Congratulations to Revd Rodney Blair who has been ordained presbyter for the curacy of Shankill Parish, Lurgan. We’re delighted to welcome Rodney and his wife Judith to the diocese.
Bishop David ordained Rodney along with Andy Hay and Anna Williams at a service in Down Cathedral on Sunday 5 September. The preacher was our Bible Week speaker, Revd Mark Aldridge. Mark is Assistant National Leader for New Wine England.
Rodney reflects on his deacon year
I spent my deacon year in St Columba’s Parish, Portadown with Canon Bill Adair. This time with Bill was a blessing and allowed me to learn from his decades of ministry experience. His encouragement and the wisdom he shared made a challenging year much more manageable.
2020–21 was not a year any of us could have predicted with church buildings closed and normal activities on hold, but church did not stop in St Columba’s. With some creative thinking and technical support, we were able to have some ‘normal’ church activities and some new ones too; Zoom Bible studies, online services and Messy Church, and a new website for sharing online resources all allowed the parish to feel connected and be able to worship together. In–person services (when permitted) allowed me to get to know the people of the parish as we worshipped God together.
COVID presented us with many challenges and for many people this was a particularly difficult time. I am thankful that God used this season to teach me unexpected lessons and develop skills in me that I didn’t expect to need as a minister, not least how to operate a camera!
During my deacon year I wrote my dissertation which included a study of Lamentations. Lamentations 3:23 reminds us of God’s faithfulness: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
This September I will begin my role as Curate in Shankill Parish, Lurgan where Judith and I are excited to become part of parish life. I feel privileged to be working alongside Canon Mark Harvey and to have to opportunity to learn from his ministry. I look forward to serving the Parish, developing in all aspects of ministry, and sharing the saving love of God with the people of Lurgan.