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26 April 2013

R. Edgar Turner writes:
HE WAS born, bred, educated, and even graduated in the shadow of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin - and it was there that Canon Norman Kelly, who died on 20 March, aged 92, found the ordered, liturgical worship, the quiet and devotional prayer life, and, above all, the warm pastoral care that characterised him, and which he demonstrated thoroughly throughout his ministry.

His first incumbency was in rural North Connor, where his ministry from 1955 to 1963 is still long remembered. He "encouraged" his parishioners there to undertake the first local stewardship cam-paign.

He moved to Guildford diocese, and, after serving in Dorking and Ranmore, soon moved to the parish of New Haw, where he worked with a Commissioned Lady Worker, and became one of the training vicars in the diocese, and also the Rural Dean. He then moved to become Vicar of Egham Hythe and was later a canon of Guildford Cathedral - whose coloured cincture he greatly enjoyed wearing, even in his retirement in Ireland.

After 25 happy years serving in Guildford diocese, he retired to the Parish of St John's, Malone, in Belfast, where he had served a long and enjoyable curacy, and gave a further 27 years of greatly valued ministry there.

It has been said that "He combined gentleness with firmness. Modest and kind in his approach to people, he was a man of prayer and of the eucharist, conducting public worship with reverence and care. His sermons, usually brief, were easy to follow as he made his points distinctly and clearly. His conduct of services was always deep, quiet and thoughtful."

Behind his twinkling eyes, and his whimsical smile, was a well-stocked brain, kept up to date by regular reading and by travelling far with his beloved wife, Noreen. His gentle humour, the quiet dignity of his manner, his prayerful and devout attitude - all these brought many to seek the advice that he readily gave, and which made him known as "the encourager": a devout and faithful priest, scholarly, well read, and up to date.

"Meticulous and thorough" described Norman's approach to all things in life, not only in matters relating to worship, but in his own personal preparation and in the guidance that he gave to others, from the said to the sung, from the reading of the Word to the administration of the Sacrament - and even to his avid and assiduous reading of the Church Times.

The memory of his steady, unassuming faith will live long in the hearts of those whose lives have been touched by this faithful and wise servant of God.

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