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Canon Ernest Long: Leading figure in both Church of Ireland and the Orange Order

By Alf McCreary

Published 13/04/2016

Canon Ernest Long
Canon Ernest Long
At the Museum of Orange Heritage with Edward Stevenson and the Rev Stanley Gamble

Canon Ernest Long, who has died at the age of 102, was a long-term grand chaplain of the Orange Order.

He was one of the founders of its newspaper The Orange Standard, which was established in 1973 and to which he contributed regularly.

Because of his outstanding service to the Orange Order he was chosen and honoured to cut the first sod in February 2014 for its headquarters at Schomberg House.

The Reverend Canon Dr Samuel Ernest Long was ordained as a Church of Ireland cleric in 1949 and served as a curate at St Clement's Church in east Belfast.

He also served in the Willowfield parish before going to St John's Church, Dromara, where he was for almost 30 years until his retirement in 1985.

He was appointed Canon of Dromore Cathedral, where he was treasurer and editor of the Diocesan magazine.

Canon Long was a prolific author and his writings were well-known throughout the Orange Order worldwide.

He was thought to be the oldest Church of Ireland cleric until his death, and in a tribute his Bishop the Rt Reverend Harold Miller said that he had a wide range of interests including football, Church history and theology.

He was known for his determination, and even on his 102nd birthday he was planning to write another book.

Order grand secretary Drew Nelson said Canon Long remained intellectually sharp, and that he was held in high esteem by colleagues from the organisation who worked with him at different levels.

The Rev Stanley Gamble, rector of Killinchy and another grand chaplain of the Orange Order, was a close friend.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "Canon Long was a towering figure in the Church of Ireland and the Orange Order for many years, writing much on what was dear to him.

"He was passionate about the written word, and in all his writing he sought to educate, enthuse and entertain.

"He had just completed his final work, Mighty Missioners, and his writings were always clear, concise and full of conviction."

Canon Long, who was one of the Orange Order's six grand chaplains, lived formerly at Cairnshill Court, and latterly at the Faith House Nursing Home at Finaghy.

He was predeceased by his wife Ellie, and is survived by sons Norman, Colin and Mervyn and by the wider family, including five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

His funeral service took place yesterday at Knockbreda Parish Church followed by interment at St John's parish churchyard in Dromara.

Belfast Telegraph

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