New Rector Brings Variety of Talents – Institution in Newcastle and Newtownmountkennedy with Calary
Parishioners of Newcastle and Newtownmountkennedy with Calary gathered online on Friday February 12 to witness the arrival of their new Rector. The Revd Ross Styles was instituted by Archbishop Michael Jackson in a service which was livestreamed from Newcastle Parish Church.
Due to Covid restrictions, there was no large congregation as would be traditional on these occasions. Ross was joined by his wife, Fiona and children Ben and Ava. The church wardens witnessed the declarations in the parish centre. The preacher was the Archdeacon of Dublin, the Ven David Pierpoint, who is Vicar of the Christ Church Cathedral Group of Parishes where Ross served as churate for the last three and a half years. Also present was the Archdeacon of Glendalough, the Ven Neal O’Raw.
Introducing the service, the Archbishop noted that while the parish could not gather in the traditional way, Ross could still be assured of a warm welcome. He also assured parishioners that Ross would find ingenious ways of getting to know them over the coming months.
Archdeacon Pierpoint said he was delighted to be able to address Ross’s new parishioners. Drawing on the reading from Isaiah [6: 1–8] the Archdeacon said that generation after generation had been sent by God to minister to his Church. In this vocation God equips his ministers with his spirit for the task ahead, he added saying: “When God calls, then like Isaiah all we can do is say ‘Here am I; send me!’”
“Like the Israelites we are also living in challenging times in which the very core of our identity as the baptised people of the Lord is challenged daily but perhaps for different reasons. No community of faith to meet together due to current restrictions. Very few are in church this evening to meet your new Rector and get to know him. Yet as we read in the prophecy of Isaiah it was in worship in the temple of the Lord where his identity was reaffirmed and his challenge to mission was proclaimed. It was at worship where Isaiah clearly heard the Lord’s challenge… And his mission was to represent God. The mission of the Church of Jesus Christ is exactly the same,” he said.
The Archdeacon said that Ross had answered the call to ministry in these parishes. Ordained ministers are called to serve the people of the Church selflessly as Jesus himself did and this was now Ross’s responsibility, he added. However, he stated that his parishioners had a responsibility to support him and to ensure that the mission of the Church is to the glory of God.
He said that Ross’s preaching, his teaching and sacramental ministry would ensure that, when parishioners were once again able to worship together, they would leave church each on Sundays refreshed and strengthened to live out the Gospel message as Christians in a world where Christianity is often frowned upon.
He added that pastoral care of parishioners was normally carried out through personal contact. But the people of Newcastle and Newtownmountkennedy with Calary would not know their Rector for some time. But he assured them that as they got to know Ross they would learn that his ministry among them was based on absolute trust.
The Church of Jesus Christ only becomes alive and meaningful when people like Ross have been challenged to go into the word as ministers, he stated. “If we are to be the priesthood of all believers then I believe that Ross and all of us must get out of the sanctuary, out of the church building, and be the Church in the world as Ross has been with the lonely, the poor, the hopeless, the incarcerated, the sick. The parishes are very fortunate to have him as your Rector,” he said.
“Ross comes to the parish with a variety of talents. He has vast experience in management not least in dealing with people and their problems so you are in good hands. He is empathetic and sympathetic to people’s needs. Ross is very much a team player rather than a VIP or a rising star. He will rely on parishioners to support him in whatever initiative he deems good for the parish. He is a good organiser and sees projects through to their conclusion. A wonderful and energetic priest and above all a faithful friend who I will dearly miss,” he concluded.
In his greeting Archdeacon Neal O’Raw welcomed Ross, along with Fiona, Ben and Ava to the Diocese of Glendalough on behalf of the clergy.
Bringing the service to a close Archbishop Jackson said that while those online could not be physically present, the important thing was that Ross could begin his ministry.
“My hope and prayer for all of us is that we continue to meet Ross on whatever platform and get to know him better. And my prayer for you all is that you remain safe. Many of you, I’m sure, are part of the ever expanding front line of service, a range of people we have taken for granted in the past and of whom we are now entirely appreciative. Christian service has to do with compliance and staying together by staying apart. It is not in our nature but it is in the service of God and it is something we do with generosity,” he said.