Welcome to our website! Whether you are a regular member, occasional visitor or just simply curious, we hope you will find information here that will be interesting and relevant. Perhaps you are planning a trip to Northern Ireland. We would strongly advise making beautiful County Fermanagh part of your itinerary. During the summer our four-century-old church is open to visitors every day and it would be even nicer if you could attend one of our services. We'd love to meet you!
The Dean Writes: (extracts taken from a sermon preached on 10th June)
Dear Parishioners and Friends around the world,
In the past month I have reached a great personal ‘milestone’ in my life having been ordained twenty years on The Feast Day
of St Barnabas - that great encourager, so I want to share with you a verse that was given to me twenty years ago prior to my ordination in 1998.
‘So may the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of The Holy Spirit.’ Romans 15:13
At an early stage when God was calling me into the Priesthood, I wondered why he was calling me, but I knew above all else I had a gift and an ability to be a mixer with people. So I chose the word ‘Encouragement’ as my motto for ministry, endeavouring to follow after that Blessed Saint, St. Barnabas, encouraging people in their faith.
My clerical life got off to a very difficult start, and I am sure that start marked the course of the pathway that I was to take in the years ahead. I will never forget, just six weeks after my Ordination, my Rector, the Rev Canon Norman Porteus went on a fortnight’s holiday and as the curate I buried six people in those two weeks. At the same time I coped with the outpouring of parishioners’ grief after the Omagh bombing, and then had to organise a Memorial Service for the Omagh victims in the town of Cookstown. What a start!
However out of that dark cloud emerged a willingness for local clergy from all denominations to work together endlessly and tirelessly, to establish good community relations and understanding among differing people, to help build a community where our children and grandchildren would not witness or be party to some of the scenes and atrocities that we have had to suffer during the troubles in Northern Ireland – Enniskillen folk are very aware of that!
Some people at that time, and even today, look at those involved in reconciliation and in building community with scepticism and fear, maybe fear of compromise or sell out. Let me tell you that we are perfectly capable of defending our faith! Talking, communicating and understanding each other are the keys to establishing a peaceful society. We want bitterness and hatred and the gun and the bomb removed for ever, and I will continue to work together with others to ensure that a more peaceful and friendly society emerges. So, for that very reason, everywhere I have moved to since my clerical life began twenty years ago in Cookstown through my days in Dungannon, Coalisland and Stewartstown and now here in Enniskillen, I have sought to do likewise. My message has not changed and I ask you to help me to continue the work of encouragement, hope and peace, doing as our Lord has commanded.
The Gospel reading for St Barnabas Day quotes some very strong words from Jesus - ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.’This statement is giving us a marker or a standard that is exceptionally high. Jesus tells us that Christians must have a special love for each other. This love must be fervent. It must be visible to others, because it is by this love that others will know that we are His disciples. This love will be proof that we are His disciples. People won’t know we are disciples by our great works, they will know only by our love. Without love, religious works are of no benefit! There is no place in a Christian’s life for bigotry or hatred, and such people holding those views do nothing only bring discredit to Christ and his teaching. Treating those who do not like us with love is a hard thing to do, but isn’t that what Christ commanded us to do? Nothing is impossible to God and even the hardest of hearts can be mellowed when the love of God enters in.
As we reflect on the life of St Barnabas - that great encourager let us ‘take a leaf out of his book’ and be an encourager ourselves! When others look at us today, what do they see? Our love, our joy, our peace. A visible manifestation of Christ’s life being lived in and through us in a normal way, and if that is the case, people will see something different about us and people will be attracted to Jesus, because we make Him attractive. That is what you and I together need to do as we continue to serve God in church and community.
‘So may the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you
may abound in hope by the power of The Holy Spirit.’
You may be very interested to see photos from Rev. Olie's installation service - they are now live on the 2018 album as is the photograph of the confirmation candidates on Sunday 27th May (click here) - scroll down to the bottom of the page.
And if you missed Morning Service on BBC Radio Ulster on 6th May, you can listen to it by clicking HERE
(This audio file works well on smart phones; on PCs it streams best with Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge - it is slow to load with Microsoft Explorer)