More than 30 boys and girls from parishes in Londonderry and Donegal were doubly blessed at their Confirmation Services on Sunday when they were addressed by two different bishops – their own, the Bishop of Derry, Rt Rev Ken Good, and the visiting Bishop of Central Florida, Rt Rev Greg Brewer.
Bishop Brewer – who is in Ireland on sabbatical with his wife, Laura Lee – preached about the transformational power of God at a Service of Confirmation with Baptism in Conwal Parish Church in Letterkenny on Sunday morning and a Service of Confirmation in Glendermott Parish Church in Londonderry on Sunday afternoon.
In Letterkenny, Bishop Good introduced his distinguished visitor as “the Bishop of Disneyworld” – which is in his diocese – but Bishop Brewer told the confirmands that he was not the focus of the attention. “The focus of the attention is Jesus, first of all,” he said, “[and] what it is that Jesus is doing.
“We believe deeply, with all our hearts, when we do these very simple things like pouring water on the head of a child or laying hands on these people that God is doing something bigger – far better – than anything you could ever conceive or imagine. And it is what He is doing that is meant to be the focus of our attention.”
The Confirmation Service in Londonderry was a shared service between members of the Glendermott and Newbuildings Parishes in the city and the Moville & Donagh Group of Parishes in Inishowen. Bishop Brewer repeated the assurance he had given earlier, in Letterkenny, that the young confirmands would be transformed by their experience. “One thing I do know: you’ll never be the same, but – given the possibilities – why would you even want to be, when what is in front of you is freedom, joy and a new life in God?”
Sunday’s services were the last that Bishop Ken Good will preside at in Conwal or Glendermott Parish Churches. He is due to retire as Bishop of Derry and Raphoe at the end of May. Bishop and Mrs Brewer will spend the next week or so with the Goods before continuing their sabbatical in England.