It is with great affection for the traditions of the Henrician Reform and immeasurable gratitude for the communities with which I have worshipped and to which I have ministered in Ireland that today I make clear my intention to leave the Church of Ireland. This may come as little surprise to those who know that for some time now I have been absent from training and active ministry. As a Reader and Preacher, and latterly as an Ordinand in south Dublin I have had the great privilege of working with some wonderful people, and I have made good friends who I will cherish for the rest of my life.
During my extended break from the life of the Church I have undertaken a life-changing journey which, in leading me away from the Church of Ireland, has brought me closer to the person of Jesus. This is not to say – by no means – that this most beautiful and tremendous relationship is not to be found in the Anglican fold; rather it is that he found me somewhere else.
For five years I have engaged myself voluntarily with a number of community projects that have brought me back to people and communities similar to the people and communities with who and in which I grew up and first experienced the Christian faith. I believe beyond a shadow of doubt that this is where my own heart is leading me, and I have come to trust that this is the work of the Spirit of God. Sadly I do not see how this deeply personal realignment of vocation can be nourished within the Anglican community in Ireland. It has simply become clear to me that I am at home somewhere else.
Last year, in order to find an ark – a safe place to be – I began to share in the ministry of James the Just in the Liberties; a small Christian group focussed on serving people in the locality and living a spiritual life of simplicity and compassion. I intend to remain with James the Just and to wait there on the Spirit. Over the year ahead I shall be looking to undertake further postgraduate studies in order to better equip myself for the direction I am now taking. There is much that I will miss, but to remain would be a disservice to all. We simply must follow our hearts and consciences.