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.