History made for local Church of Ireland community as St Nicholas’ gets its first female rector

St Nicholas’s Collegiate church has seen many changes in the city over the hundreds of years it has stood guard over the street, but is about to experience a new one with the announcement this week that its new rector will be the first female to hold the post.

The Church of Ireland community have told the Advertiser that they are delighted with the news that Canon Lynda Peilow has been appointed to the post of Rector of the Church of Ireland Galway Group of Parishes, encompassing St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church and Kilcummin in Oughterard.

Heather Pope, treasurer of St Nicholas’ welcomed the news.

“Canon Lynda is currently Rector of Edenderry Union (she has four parishes there to cater for ) and having been there for 17 years, will be sadly missed. She will make the move west by mid-August, with her husband, Clive and their three children, Chloe, Peter and Amelie.

“Having recently lost Archdeacon Gary Hastings, who we will miss greatly, to Killiney Parish, we’re now very pleased that Lynda has accepted our offer to come to Galway,” said Ms Pope.

Rev Gary Hastings served as Rector since taking over from Rev Patrick Towers six years ago. Rev Hastings is a renowned musician who made an immense contribution to cultural life in the city.

Canon Peilow said that herself and her family are eagerly anticipating their move to the west.

““I am looking forward to meeting everyone in Galway. I feel privileged to be able to minister in such beautiful churches and a vibrant city.

“It’s a huge change for the whole family but we are very excited about our move,” she said last evening.

Ms Pope confirmed that a date for Canon Peilow’s Institution in Galway will be arranged in the coming days.

Lynda Peilow is the only girl in a family of five and was educated at the Sacred Heart School, Tullamore. She entered the Church of Ireland theological college to study for her ministry in 1994.

In 1998, when she was ordained at a service in Christ Church Cathedral, she became the Church of Ireland’s youngest priest.

Rev Peilow, then a curate of the West Dublin parish of Castleknock and Mulhuddart with Clonsilla, was ordained at a service presided over by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Rev Dr Walton Empey.

Because she was then the youngest priest in the Church of Ireland, her ordination propelled her into the media spotlight.

Speaking at the time, she said “it’s an exciting time to be ordained as we move into the 21st century. I’m looking forward to the challenges it will bring, sharing the lives of people, being with them in their good and bad times.’’

When asked what attracted her to a life in the church, she replied “Like any teenager, I had lots of thoughts running through my head about what I wanted to do.”

“I considered primary-school teaching, or something in the medical line. But ordination always was the strongest draw, even from the age of 13 or 14. When I really thought about it, teaching seemed like it would be more of a sideline.

“Something to fall back on. I didn’t feel teaching was something I’d want to be doing for the rest of my life. I knew unless I followed my vocation, I’d never be at peace.”

Colleagues who have worked with Canon Peilow over the past two decades have described her as an “inspiring priest and pastor” and say that she will be universally welcomed in Galway city.

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