Father Ivor Morris RIP (updated with funeral arrangements)

Rev. Ivor MorrisWe 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

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9 Responses to Father Ivor Morris RIP (updated with funeral arrangements)

  1. Viola Hayhurst says:

    Fr. Ivor sounds like such a beautiful and caring individual. One that any of us would have loved to have had as their pastor. It is so sad to learn of the racism that this fine priest had to contend with within the Church of England. I hope that under the Ordinariate he indeed found that people were much kinder. It is so awesome as well that he died as a Catholic. Peace… to this very special person and to his sister, Norma. He has now been welcomed into the arms of Peter.

  2. EPMS says:

    If you scan the group pictures on the OOLW website I think you will see that its demographic predictably reflects that of the CofE. If Fr Morris found it a welcoming place, and I sincerely hope this was the case, it was because members subjected ideas about race which society may have ingrained to the critique of the Gospel.

  3. Mr J p gavan says:

    I remember Father Morris when he covered holy trinity at South wood ham ferrers a lovely and sincere priest

  4. Ricky Morris says:

    Father Morris was my uncle and it’s lovely to read the kind words that people are posting.
    I’m the son of the eldest brother Martin Morris who at this time is struggling with our loss as Ivor was the back bone of the family.
    My uncle was a very private man, and it’s really nice to read other people’s stories regarding his past which I may have never known.
    Thank you all.

    • John Warmann says:

      My condolence for your loss. I got to know Fr. Ivor when he became the Parish Priest at Blessed Sacrament. Though not a parishioner he developed an interest in me through my wife who is and often inquired about me and/or sent me messages. As a Catholic I admired him for his faith in God, and the love and care he showed in his work as pastor. I am consoled that he is in a better place and wish him God’s speed. Fr Ivor RIP.

  5. John Warmann says:

    I met and knew Fr Ivor when he got posted to the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Chelmsford where my wife worships. Being the first black priest in charge of the parish, Fr Ivor obviously faced many covert and overt opposition from some of the congregation but his tenacity prevailed as he meant well. He would say that the priesthood was his calling and as the talent entrusted to him by God he needed to do it well. I knew about his illness and hoped and prayed that the good Lord will make him live but He knows best and has called Fr Ivor unto Himself. In a sense I am relieved with belief that he is in a better place than we the living are. I therefore wish him God’s speed and a restful rest in God’s abode. Fr Ivor RIP.

  6. liberasit says:

    Here in Germany a Catholic priest of African origins has stepped down from his parish duty after receiving death threats.

  7. Peter Regelous says:

    I was admitted to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford on three separate occasions in 2014 suffering from kidney failure and one of my visitors during those times was Father Ivor Morris. What a kind and gentle man he was. I was terrified of my surroundings but his well chosen words and kindness helped me immensely during that period. He talked quite openly about his own trials and tribulations when he had previously been in hospital, knowing, I’m sure, that his own experiences might help me to face my own difficulties. May Our Lord bless him and his sister at this sorrowful time.

  8. Norm Friar says:

    I have in my possession an antique wood and brass groove plane that the previous owners acquired in London about 2 decades ago. Stamped into the side of it is “IVOR MORRIS” and “B.MORGAN”. Is there a chance that this artifact once belonged to either of them?
    His name is exceptionally unique.

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