The Church of Ireland Gazette Friday, 27 January 1995
The Rt. Revd. Samuel Poyntz, Bishop of Connor, is to retire from the active ministry on 10th March. Dr. Poyntz has served almost forty-five years in the ordained ministry and among the senior positions he has held are Archdeacon of Dublin, Bishop of Cork and Bishop of Connor.
Bishop Poyntz has seen the Diocese of Connor through roughly one third of the 'troubles' and has regularly been outspoken against violence from whatever quarter it came. He has worked tirelessly to promote initiatives for the Shankill Road area and for Protestant education. He is a well-known advocate for ecumenism and Christian unity, while defending the rights of Church of Ireland members to fair employment, housing and education. Commenting on his retirement, the Church of Ireland Primate, the Most Revd. Dr. Robin Eames has said:
"As Archdeacon of Dublin and Bishop of Cork, Dr. Poyntz gave excellent leadership and service to his Church in the Southern province and his many gifts so obvious in that sphere of his career were to be tested again when he became Bishop of our largest diocese, the diocese of Connor, at a time of widespread violence and suffering in Northern Ireland. "
"Bishop Poyntz has made a unique and very vital contribution to the life of the Church. During some of the most difficult years of recent times he has been a true shepherd of his flock in the diocese of Connor. Together with Mrs Noreen Poyntz he has given much faithful pastoral support to his clergy and their families. His leadership has been most courageous throughout the trauma of the troubles and his influence for good has been immense. Allied to his endless energy and willingness to face any challenge has been a deep and abiding care for people. Under his leadership the diocese of Connor has faced many difficult decisions with the movement of Church of Ireland population and the pressures caused by the years of violence. We will all miss his leadership, friendship and support greatly. I know that there will be widespread and genuine regret at his retirement. I pay a sincere tribute to his influence and leadership at a time of such change and opportunity for this community."
Bishops' Appeal Amongst his many and varied activities, in 1969 Bishop Poyntz proposed a private member's motion which led to the formation of the Bishops' Appeal and World Development of the Church of Ireland. From 1971 he was Convenor of the Bishops' Appeal Fund until becoming Archdeacon of Dublin and due to the demands on his time he had to relinquish this convenorship. Since its inception this Fund has raised some £4 million approximately. Committed to the Ecumenical Movement, Bishop Poyntz has represented the Church of Ireland in many countries as well as in these islands. He led an Irish Delegation to the first European Ecumenical Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. Subsequently he has had ecumenical visits to East and West Germany, Austria and France. He led an Irish Inter-Church Delegation to the USSR in 1987 and a British Council of Churches Delegation to Israel and the Occupied Territories in 1989. Two years later he returned to the Holy Land with an Irish Delegation and last year attended an International Jewish/Christian Conference in Jerusalem bringing together Christian leaders from all over the world.
In 1989 he ordained the first two women to be raised to the priesthood in the Church of Ireland and in 1992 he instituted the first women as an Incumbent in the Church of Ireland.
Bishop Poyntz was ordained in 1950 and served curacies in St. George's, Dublin, Bray and St. Michan's with St. Paul's. In 1959 we was appointed Rector of St. Stephen's, Dublin, which was later grouped with St. Ann's, Dawson Street.
He served as Archdeacon of Dublin from 1974 until 1978 when he was elected Bishop of Cork, where he remained until his translation to Connor in 1987.
Bishop Poyntz and his wife Noreen, plan to retire to Lisburn.
One of the most notable and effective, personal ministries within the modern Church of Ireland is to have a change of direction. Dr. Samuel Poyntz is to retire as Bishop of Connor on 10 March. But to speak of or even imagine, Dr. Poyntz as retiring from what is sometimes termed the "active ministry" is to utter a contradiction in terms, and to envisage something particularly inapposite. Sam Poyntz inactive? The query is an absurdity! A change of direction, yes, and probably a wise one. But we have every confidence that the Church Dr. Poyntz has served so long and so well will yet have much to hear from him, by pen and by word and will greatly benefit from both.
Those who have witnessed and those who have been colleagues in Dr. Poyntz's varied and taxing career, will probably unite in remembering his quite astonishing capacity to shoulder the most daunting work-loads. Sometimes "busy-ness" can be delusive - more apparent than actual. But Dr. Poyntz has a great capability of focussing his insights and his energies on what is immediately before him, deal with it and move on to the next demand. This is the reverse of "busyness"; it is ordered industry, channelled concentration and it gets things done. This can be off-putting, not to say shaming, to the less dynamic! But this has enabled Dr. Poyntz to carry responsibilities, to take hard decisions and to face ill directed criticisms, in the carrying out of charges and the shouldering of burdens that would have crushed lesser men, and indeed, has done so.
As Archdeacon of Dublin, Bishop of Cork and finally Bishop of Connor, Dr. Poyntz has been in the thick of it at a time of many changes, organisational, liturgical, political and social. More than most Diocesans he has had to be where the buck stops on all sorts of schemes and schedules. It has been widely experienced and admiringly noted, that Dr. Poyntz always exemplified the first duty of a Commanding Officer, that is, never to ask of his men what he is not prepared to do himself. Where a meeting threatened to be "difficult"; where an individual was known to be cantankerous; where an issue seemed bound to be divisive - it would simply never have occurred to Dr. Poyntz to send someone else to handle it. The call to lead presupposed a preparedness to take the knocks, and they are mistaken who confuse an inner depth of courage with an outer thickness of skin. Sensitivity is not the preserve of the delicate.
And sensitivity also underlay his conscientious nurturing of his diocesan clergy. Many and many a one could testify of his cheerful heartening and sympathetic fellowship. He has been very much a "hands-on" Bishop, endlessly visiting Parishes, talking to Lay groups, taking the pulse of his Cures, cherishing the diffident and galvanising the indolent. And yet he has used time to read extensively, to write prolifically, to attend Conferences, to chair Synod Committees, to take brave an necessary stands on matters of great public importance. No wonder lesser mortals feel a faint exasperation!
It is good that, just occasionally, those who have fairly earned the respect, the admiration and the affection, of their contemporaries should not have to wait to know of this regard until their obituaries speak where they can't hear. A "retirement" such as Dr. Poyntz has announced, limited as we greatly hope and strongly suspect, that it will be, allows us this chance, which we happily take, to salute a good soldier of Christ and an indefatigable servant of the Church. To Dr. Poyntz and to Mrs. Poyntz, a great helpmeet if ever there was one, we say "Thank you", "well done" and (redundantly) "keep up the good work."