Irishtown and Donnybrook embark on new phase as new Rector instituted
Friday night (April 8) marked the beginning of a new ministry for Canon Leonard Ruddock and the Parish of Irishtown and Donnybrook. Leonard was instituted as Rector of Irishtown and Donnybrook in St Matthew’s Church, Irishtown, by Archbishop Michael Jackson. In a blended service, his new parishioners and those from his former parish of Blessington Union joined the service online with some representatives attending in person.
Leonard was joined in the church by his wife, Hazel and children Gary and Amanda. Clerical colleagues and ecumenical guests from the surrounding areas were also present along with elected representatives and members of the nearby Irishtown Garda Station.
Archbishop Jackson welcomed the congregation who had come in person and joined online in solidarity with Leonard. He thanked those responsible for streaming the service for making this possible.
The sermon was preached by Canon Ian Gallagher, Rector of Stillorgan and Blackrock. Leonard served his curacy in the parish and they have been friends ever since.
He said the Service of Institution was as much about Leonard and celebrating the start of his new ministry as it was about celebrating the start of a new phase in the life of Irishtown and Donnybrook. He pointed out that parish ministry encompassed a wide range of activities from organist and choir, Select Vestry, parish administrators, people who clean the church, care for the grounds and make coffee to the readers and school community.
“All of these are ministry. People are using their gifts to bring glory to God and this won’t stop tonight. You are entering a new phase in Irishtown and Donnybrook but you have been here a long time,” he commented.
Ian told Leonard’s new parishioners that their new Rector would be a chief encourager – encouraging parishioners to fulfil the job God has called them to do. “Tonight beings another part of a journey for Leonard in his ministry and you in yours and this place’s role in declaring Jesus as Lord. It is something that you are going to do together […] This evening’s service is about the celebration of a new ministry in a beautiful part of God’s Kingdom, beside the sea on the edge of the city in a world that desperately needs to know about God’s word,” he concluded.
Speaking after the service, Jonathan Bell welcomed Leonard and his family on behalf of the parish. He thanked previous incumbent, the Revd John Marchant and said he knew Leonard was keen to carry on the work that has been done in the parish over the last 10 years. “This parish has wonderful potential. It is a parish on the edge of the city with all sorts of things going on – building relationships in the community and businesses in the area… and the relationship with St Matthew’s National School,” he said. He thanked the Rural Dean Canon Andrew McCroskery for his support over the last year and the Revd Niall Stratford who led services every Sunday.
Fr Ivan Tonge from St Patrick’s Parish in Ringsend brought ecumenical greetings. He praised the vibrant community spirit in the area and assured Leonard and Hazel of a warm welcome.
Archbishop Jackson said that one of the most beautiful things about St Matthew’s Church was that its doors opened directly onto the street which gave an opportunity for community engagement. He commended Leonard’s capacity for community engagement and his track record of building ecumenical links.
Leonard thanked everyone for their warm welcome and looked forward to meeting parishioners during Holy Week and Easter. He also thanked his wife, Hazel, for her support. He promised to work hard for his parishioners and on behalf of the parish.