THE NEW CHURCH OF IRELAND rector of the Kells Union and Inistioge parishes, the Revd Martin Hilliard, was instituted on Sunday, June 5.
The service was conducted by Bishop of Cashel & Ossory Michael Burrows and the Preacher was the Venerable Stephen Forde, Archdeacon of Dalriada and Rector of Larne and Inver, where Revd Hilliard had been Curate.
A large contingent of parishioners had travelled from Co Down to support him and there were also many present from Dublin, where Martin had been a teacher in The High School before taking holy orders late in life.
The lessons were read by Lucy Rothwell from Inistioge and John Brownlee from Larne, while the Gospel was read by the Revd Ian Poulton, who had looked after the Kells group of parishes in Co Kilkenny in recent times.
Also present were supporters from the ecumenical community, Fr Richard Scriven (Inistioge) and Fr Dan Bollard ( Thomastown), while the political world was represented by Deputy John Paul Phelan and (FG), Cllr Sean Treacy (FF) and Cllr Michael O'Brien (Lab).
There was a reception in the community hall afterwards, where Martin and his wife Marlyn were warmly the local community by all present. The couple have three children: Elizabeth (30) Robert (29) and Jane (26).
A Dublin man, before coming into the ministry, late in life, he taught mathematics and computers in The High School, Dublin, from 1970 to 2005.
'I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity so late in life to serve God in the ordained ministry,' said Revd Hilliard, who said he is looking forward to getting to know the people of Inistioge and the other parishes in the Kells group.