Ireland’s first Church of Ireland female Bishop, Rev Pat Storey, may have left Derry to take up her new role as bishop of Kildare and Meath but her heart is still in Derry.
Bishop Storey was based at St Augustine’s Church on Derry’s walls for many years before moving to Maynooth, County Kildare, with her husband, Earl, recently.
Speaking from her new home in Maynooth, the Bishop said the decision to leave Derry was difficult.
“It was a big opportunity and it was a hard thing to turn down but I was sad to be leaving Derry,” she said. “I love a small city because you know everybody and everybody knows you.
“We were very embedded in Derry and we knew a lot of people. It has a great parish and it’s a great city,” she added.
Bishop Storey also said she has not entirely broken her links with Derry.
“It’s where my daughter is settled because she married a Derry man.
“Carolyn stayed behind because she’s a teacher in Derry and my son Luke already left to be a holiday rep with SkiBound so he’s over in the Alps for the winter.
“He’s finished at the end of April so I don’t know if he will come and live here or if he will try and look for a job in Derry because they both love Derry so I think he might want to settle there too.
“Earl would be up and down to Derry every couple of weeks but he runs his owns business so some of it he is able to do online and he’s got a bit of work down here as well.
“It is hard to leave a community you have lived in for ten years and I had no intention of leaving. It was shock,” she explained.
The first female bishop also said her new role will bring fresh challenges. “The role is really different and I’m still trying to get my head around that.
“When you are a vicar of a parish it is very clear who your community are and who you are working with and what your role is. Your role is to look after your parishioners and to lead a church.
“When you’re made a bishop your role is very different because there are 20 churches and 20 clergy and your role is more of an overseer. You are leading a diocese instead of a church,” she said.
Bishop Storey also said she will miss the city life in her new rural setting. “Geographically it’s quite widespread and there is no centre in the same way as Derry was the obvious centre for Derry and Raphoe.
“This is more decentralised and it does mean a lot of travel to get places,” she said.