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Friday 26 May 2017

Former Green Party leader Trevor Sargent to become priest: 'The boss is Jesus Christ'

Trevor Sargent (56), former Green Party leader, now training to be a Church of Ireland Minister

Trevor Sargent in St Iberius church, Wexford. Photo: Mary Browne
Trevor Sargent in St Iberius church, Wexford. Photo: Mary Browne
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

After a career in politics, the former leader of the Green Party Trevor Sargent is set to become a priest in the Church of Ireland.

A decade ago, the TD for Dublin North became a Minister of State in a Fianna Fáil/Green Party coalition government.

Now he is about to answer God's calling as a minister of the church.

The politician, who led the Green Party between 2001 and 2007, has always been an active worshipper throughout his political career, and was church warden in his local parish in Balbriggan, Dublin.

Since he lost his seat in 2011, he has moved to Wexford, where he lives with his second wife, Aine Neville. They are involved in organic horticulture.

In an interview in today's 'Review', he said: "I have had a calling to the church since my school days. The long and winding road that we go on is sometimes hard to account for."

Trevor Sargent photographed in St. Iberius church Wexford. Photo: Mary Browne
Trevor Sargent photographed in St. Iberius church Wexford. Photo: Mary Browne

He has been training as an ordinand at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. He is also studying for a Masters degree in Theology at Trinity College.

If his training goes to plan, Mr Sargent will first be ordained a deacon, and he could become a priest in the Church of Ireland soon after that.

As a politician, Mr Sargent did not feel free to express his faith openly. He said a life in politics and a life in the church are similar in some ways, but different in others.

"The common theme ought to be a sense of service. But the nature of a Christian calling is that you are never the boss, you are always the servant.

"The boss is Jesus Christ, and when you forget that you go off the rails. In politics, you have to convey the idea that you are superhuman, because your competitors are going to convey that.

"In the church, you are representing the brokenness of humanity, and you submit to the greater wisdom that comes from a belief in God."

While Mr Sargent felt constrained in expressing his faith publicly, he still found time for prayer.

He said he sometimes slipped out of the Dáil to St Anne's Church on Dawson Street at lunchtime for Holy Communion.

*Read more in today's 'Review' section of the 'Irish Independent'

Irish Independent

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