Friday night’s Service of Institution in a blustery Castlerock marked a homecoming of sorts for the new Rector, Rev Chris MacBruithin. He had been educated only “half an hour away” at Dalriada School and had ‘learned the ropes’ as a deacon in St Augustine’s in Londonderry.
For the last three years, Rev MacBruithin had served as a curate in St Macartin’s Cathedral in Enniskillen. The Dean of Clogher, Very Rev Kenneth Hall, was among the many who made the long journey from the lakeland county to the north coast to see their former curate instituted by the Archbishop’s Commissary and Archdeacon of Derry, Ven. Robert Miller, as Incumbent of the Parish of Castlerock, Dunboe and Fermoyle. Among those in the congregation in Christ Church, Castlerock was the Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry, Mrs Alison Millar.
Dean Hall, who preached the sermon at the Service, said the following Sunday would be the Feast Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the third anniversary of Rev MacBruithin’s ordination into the priesthood. He said he had known the new incumbent since 2014, when he had “spotted” him during a mission in St Macartin’s Cathedral. He said Clogher Diocese had really only ‘got a lend’ of Rev MacBruithin during the three years of his curacy as “all the signposts in Chris’s life seemed to point back to Derry Diocese – not his home diocese but a diocese where he made his home.”
“So, Rev Chris comes to you, filled with enthusiasm,” Dean Hall said, “and I don’t expect things to be the same as of old. But one thing I can assure you [of] is that any changes will be made within the confines of the Church of Ireland and all fully adhering to the teaching and traditions of our Church.
“He is one committed to word and sacrament and rightly so, for they are inseparable and vital for a Christian life. There is nothing more powerful than the family of God gathered round the Lord’s table in communion with him and with each other.
“Rev Chris I would deem ‘a prayer book person’ and so, too, should you his parishioners be prayer book people,” Dean Hall said. “It was the reading of a prayer book in a church that drew Chris into the Church of Ireland. We are a prayer book Church and the prayer books should not just be on those shelves at the back of the church for use on Sundays but there should be a copy of the prayer book in every home in the parish.”
The preacher said parishioners would find that their new Rector had a sense of humour – “How you take that sense of humour is entirely up to you” – but they would also discover that he was gifted with being able to minister to all ages, from the cradle to the grave. He said Rev Chris and his wife Sarah had done sterling work in maintaining and growing the important work of outreach to the unchurched in Enniskillen, through Messy Church.”
A new chapter was about to begin – the preacher said – not only for Chris and Sarah, and their son Noah, but for the parishioners of Castlerock, Dunboe and Fermoyle. “We have had a very happy three years,” Dean Hall said of the past three years in Clogher, “and now we must go our separate ways. Sunday past was a sad day for St Macartin’s, Enniskillen but tonight is a joyful night for Castlerock and Dunboe and you have no doubt made an excellent choice. I wish you every blessing.”
Following the Service, members of the congregation made their way to the nearby parish hall where parishioners who had been unable to get into the packed church had followed the Institution Service on a large screen. There they enjoyed a splendid supper and speeches. Presentations were made to the Rural Dean, Rev Canon Harold Given, and to Rev Adam Quigley, who had looked after the parish since the previous Rector, Rev Diane Matchett, had left.