17 Sep 2018

Chaplain & Refugee Projects Officer appointed for Calais

(Photo by Ruby Hirsch - Stand up to Racism)

An Australian priest, who has been Rector of a flourishing parish in the Scottish Episcopal Church, is the first joint Chaplain and Refugee Projects Officer in Pas-de-Calais (France).

Kirrilee Reid, who is Rector of All Saints, Glencarse, in the Diocese of Brechin has served parishes in Canberra (Australia) and Perthshire (Scotland).

Kirrilee’s Licensing

Kirrilee received her licences from the Diocese in Europe and the Diocese of Canterbury at a splendid ceremony on November 8th in the Chapel of the Monastère du Carmel in Boulogne-sur-Mer. The chapel was full to capacity, and no fewer than fourteen members of the clergy were present, from both sides of the Channel.

The Bishop of Dover, the Right Revd Trevor Willmott presided at the Eucharist, and the sermon was preached by the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, the Right Revd. Dr Robert Innes. USPG’s General Secretary the Revd. Duncan Dormer, also took part in the Liturgy of Institution. Kirrilee briefly addressed the assembled company to express her thanks to all who had contributed to making the event such an evident success, and declared her commitment to her new post in all its aspects.

She is the first priest hold this new post, which is the outcome of a joint partnership between the Diocese in Europe, the Diocese of Canterbury and the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

The partnership is a response to the growing challenge of rising numbers of migrants around the Channel ports in Northern France. This area is served by the Church of England’s Pas-de-Calais Chaplaincy, and the project reflects the need for a more co-ordinated approach to care for and support migrants and their families – on both sides of the English Channel.

The Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, the Rt Revd Dr Robert Innes, welcomed the appointment, saying “I am delighted that we have been able to license Kirrilee to this strategic post at a crucially significant time for the Pas-de-Calais chaplaincy and the people it serves. Kirrilee brings extensive experience of the Church, a passion for social justice, and sustained involvement in working with migrants and refugees to her new ministry.”

The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, added “We welcome this appointment with a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude towards those in our own diocese who have donated so generously to help make this happen, gratitude to our partners the Diocese in Europe and USPG and – of course – gratitude to Kirrilee for offering herself to take on this significant work. Compassionate and pragmatic ministry with both refugees and the communities they find themselves in is an essential calling for our times.”

Canon Kirrilee Reid was born and grew up in Australia. She was ordained in Canberra in 2006, where she combined parish work with outreach and Fresh Expressions programmes focussed on the socially marginalised. This consolidated her wide experience before ordination, working with local government, church and charity projects, focussed on children, families and refugees, in Australia and in Durham (UK).

Since moving to Scotland in 2010, as well as being a parish priest, Kirrilee has also been the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, working alongside those exploring a vocation to ordained ministry; and the Diocesan Ministry Officer. She was installed as an Honorary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee in 2015. She has just completed a sabbatical spent working with refugee agencies in Lesvos (Greece).

Kirrilee is married to Ewan, and enjoys music, travel and cookery. She has recently begun to explore icon painting, and regularly contributes worship resources to the Expository Times.

The appointment has also been welcomed by the Archdeacon of France, the Ven Meurig Williams, who said “The fruitful partnerships that have made this appointment possible are an exciting development for us in France. It is very good that we have been able to appoint a priest who has pastoral depth, creative flair and a sustained engagement with some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. We had hoped we could attract a pioneering priest who had seen something of the world, and we are absolutely delighted that Kirrilee will be leading this new phase of mission and ministry in a challenging context that is full of potential.”

Director of the Diocese of Canterbury's Communities and Partnerships Network, Caroline Pinchbeck, spoke of working together: “The Diocese of Canterbury has had a long engagement with the Pas-de-Calais Chaplaincy, and more so over the last three years through its Communities and Partnerships Framework and its Kent Refugee Project officer, Domenica Pecoraro, who have been working with colleagues in Europe. We are delighted that the appointment of Kirrilee to this post will enable the two project officers to share intelligence and experiences of their work together, along with sharing with the Diocese’s network of partnerships in Kent and nationally.”

Director of Global Relations at USPG, Rachel Parry, said: “USPG is thrilled to be a part of this appointment of Kirrilee as chaplain with responsibilities for the refugee response. We hope and pray the post will prove to be a very significant link, strengthening the pastoral and prophetic role of the church, and highlighting the very real issues still faced by migrants and refugees in this critical location and beyond.”

Kirrilee will be licenced to her new ministry on 8th November at a service at which the Bishop in Europe and the Bishop of Dover will preside.