The Institution of the Reverend Robert Ferris as Incumbent of Carrigrohane Union of Parishes in the Diocese of Cork was held on Thursday 17th December in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork.
Current Level 3 restrictions meant that the congregation was limited to 50 people and, the Service itself, including the arrival and departure of the congregation was restricted to one hour. ‘Nonetheless’ said Bishop Paul Colton in his address, ‘this Service has the fullness of what is required for an Institution Service.’ He said:
It is important, I think, to emphasise that what is happening here tonight has, nonetheless, all the fullness of any Institution Service: no crowd, no tea, sandwiches or buns but even if stripped back, it has what is essential. Indeed, what we are doing here tonight in this way is more true to what used to happen in pre-disestablishment times when the bishop didn’t go around instituting; people came to him (and back then it was him).
Referring in a light-hearted way to his own background in ecclesiastical law he said:
I even consulted one of my tomes of ecclesiastical law to make sure we were doing nothing illegal and the position, according to Richard Burn, one of the authorities in 1842, was this – that when it comes to an Institution ‘…the bishop may do as well out of his diocese as within it, for as to this matter, it is not local, but follows the person of the bishop whithersoever he goes.’
The congregation was, of course, swelled in number by the many who joined on the Cathedrals webcam broadcast which was professionally installed earlier this year thanks to a technology grant from the Representative Church Body and the Priorities’ Fund. Those in the Cathedral turned to greet Robert’s family in Banbridge and Kilkeel, and his many friends including the Reverend Geoffrey Chikondi C. Bandi watching in in Zambia.
Current regulations meant that there could be no congregational singing but Robbie Carroll, Assistant Director of Music at the Cathedral, interspersed the short Service with seasonal pieces of Advent music.