There was a valedictory tone to Bishop Ken Good’s Sunday afternoon sermon in St Eunan’s Cathedral in Raphoe where the first ever ‘DRY Invites’ service was taking place. The service was the brainchild of the board of Derry and Raphoe Youth and scores of people – young and old – travelled through hail and sleet to support it.
The Bishop told the congregation that some of them would appreciate the significance of the reading he had chosen from 2 Timothy. “The reading was sent by an elderly man who was finishing his ministry,” the Bishop said, “in fact this was probably his last letter. And this person standing here,” the Bishop said, pointing at himself, “is elderly and this may be my last message to DRY, Derry and Raphoe Youth.”
Looking around the cathedral, the Bishop recognised lots of familiar faces. “The old apostle Paul says, ‘Timothy, I laid hands on you as a sign of inviting the spirit to fan into flames your spiritual life. This elderly bishop has been laying hands on all of you at confirmations for 17 years. There are many heads in this church on which my hands have been placed. So, there are those echoes of why this passage might have something to say to us today.”
The Bishop said Paul’s letter was written to a young person, Timothy, who was just about to take on responsibility for leadership in the church. “He was setting out on his journey of ministry. And I am sending this message to you – many of whom are setting out on a life and a journey of serving the Lord.”
Bishop Good encouraged young people in the congregation to be thankful, confident and courageous. “Be thankful for the spiritual formation you’ve had, and DRY may be part of that.” He told them to be confident about their faith and be confident in the Lord. Lastly, he urged them to be courageous. ”There’s courage involved in this calling to be a Christian,” the Bishop said, “and we need to be prepared to stand up for the Gospel.”
Sunday’s service was led by the Dean of Raphoe, Very Rev Arthur Barrett, and worship was led by the Mark Ferguson Band.During the service, the chairman of the DRY board, Rev Peter Ferguson, invited representatives from youth groups in Omagh and Letterkenny to share their faith stories with the congregation. Afterwards, those who weren’t hurrying off to beat the elements walked or drove the short distance to the Cathedral Hall for refreshments.