GoFundMe details for Canon Crooks’ cycling fundraiser for Mahajanga

A GoFundMe account has been opened to receive donations for Rev Canon David Crooks’ fundraiser in aid of the Mahajanga Calling Appeal. Canon Crooks completed three gruelling cycle marathons round the Raphoe and Inishowen Rural Deaneries, recently. All donations will be gratefully received and every contribution – no matter how small – will make an enormous difference.
Donations to the ‘Mahajanga Calling’ Appeal will be gratefully received c/o Taughboyne Rectory, Churchtown, Carrigans, Lifford, Co Donegal. PLEASE MAKE CHEQUES PAYABLE TO: ‘Canon David Crooks’. All donations will be acknowledged and all the money gathered will go towards Bishop Hall Speers’ ministry in Mahajanga.

You can contribute online at www.gofundme.com/mahajanga-calling

An appropriately hot end to canon’s Mahajanga cycle marathon

“I’ll never do one of those again,” Rev Canon David Crooks said, as he climbed off his bicycle at the end of the last of his three marathon charity cycles around the Raphoe and Inishowen Deaneries to raise funds for the Diocesan ‘Mahajanga Calling’ Appeal. 
The sweltering final leg covered a 40km route from St Eunan’s Cathedral in Raphoe to St Lugadius’ Church in Clonleigh (Lifford), then on to Raymochy Church in Manorcunningham, before returning to the Cathedral. Canon Crooks was accompanied on Monday by five parishioners: William Laird, Colvyn Beattie, Rodney Carson, Tanya Carson and Rodney Lindsay.
Canon Crooks has a particular affinity with the ‘Mahajanga Calling’ Appeal. His  brother-in-law, Rt Rev Hall Speers, is the Bishop of Mahajanga and proceeds will be used to help his ministry in Madagascar.
Canon Crooks’ first two cycles had taken him from Moville to Newtowncunningham (a distance of 41km) and from Convoy, via Donaghmore and Monellan, back to Convoy (27km).
Donations to the ‘Mahajanga Calling’ Appeal will be gratefully received c/o Taughboyne Rectory, Churchtown, Carrigans, Lifford, Co Donegal or online at www.gofundme.com/mahajanga-calling


Church leaders celebrate St Columba and Irish ‘Camino’ at Long Tower

Leaders from the four main Christian denominations in the North West gathered outside Áras Cholmcille – the St Columba Heritage Centre, in the grounds of Long Tower Church – on Thursday afternoon for a short ecumenical prayer service.

It had been arranged to mark the arrival in Londonderry of a group of walkers who had been retracing St Columba’s footsteps from Glencolumbkille to Greencastle, a route now known as An Slí Cholmcille – St Columba’s Way – which it is hoped will come to be regarded as the Irish ‘Camino’.

The walkers were led by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Alan McGuckian, who is an avid walker, and had been accompanied on the route from Letterkenny to Derry by the Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown. Thursday was the penultimate day of their 12-day trek.

Among those waiting to greet the group at Long Tower were the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Andrew Forster, the Rev Keith Hibbert from Cumber & Cumber Upper Presbyterian Churches, and Rev John Montgomery from Carlisle Road Methodist Church. Bishop McGuckian’s brother, Fr Barney McGuckian SJ, was also waiting at the St Columba Heritage Centre to welcome the pilgrims.


Statement by the Archbishop of Armagh on Legacy Issues

The Most Revd John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has issued the following statement on the UK Government’s planned approach to the Legacy of the Troubles:

“The announcement yesterday in the House of Commons of the path that the Government intends to follow in relation to Legacy issues in Northern Ireland will have created further heartbreak, frustration and anger for victims of the Troubles. The degree of suffering endured by victims over the years is not something that can be moved on from. It needs to be acknowledged in the full variety of its expression, and dealt with over the long term.

“Failure to deal with Legacy has probably been the biggest political and societal failing since the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. The one principle which all involved have been agreed on is that a general amnesty would be a morally empty response. Regardless of the name it goes under, a general amnesty is what the Government of the United Kingdom is now planning to put in place.

“In a repeat of a dismal pattern, once again political interests in Great Britain have been used as the criteria for settling policy in Northern Ireland. Imperfect as they may have been, the carefully worked out provisions of the Stormont House Agreement have been set aside by one of the parties to the Agreement. Of course, that means a further erosion of trust in those who have been entrusted with just and fair government.

“To believe that any process of reconciliation can be advanced by a measure that betrays the trust of victims, and of most ordinary citizens, indicates a profound ignorance of human nature and human suffering, and of the particular conditions of society in Northern Ireland.”


Canon Crooks completes second leg of Mahajanga cycling fundraiser

The Rural Dean for Raphoe and Inishowen, Rev Canon David Crooks, has completed the second of his three lengthy cycle rides in the deaneries to raise funds for the ‘Mahajanga Calling’ Appeal. The cause is especially close to Canon Crooks’ heart as his brother-in-law, Rt Rev Hall Spiers, is Bishop of Mahajanga, a remote diocese in the north-west of Madagascar.

Canon Crooks was sent on his way by parishioners from St Ninian’s Church in the Parish of Convoy, this morning, cycling from there to Donaghmore Parish Church and onto Monellan, before returning to Convoy. At points along the route, the intrepid clergyman was presented with donations for the Mahajanga Appeal.

The third and final leg of his cycling fundraiser will take place next Monday 19th July, when Canon Crooks will cycle from St Eunan’s Cathedral in Raphoe to Clonleigh (Lifford), then to Raymochy (Manorcunningham) before returning to Raphoe.


Two new faces are Derry and Raphoe-bound

Two new clergy will be joining parishes in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe this autumn once they complete their deacon internships in the Diocese of Connor.

Rev Andrea Cotter, who has been serving her Deacon internship in the Parish of Skerry, Rathcavan and Newtowncrommelin, has been appointed Curate Assistant of All Saints Parish, Clooney, where she will serve with Rev David McBeth.

And Rev Alan McCracken will leave the United Parish of Ballynure and Ballyeaston to succeed Rev Suzanne Cousins in the Moville Group of Parishes, which has been vacant for the past two years.

The two deacons will be ordained to the priesthood in September, after which they will take up their new appointments.

We extend the warmest of welcomes to Andrea and her husband Richard, and Alan and his wife Karen, as they prepare to join us in the Church of Ireland’s northernmost diocese. All four can be assured of our prayers as they look forward to new chapters in their lives and ministries.

We trust that both couples will enjoy the support and prayers of their new congregations, too.



On his bike for Mahajanga

One of the Dioceses’ most senior clergymen will embark this week on a series of lengthy cycle rides in the Diocese of Raphoe to raise funds for the ‘Mahajanga Calling’ Appeal, with which he is especially sympathetic.

Rev Canon David Crooks, who is Rector of Taughboyne with Craigadooish, All Saints and Killea, will set off on the first leg, from Moville to Newtowncunningham (a distance of 41km), on Wednesday 7th July, departing from Moville Church at 12 noon. This stretch will be supported by the Moville/Donagh and Taughboyne Groups. At 11am on Tuesday 13th July, he will cycle from Convoy Church to Donaghmore, Monellan and back to Convoy – a distance of 27km. The third and final leg will take place on Monday 19th July, when Canon Crooks will cycle from Raphoe Cathedral to Clonleigh, Lifford, then to Raymochy, Manorcunningham and back to Raphoe, departing the Cathedral at 1.00pm. He will be joined on this last 40 kilometre leg by Raphoe parishioners Colvin Beattie, Rodney Lindsay, William Laird and Geoffrey Devenney.

Canon Crooks, who is the Rural Dean for Raphoe and Inishowen, has a family connection with the Malagasy diocese. His brother-in-law, Rt Rev Hall Spiers, is Bishop of Mahajanga. Canon Crooks says the ‘Mahajanga Calling’ Appeal is, in reality, a Third World development project and is deserving of all our support. “We know already,” he says, “that Bishop Speers is most grateful for our support”.

The Diocese of Mahajanga, in north-west Madagascar, is part of the Anglican Communion’s Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean.

Donations for the ‘Mahajanga Calling’ Appeal will be gratefully received c/o Taughboyne Rectory, Churchtown, Carrigans, Lifford, Co Donegal.


Caption: Rev Canon David Crooks (Rector of Taughboyne Group of Parishes) and his brother-in-law, Rt Rev Hall Spiers, Bishop of Mahajanga.


Omagh parishioners are getting “a gifted, loving pastor” says Bishop

The Parishes of Drumragh with Mountfield have a new Incumbent following the institution of the Rev Graham Hare by his old ‘boss’, the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Andrew Forster.
Members of both parishes – and friends from the new Rector’s former parish, Drumglass (Dungannon), gathered in St Columba’s Church, in Omagh, for Friday evening’s Service. The congregation were socially distanced throughout the Service and wore face coverings in church.
Bishop Forster told the local parishioners that they were getting “a gifted, loving pastor” to help them live out God’s call. “Let’s be people who follow the Good Shepherd,” he urged them.
“Sometimes whenever we contemplate the high calling of ministry,” Bishop Andrew said, “those of us who are ordained here, tonight, it can seem overwhelming – overwhelming – particularly as we look at the huge challenges of today. Graham, I want to remind you of the words that were said at your Ordination in Armagh Cathedral – these words: “because no one of us can bear the weight of this ministry in their own strength but only by the grace of God, let us pray earnestly for the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit on these persons”. The grace of God, praying earnestly and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit: it’s the only way ministry works.”
In his sermon, the Bishop said that one of the new Rector’s great skills was his ability to get to know and communicate with people. “People trust Graham, and they trust Graham because they know in him is someone worthy of trust.”
Rev Hare was a curate under Bishop Andrew, when the latter was in Drumglass, and the Bishop said he appreciated the new incumbent’s gift with a sermon. “I loved to sit and listen to Graham preach; he’s a gifted preacher who has a wonderful ability to take God’s word and show us how it connects to our everyday life. You will really enjoy his preaching. And it’s accessible. I remember somebody once saying to me, ‘Always make your sermons portable,’ and I really wasn’t sure what that meant. He said they’ve got to be portable so that people can take them home with them – they can remember it and live it out. You’ll remember Graham’s sermons and I know you’ll want to live them out.”
The Bishop also had some thoughts on ministry for those seated in the pews. “Ministry isn’t just about somebody doing it for you, ministry is something that we all do for everyone else. We’re all called to minister. Graham’s ministry – ordained ministry – is a different ministry from all of yours, but you’re called to minister too, to seek out what it is that God would have you do for him.
“The Church is about the whole body of Christ working together,” the Bishop said, “and if we do that there’s nothing can stop us. It’s when we start going our separate ways, when we start taking our own paths, when we stop wanting to be a body together, [that] is when the problems come. The people of God, ministering together, in unity for the good purposes of God in His world, that’s what we are about.”
Among those watching events unfold in church were the Rector’s wife, Hannah, and their three impeccably behaved, young daughters. The current Rector of Drumglass, Rev Bryan Martin – who delivered the second reading – mentioned the wider family when he told the Drumragh and Mountfield parishioners that they were getting a diamond; “In fact,” he said, “you’re getting five diamonds”.

Bishop Andrew thanked the Omagh Rural Dean, Rev Canon Robert Clarke, for organising the Service of Institution. The Bishop was assisted during the Service by the Archdeacon of Derry, Venerable Robert Miller and by the Diocesan Registrar for the Dioceses of Derry and Raphoe, Rev Canon David Crooks. The organist was Mr Derek Weir.

Rev Hare succeeds Rev Ian Linton who moved to Rathfriland and Ballyward in February last year.

Death of Bertie Pollock – one of the Church’s ‘unsung heroes’

The death has taken place of Church of Ireland stalwart and prominent Tyrone businessman, Bertie Pollock. The lifelong Edenderry parishioner passed away last night, surrounded by his family.

Bertie, who was 77, made an enormous contribution to Church life at all levels. He served for many years as secretary to the Select Vestry of Edenderry Parish Church; at diocesan level he was a long-time member of Synod, Diocesan Council and the Glebes and Property Committee; and at central Church level, he served as Diocesan representative to the RCB and General Synod. He was a surveyor by profession and ran a very successful estate agent and auctioneer business in Omagh.

Bertie is survived by his wife Coral, their two sons Adrian and Keith, daughters-in-law Beverley and Ruth, and three grandchildren.

In a tribute by his home parish, Bertie was remembered as, “A great man of faith, much loved by us all and greatly missed.”

The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Andrew Forster, described Bertie as one of the Church’s unsung heroes. “Like his fellow parishioners, I will miss Bertie enormously,” the Bishop said. “His was one of the many friendly faces you could count on meeting down through the years at RCB and General Synod.

“For decades he attended to the administration of parochial, diocesan and central Church committees, dealing with the vital work that enabled clergy like me to focus on ministry. In that sense he was one of our Church’s unsung heroes, but all of us who knew him were well aware of the huge contribution he made. He was a man of deep faith, who served God well. I thank God for Bertie’s friendship and support.

“I offer my sincere condolences to his wife Coral, to Adrian and Keith, to the wider Pollock family and to Bertie’s fellow parishioners in Edenderry.”


The late Albert Moore: ‘friend, colleague and inspiration’ says Bishop Andrew

Bishop Andrew Forster has joined the many people paying tribute to the late Diocesan Reader and Innisrush parishioner, Albert Moore, who died on Saturday.

“I was very saddened, at the weekend, to hear the news of Albert’s death,” Bishop Andrew said. “He was widely known and widely liked throughout our Diocese. He was one of the kindest and most humble people you could meet, and a man who made his faith an intrinsic part of his daily routine as a servant of God.

“Those of us who were lucky to serve with Albert, through his 32-year-ministry as a Diocesan Reader and his many years of service on a variety of diocesan committees, can testify to his utter selflessness and generosity of spirit.

“What impressed me most about Albert, though, was his unfailing humility. He never sought or expected praise; he was a living embodiment of the dictum: ‘To God be the glory’. Albert never lost sight of that. He was a valued friend, an esteemed colleague and a real inspiration..

“I offer sincere sympathy to Albert’s wife Pearl, their sons Warren and Ray, and the wider family circle.”