and for the grace necessary for the office of a bishop in the Church of God.

The Archbishop and other bishops present laid their hands on the head of the Bishop-elect, who was then vested in his episcopal habit.

The sermon was preached by the Right Revd. Lord Eames, former Archbishop of Armagh, who has known Bishop Ian since before his training for ordination.

He said Bishop Ian’s pilgrimage which began at his ordination as a deacon, then as a priest, through his responsibility for parish life and the incumbencies he has had, was now continuing in a new role.

“Ian is answering the call of God,” he said.

Lord Eames said Bishop Ian was already familiar with Clogher Diocese, and familiar with the clergy, but he was about to become familiar on a different level with them and their families, their needs, their strengths and weaknesses and how they would work together as a family of God.

But he said he would get to know his colleagues and the diocese in new ways – he would reach out to them when they sought his help and guidance, to listen to them when a listening ear was all they needed.

“You will be, to them, the Father in God, a father figure,” he said.

Lord Eames said Bishop Ian was coming to this role and ministry at a time when the diocese, like all other dioceses, was facing such change.

“As we come out of lockdown, and as we come out of the restrictions of lockdown, as we look at the church and parish life through which we have all come in the last few months, we do wonder what will survive in the structures of the church.

“What have we learned in the period of what we can do without, and what have we learned what we have missed most?”

But he said it was also an exciting time to take up leadership of the diocese, and while there will be problems, discussions and plans to be decided upon, at the end of the day the one question Bishop Ian would face would be: “What is God's wish and what’s His plan for the Diocese of Clogher?”

Lord Eames said Bishop Ian would also be a figurehead in wider society and will be asked to represent his people.

He asked the people of Clogher Diocese to offer their prayers for their new Bishop and his wife, Heather.

The main churches were represented at the service.

Representing the Methodist Church was the Revd. Dr. Heather Morris, past President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland and Secretary of the Conference, and also the Revd. Lorna Dreaning, Minister of Enniskillen Methodist Church.

Representing the Roman Catholic Church was the Most Revd. Larry Duffy, Bishop of Clogher, and the Rt. Revd. Monsignor Peter O’Reilly VG, Dean and Parish Priest of Enniskillen.

Representing the Presbyterian Church was the Revd David Cupples, Minister of Enniskillen Presbyterian Church.

A number of civic guests attended, including The Viscount Brookeborough KG, the Lord Lieutenant of Fermanagh and The Viscountess Brookeborough; The Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland; Mrs. Rosemary Barton MLA, and Councillor Diana Armstrong, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

The organist was Mr. Glenn Moore, who was joined by the Choir of St. Macartan’s Cathedral, directed by Mr. David Baxter.

The ceremony of ordination and consecration of the new Bishop took place within the context of the Eucharist.

The Bishop-elect was presented for ordination and consecration by his sponsors, Mr. Sam Morrow and Mrs. Eithne McCord.

Following the consecration, the new Bishop of Clogher took his place with the other bishops present.

At the end of the service, Bishop Ian and his wife, Heather, processed to the back of the Cathedral and greeted the congregation outside as they left.