St. Macartin's Cathedral
Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
The Very Rev. Kenneth R. J. Hall, M. Phil.
Dean of the Diocese of Clogher
This photograph and article, originally published
in The Impartial Reporter on 21st April 2011 is reproduced
here with the kind permission of the Editor, Mr Denzil McDaniel.
Reconciliation and building bridges is still a difficult task, says Dean
His motto in life is to be an encourager and to help people find hope and light in difficult times. This sentiment has been important for the new Dean of Clogher, the Very Rev. Kenny Hall, throughout his ministry but he also brings with him a message of reconciliation, tolerance and respect.
Appointed as Dean of Clogher and rector of the Parish of Enniskillen at St. Macartin’s Cathedral in September 2010, Dean Hall has been getting used to his new surroundings. However he described his attendance at the recent memorial service in Enniskillen for Constable Ronan Kerr as one of his darker days since moving here from Tyrone. Ordained shortly before the Omagh bomb in 1998, Dean Hall explained how that dark period helped him to focus his ministry on encouragement and reconciliation.
He said: “The Omagh bombing happened just after I was ordained and my motto for my ordained life is to be an encourager. I was ordained on June 11 1998, which is St. Barnabas Day and this translates to the word ‘encourager’. I encourage in faith and in the dark times of life and try to give hope and light in situations of darkness. The Omagh bombing gave a new perspective to my ministry but there is still a great need for healing and reconciliation in the community.”
Recognising that reconciliation in Northern Ireland is a key issue, Dean Hall has spent years working to bring groups together. Following his studies in Theology, he completed a Masters degree in Philosophy of Reconciliation Studies and was a founder member of the Cookstown and District Clergy Forum, which reconciles groups throughout the province. This work also took him on fact-finding tours around the U.K. to places such as Coventry where he saw the scars of war and to Bradford where he met inter-faith groups.
He said: “I am very involved in encouraging communities to come together. Differences make us what we are. The key to reconciliation is tolerance and respect for each other…We should treat all human beings as children of God, though we may not necessarily like what they do, but we should show them love and respect.” He continued: “I started to work in reconciliation in 1998, to try to build bridges, but it is still as difficult today as it was 13 years ago. People are still divided.” Since relocating to the island town, he has become involved in the Fermanagh Churches Forum.
The rector of Enniskillen describes himself as a late entry into ministry having followed a career in business and financial services until 1998. His decision to become a minister was gradual, though the church was always a central part of his life. He said: “I was always heavily involved in church affairs, all my life. I’ve never known a Sunday when I haven’t been to church. I was brought up in church life, attending Termonmaguirke Parish in Carrickmore and I am the only ordinant in 200 years history of that parish.”
He served as curate of Derryloran Parish, Cookstown, then spent a year as curate in Dungannon. This was followed by a spell of more than seven years as rector in Coalisland. Dean Hall believes his previous career helps him in his work today. He said: “I think it is good to go to the university of the world and having worked at a career first, I have lots of experience on how people think and act.”
He admits that the role can be emotionally draining, for instance in one day he could be baptising a child into the church and then comforting another family following a bereavement. He explained: “We laugh with those that laugh and weep with those that weep. I enter into the emotions of the people and situations that I find myself in. I might have to change and adapt quite dramatically. I’ve been plunged into the ministry of joy and sorrow.”
Since moving to the deanery in Enniskillen, Dean Hall has been busy getting to know his new parishioners and revealed that he attends more social engagements in this new role. He said: “The parish is very big. It is the biggest Church of Ireland parish in the Clogher Diocese. There are in excess of 500 families so it takes a long time to get to know people on a personal level. The role is more demanding, but rewarding too. The people are so friendly, sociable and very appreciative of the work that goes on…I work with people and get out and around the houses and hope that they respond by visiting church. It’s great to see people coming to church and I want to help them to grow and develop their faith.”
He conducts services every night during Holy Week and describes Easter as being the most spiritually rewarding time in the church calendar. He said: “Easter is one of the busiest times of the year, but it is the most enjoyable and spiritually rewarding. We re-live the events of Lent and Holy Week, which is the basis for our faith.”
As well as being rector of Enniskillen Cathedral and dean of the diocese, Dean Hall is also chaplain to the Erne Hospital, which he visits on a regular basis. He is married to Stephanie and they have three sons. Philip, aged 26 is employed as a doctor in the Royal Victoria Hospital, while Gary, 23 years old has completed his studies in Computers in Glasgow. Youngest son, Michael is finishing his A-levels at his father’s former school, Dungannon Royal School and also plans to go to university.
The Dean's Page
The Dean displays his fine musculature to the citizens of Enniskillen! Along with Rev. Sam McGuffin (Methodist), Rev Fr. John Skinnader (Roman Catholic) and representatives from some of the town businesses he did this as part of a fun run prior to the Cycle Race around Enniskillen on 28th August 2011. One newspaper heading was allegedly ‘God’s Spokesmen!’
The Dean - sweeter than he's ever been!
This shows a cake which was baked at Leslie's Bakery in order to be auctioned for church funds at our annual sale in November 2011. The Dean's image was captured in icing - a "first" for him - and it tasted good despite it!
(last updated 31st October 2012)
Scroll down to see an article about the Dean's visit to "the Palace" and also a photo of the Dean meeting a famous TV personality!
The Very Rev. Canon Peter O'Reilly, Parish Priest of St Michael's Church Enniskillen, and the Very Rev. Kenneth Hall, Dean of Clogher and Rector of St Macartin's Cathedral Enniskillen, attended a reception in Buckingham Palace during the past week at the invitation of Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The reception was for those who helped organise various events to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee included a number of celebrities, such as Gary Barlow, who had contributed to the festivities of the Diamond Jubilee weekend itself. Canon O'Reilly and Dean Hall were invited as co-hosts of the Northern Ireland State Service of Thanksgiving to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, which took place in St. Macartin's Cathedral in June and was followed by a reception in St. Michael's Church.
During their time at the Palace, both clergymen had the opportunity to speak to Her Majesty at length upon arrival, and again later as part of a small group at the Queen's request. During their engaging conversation with the Queen, Canon O'Reilly and Dean Hall spoke about the impact of her visit to Enniskillen, and how it created a pathway in terms of
An article written by our Director of Music, Glenn Moore and published in October 2012 on the Clogher Diocese website:
Enniskillen clergy attend reception in Buckingham Palace
community relations that many have wanted to follow but have not had the confidence to do freely in the past. The Queen's visit to Enniskillen had provided a glimpse of the future, one where people can be together, not necessarily be the same, but together in peace and harmony. They also had the opportunity to talk to other members of the Royal Family, including the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York and the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
During their time in London, the clergymen were followed by an ITN film crew in preparation for a two-part series covering the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. They had previously been interviewed for the programme when the Queen and Prince Phillip visited Enniskillen in June.
The Dean meets TV personality Eamonn Holmes (NOT related to our webmaster!) who was in Enniskillen in October for the recording in the cathedral of two "Songs of Praise" programmes in which the latter acted as presenter.
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