Rev Phair starts Swords ministry
There was standing room only in St Columba's Church in Swords last week, as Rev Neal Phair was made incumbent of the parishes of Swords, Clonmethan, Kilsallaghan, Donabate and Lusk by Archbishop Michael Jackson.
Rev Phair was joined in the congregation by his wife Lucy and their children Henry and Emily, as well as many members of his family and friends and parishioners from the Ballybay Group of Parishes, where he has previously ministered.
The preacher at the service was Canon Pat McHugh (Diocese of Clogher), who paid tribute to Rev Phair's 'friendly and affable nature' and his 'capacity for active engagement with people of all faiths and none.'
Speaking after the service, Archbishop Michael Jackson said it had been 'a great pleasure' to gather in the historic St Columba's Church to welcome Rev Phair and his family, and to join parishioners for 'a new beginning' for the parishes.
Fr Joe Connolly from Donabate and Pastor Clem Hegarty from Swords welcomed Rev Neal and his family to the area, and said they looked forward to 'building on the already strong local ecumenical relations.'
Welcoming Rvd Phail on behalf of the parish of Swords, Clonmethan and Kilsallaghan, Billy Goodwin thanked the Rev Ken Sherwood for his contribution during the vacancy.
Mr. Goodwin said that while there were two parishes with two separate vestries, they were all 'one happy family', and that he looked forward to both parishes working together.
Brian Scott, representing Donabate and Lusk, expressed the parish's good wishes, and said that he hoped Rev Phair would 'put an emphasis on both the spiritual and the material needs of the parish.'
Taking his turn at the stand, the new Rector thanked everyone for joining him for the occasion.
Rev Phail thanked his wife Lucy for her support, along with his children Henry and Emily.
He also paid tribute to the Archbishop for his encouragement, and to Archdeacon David Pierpoint, who had prepared the young people of the parish for confirmation recently.