United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough



Getting on with the Work of Ministry – The Revd Ruth Elmes instituted Rector of Dalkey

Getting on with the Work of Ministry – The Revd Ruth Elmes instituted Rector of Dalkey
The Revd Ruth Elmes is instituted Rector of Dalkey. Also pictured is Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Revd Sean Hanily, Registrar.

“Keeping the rumour of God resounding around the shoreline of Dublin Bay” is one of the ingredients of the work of ministry and the new Rector of Dalkey is hardwired for that work, according to the Bishop of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe. The Revd Ruth Elmes was instituted Rector in St Patrick’s Church, Dalkey, by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, on Friday evening (March 10).

St Patrick’s Church was full on a freezing cold night. Parishioners were joined by members of Ruth’s family including her daughter Jessica and her sister, and many friends and parishioners of her former parish, the Tinahely and Carnew Union as well as clerical colleagues. In the congregation too were a number of public representatives and representatives of the nearby Church of the Assumption.

It was a poignant occasion for Ruth who wore her father’s stole. He was the former Archdeacon of Killaloe and Clonfert, the Revd Donald Keegan. She also wore her mother Janet’s cross.

Introducing the service, Archbishop Jackson noted that the institution was a joyous occasion for the parish and the community as Ruth returned to Dublin and became Rector of the parish. “I hope that parish and Rector enjoy one another’s company and enjoy their adventure together,” he said.

The new Rector, the Revd Ruth Elmes with the Church Wardens, Archbishop, Archdeacon of Glendalough and the Registrar.
The new Rector, the Revd Ruth Elmes with the Church Wardens, Archbishop, Archdeacon of Glendalough and the Registrar.

In his sermon Bishop Michael Burrows said that, since taking up his new role as Bishop in the west of Ireland he had been considering commissioning headed stationary and had been thinking about a strapline which would capture his mission statement. He had decided that the strapline should simply be ‘Getting on with the work’. “In an age of distractions and interruptions and schemes and goals and targets which distract the Church as much as any other setting, sometimes we just need to be reminded to get on with it,” he suggested. “Ruth is, in my experience, utterly hard wired to get on with it with the occasional big idea now and then to add colour to the atmosphere.”

He said that parishioners of Tinahely and Carnew Union, and Stillorgan (where Ruth served as Curate) would sing of her approach, of “her kindness, diligence and easy conversation in the farms and the community activities and the school classrooms that knew her well as she got on with it”. He said they would speak of her dignified, well prepared, intelligent and attractive approach to the rhythm of leading worship. Much of this, he noted, was “because she is her father’s daughter”.

He described Ruth as someone who is superbly organised. Before she came to Dalkey she was an Archdeacon in Cashel, Ferns and Ossory and before that she was “professionally shaped’ in the Adelaide. He said through her professional and personal life, Ruth had demonstrated what her faith was worth.

Recalling that when his own father died, retired Archbishop Harry McAdoo wrote to him stating: “We were friends together in the work for many years”. Bishop Burrows said he loved the description of ministry simply as ‘the work’. “It’s the work and you get on with it. And I hesitate to define it but it includes the offering of worship with dignity and authenticity. It includes connecting worship to life. It includes enabling people to be the Amen to their own prayers. It includes making the common holy. It includes breaking the bread and sharing the cup in a way that gives shape to and makes sense of everything else one does. It is about being there when it matters. It is about keeping the rumour of God resounding around the shoreline of Dublin Bay. These are ingredients of the work. But yet it passes description and should not be narrowed or funnelled in a manner that diminishes the pregnant possibilities of that simple pair of words ‘the work’,” he explained.

Bishop Burrows said he knew every Rector of Dalkey in his lifetime and observed that each of them turned their own individual spotlight on an important aspect of the infinite possibilities of the work. “All these were memorable people who in their day got on with the work and it is proving a fine heritage into whose labours Ruth tonight dares joyfully to enter,” he said adding to Ruth: “Dalkey is blessed to get you. Serve the city of God and seek it here. Continue your invaluable contribution to so many aspects of the life of the wider church with your usual incisive and fruitful style but here in this parish in short … get on with the work!”

The congregation in St Patrick's Church, Dalkey.
The congregation in St Patrick's Church, Dalkey.

Speaking after the service, Ken Pier welcomed Ruth on behalf of the parish. He thanked all who had continued the work of the church over the past year, particularly the Rural Dean, the Revd John Tanner. He said that the parochial nominators had been very enthusiastic about Ruth’s drive, energy, innovation, fun and inclusivity and he highlighted the many initiatives she had been involved in in her previous parish. He said he had no doubt Ruth would implement change and pledged the parish’s support.

Fr Liam Clancy welcomed Ruth to the community on behalf of the Church of the Assumption and said he looked forward to continuing the tradition of cooperation between the two parishes of Dalkey before blessing her in her new role.

Former parishioner, Linda Dunne, was among those who travelled from the Tinahely and Carnew Union. She said Ruth’s strapline could be ‘Give it a go’ and described her readiness to try everything. She praised her sermons and said Ruth was a caring and kind person who would support her parishioners.

Archbishop Jackson welcomed Ruth to the dioceses and suggested her experience in her former diocese would stand her in good stead as she embarked on her new incumbency. He said it was time to consolidate and move forward and Ruth had much to give to encourage the parish.

The final speaker of the evening was the new Rector who thanked everyone who had made the evening happen and who had prepared for her arrival. She paid tribute to her previous parishioners and acknowledged the hard work that goes into rural dwelling and farming. She thanked her family, children Jessica and Jonathan and siblings and her friends who had supported her and said she felt very close to her father on the evening. She thanked all her friends who had supported her during the ups and downs of life.

You can see more photos from the evening on Facebook and Instagram


Bishop Michael Burrows.
Bishop Michael Burrows.

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