TRIBUTES have been paid to the Church of Ireland Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, Trevor Williams, who has announced he is to retire this summer after six years.
Bishop Williams, 66, said it is not a decision he has hcome to lightly, but is “convinced it is the right time for the Diocese, my family and myself.
“I am very thankful for the privilege of serving the United Dioceses of Limerick and Killaloe for the past six years,” he said.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader following the announcement, Bishop Williams said his retirement “was not a forced thing”.
“I could have stayed on for a number of years, but there is a fairly exciting project emerging in the diocese that’s a six to 10 year project and I won’t be around to see that finish,” he said.
“One of the sad things is that I’ll be leaving behind many of the friends I’ve made in Limerick over the last few years, and I will miss the camaraderie from the community at large,” he commented.
He particularly noted the warm welcome that has been extended to him by the Catholic Bishops of Limerick, including the incumbent Brendan Leahy and his predecessor Dr Donal Murray.
Bishop Williams, who resided in Adare, said he has a small house in Dundrum, Co Down, which served as his “bolthole” during his three decades in Northern Ireland - and added that it will now be his home once more.
The Catholic Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy spoke of “the warmth and humility” of Bishop Williams on the announcement of his retirement, which he greeted with “mixed feelings”.
“Of course I am happy for him and his wife, Joyce. But I will miss them both very much. They have been extremely kind and welcoming to me since I arrived in Limerick a year ago,” he said.
“I have known Bishop Trevor for several years and have greatly appreciated his warmth and tremendous commitment to peace, reconciliation and dialogue. He is a man who sees the best in people and draws it out in them. He thinks the big picture but is attentive to the practical details to be worked out. We have met often in the past months and in each encounter I’ve come away enriched by Bishop Trevor’s good nature, sense of humour, passion for justice and humble disposition. He has a keen sense of reaching out to those on the margins. He is also well known for his very fine media skills as evident in the “Would you believe” documentary in 2012 as well as numerous contributions to local radio and print media in Limerick.
Bishop Williams succeeded Bishop Michael Mayes in Limerick who retired from the position in March 2008. Born in Dublin in 1948, he worked as a religious broadcasting producer for BBC Radio Ulster in the 1980s.