Parishioners of Whitechurch bid fond farewell to long serving Rector
Parishioners in Whitechurch Parish in Dublin marked the end of an era yesterday (Sunday October 10) as they said farewell to their Rector of almost half a century. Canon Horace McKinley officially retired at the end of September but he and his wife Pam returned on Sunday to receive special presentations from parishioners.
Horace has served 51 years in ordained ministry. He has served the people of Whitechurch as their Rector for 45 years. On behalf of the parish, he and Pam were presented with a beautiful framed picture of the church and a book containing some of the highlights of Horace’s time as Rector among other gifts.
Select Vestry member, Gerry Pullman, said that the parish had been blessed for almost half a century with their Rector. He outlined the gifts Horace had brought to the parish including the resurrection of the parish school, the conversion of the old schools into a parish centre and helping to build bridges. His ministry extended far beyond the parish boundaries, he said, pointing to the links with Rwanda and Romania.
His contribution spread beyond the parish and indeed beyond the Church of Ireland. As Canon John McCullagh, who took Sunday’s service noted, Horace was deeply involved in the diocese and the wider church in many areas including education and in welcoming new Irish people as well as his ministry in St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Speaking at the end of the service, Horace thanked everyone for the support they had given throughout his ministry. He said he had had a great team around him in the parish and urged them to keep going.
“Ordained ministry is both a joy and a privilege,” he told the congregation. “It is one of the few jobs left where you can get into any home and you are welcomed. It was a privilege to rejoice with those who rejoiced and to week who those who wept.”
He said that shortly after he was ordained he realised that his pitch was as a parochial pastor and that is where he focused his energy. “I never really wanted to do anything else,” he commented.
He also urged members of the parish to create an environment for their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews in which the call of the vocation could take root. Fresh vocations to the ordained life were a key need for churches, he stated. “No one has the right to be ordained. The call always comes from God. Ordained vocations can only come from your sons and daughters, nephews and nieces or grandchildren. They can only come from the ranks of the laity. I appeal to parish parents to be people who cultivate God fearing Gospel values with your children and create the environment for the vocation call to take root amid the cacophony of market voices competing for attention,” he said.
Having received gifts from parishioners he presented two items he had found while in the process of clearing out the rectory – a painting of the church during the snow of 1982 and a map of the parish boundaries dating back 200 years. He noted that further items may follow.