We are very sad to report that Father Ivor Morris died in the early hours of March 1st, in the presence of his sister Norma. After being taken ill in October of last year Fr Morris has remained in hospital, most recently in London, where Mgr. Newton was able to visit and pray with him.
Fr Morris served the Anglican Church of the Ascension, Chelmsford, for twenty years before accepting the Holy Father’s invitation and joining the Ordinariate in the first round of ordinations. He subsequently served the Diocese of Brentwood as Priest-in-Charge of the Blessed Sacrament, Chelmsford, and as chaplain to Broomfield hospital, as well as pastoring the Chelmsford Ordinariate group.
His long-time friend and colleague Fr Ed Tomlinson has posted the following obituary:
On leaving theological college I served my Anglican curacy at the parish of St. Thomas of Canterbury in Brentwood, Essex. It is a part of the Chelmsford diocese. Within this diocese were a good number of Anglo-Catholic clergy, who were a great support to me in those early days of ministry. We belonged to SSC (the Society of the Holy Cross) and would regularly meet for lunch and discussion. One of the main aims of the Society of the Holy Cross was to work and pray for unity with Rome.
One of the other members was Fr. Ivor Morris, who had also served a curacy under my training incumbent, Fr. Bob White. We therefore delighted in sharing a joke by complaining loudly about Fr. Bob, accusing him of all manner of cruelty, whenever we knew he was in earshot! It was good fun and utterly preposterous because, in truth, Fr. Bob is one of the nicest people you could meet. His stock response was to complain loudly, to anyone who would listen, that the only thing worse than being a curate was having one like us!
I would cover services for Fr. Ivor and was also invited to preach for him on a couple of occasions. He would always share lunch with me afterwards as hospitality was important to him. He was a quiet man, even shy; one of those gentle pastors whose kindness was a testament to his virtue. I remember Father Bob recalling how Fr Ivor would visit sick parishioners armed with cough medicine and sweeties to aid in their recovery! He was generous.
Life was not always easy for Fr. Ivor. Being a celibate priest within an Anglican church, where most clergy are married, could be lonely. And he spoke often about the battles he faced being a black clergyman in a very white and middle classed Church of England. It was not unusual for families of the deceased to refuse to allow him to take funerals, for example. People could be unspeakably rude, but these experiences, though they scarred him, never made him bitter. And he was ever grateful to those who did befriend him and treated him kindly.
Father Ivor, alongside Fr. Bob and myself, left the Church of England, in 2011, to become founder members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. This reconciliation with Rome meant we would again come together regularly; this time for formation at Allen Hall. Many of those days ended with Fr. Ivor and myself strolling along the Kings Road in conversation. And despite the upheaval and uncertainty of those early days, he was still able to laugh and smile. I was fond of him.
Sadly Fr. Ivor became very poorly and was recently diagnosed with in-operable cancer of the brain. We have been praying for him at Mass for quite some time. After a brave fight against the illness Fr. Ivor Morris passed away in the early hours of yesterday morning in the presence of his beloved sister. He was receiving palliative care in the London Neurological Hospital. He will be missed.
Of your goodness pray for his soul.
Please pray for Fr Morris, for his family and for his people in the parish and the Chelmsford Ordinariate group.
His funeral rites will be held at the Blessed Sacrament Church, 116 Melbourne Ave, Chelmsford CM1 2DU. On Tuesday 15th March at 7pm Fr. Ivor’s body will be received into church and Mass offered.
Fr Ivor’s funeral Mass will be the following morning – Wednesday 16th March – at 11am, followed by internment in the City of London Cemetery, Aldersbrook Rd, London E12 5DQ