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Church of Ireland notes from the Irish Times

Irish Times Notes

Added on 27/07/2002

Retirement of the Archbishop of Dublin

On Wednesday Dr Walton Empey will retire from the office of archbishop of Dublin and from the stipendiary ministry of the Church of Ireland which he has graced since 1958. He has served in the ordained ministry for forty-four years, fifteen of which have been as a bishop and six as an archbishop.

A son of the rectory (his father, the Revd Frank Empey, was successively incumbent in Donoughmore & Donard, Fenagh and Enniscorthy between 1935 and 1956) he was ordained for the curacy of Glenageary and from 1960 until 1966 served in the Anglican Church in Canada. He returned to Ireland as Rector of Stradbally, Co. Laois, and in 1971 began a lengthy association with the Diocese of Limerick, first as Dean of St Mary's Cathedral and representative canon in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, and from 1981, as Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe. In 1985 he was translated to Meath and Kildare in succession to Dr Donald Caird whom he succeeded as Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough in 1996.

At the core of Dr Empey's ministry has been his personal warmth, good humour and a lack of the pretension which so often accompanies high office. His evident love for and interest in all sorts and conditions of men and women have made him one of the most popular bishops of his generation. Yet beneath the avuncular exterior lies a real concern for the church in society evidenced, for example, by his public espousal of the controversial issue of international debt, by his sustained support of the defence forces, and by his willingness to publicly articulate the position of the Church of Ireland in Irish life at times of crisis and controversy.

Tomorrow (Sunday) morning Dr Empey will, for the last time as Archbishop of Dublin, celebrate the Eucharist in Christ Church Cathedral where the Dean, the Very Revd John Paterson will preach. The services will be sung by the Sine Nomine ensemble. The archbishop will preach at Evensong after which there will be a presentation from the dioceses.

Visitors to Christ Church will have an opportunity to view the reordered exhibition in the Treasury in the medieval crypt which includes many new items of cathedral and parish plate. Altar plate made for the churches of St Werburgh, St Michael the Archangel (now the site of the Synod Hall) and St Michan have been added to the exhibition as has an unusual ampulla in the form of a stylised bird which is on loan from the Church's Ministry of Healing

Today (Saturday), beginning at noon, there will be a sale in St John's Church, Kill, Co. Kildare, in aid of church funds.

Tomorrow (Sunday) the services in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, will be sung by the Priory Singers from England. The Annual Open Air Service at Clonmacnoise, held under the auspices of the Dioceses of Meath and Kildare, will begin at 4.00 pm. The preacher will be the Dean of Edinburgh, the Very Revd J.B. Fostekew.

The third recital in the twenty-second Festival of Classical Music in St Barrahane's Church, Castletownshend, Co. Cork, will be held on Thursday evening. Voces Amicabiles, a Dublin choir, together with the Western Consort, from Somerset, will perform, among other works, Vivaldi's Gloria and Magnificat. The proceeds will be in aid of church funds and charities.

On Friday a Flower Festival on the theme of "The Gift of Healing and Life" will begin in St Mary's Church, Moate, Co. Westmeath, and continue until 5 August. The proceeds are in aid of St Luke's Hospital, Dublin.