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Two new priests ordained for Diocese of Derry and Raphoe at All Saints, Clooney

The onerousness of their new ministry was brought home to the Rev Andrea Cotter and the Rev Alan McCracken during their Service of Ordination as priests in All Saints, Clooney, on Wednesday evening. “Your ministry will be one of joy as well as of responsibility,” Bishop Andrew Forster told them, “of happiness as well as of diligence. Yet remember in your heart that if it should come about that the Church, or any of its members, is hurt or hindered by reason of your neglect, your fault will be great and God’s judgement will follow.”

The new curates came to the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe by way of the Diocese of Connor, where they completed training as intern deacons. Mrs Cotter, who completed her internship in the Parish of Skerry, Rathcavan and Newtowncrommelin, has been appointed Curate Assistant of All Saints Parish, Clooney, where she will serve with the Rev David McBeth. Mr McCracken undertook his training in the United Parish of Ballynure and Ballyeaston, and he will be to the Moville Group of Parishes, at a service on Saturday afternoon.

Bishop Andrew extended “the warmest of welcomes” to Andrea and her husband Richard, and Alan and his wife Karen. He said all in the diocese looked forward to seeing what plans God had for the new priests’ lives and ministries. The Bishop said he was sure that both couples would enjoy the support and prayers of their new congregations.

If the seriousness of priesthood sounded daunting, Mrs Cotter and Mr McCracken were assured by Ven. Robert Miller that God wasn’t sending them out without equipping them for the task. In his sermon, the Archdeacon of Derry said the invocation of the Bishop, with the laying on of hands by their fellow priests, was an intercession for God’s anointing. “This ministry of joy and responsibility needs God’s anointing,” Archdeacon Miller said, “as indeed the calling of each of us as believers needs to be done so in God’s strength. Each day, each moment of each day, we are called to turn to Him. And St John reminds us that the role of His holy spirit is to lead us into all truth – truth about God, truth about the world we are called to minister in, and truth about ourselves.”

Archdeacon Miller reminded the two new curates, and the other clergy present, that they were “co–workers with Christ”, and that God was making His appeal through them. “Our ministry is not as a professional Christian, but as a follower. And so, His sending and anointing is for a purpose. And His purpose, as St Paul reminds us from our reading in Corinthians, is that we are ambassadors for Christ – God making His appeal through us. Now, if that doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, then I don’t think anything will.

“In our epistle, it reminds us why we have been given the Lord’s anointing. We need it. Ministry is impossible without it. God is making His appeal through us – really. He is engaging with the needs of the world through me. It is a truth that should drive us to our knees.”

Wednesday evening’s service was arranged by the Rector of All Saints Clooney, the Rev David McBeth and was carried out in accordance with the Northern Ireland Executive’s guidelines and Church of Ireland guidance. Bishop Andrew thanked the Rector, his team, the choir and musicians for their input. He also thanked the two archdeacons who assisted in the service, the Ven David Huss and Archdeacon Miller.

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