Sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter, 27th April 2014

    “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God’.” John 20:28

    There is an old Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times”. During years as a youth, the thought never occurred that the saying might not be a blessing. Growing up in rural England, I certainly didn’t live in interesting times, I felt we lived in the most boring place on Earth. In fact, I was quite certain of it until challenged by someone who was adamant that rural Ireland in the 1960s was significantly more boring. I suppose it is a …

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Sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter, 27th April 2014

"Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God'." John 20:28 There is an old Chinese saying, "May you live in interesting ...

Sermon for Easter 2014

"And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back ...

Sermon for Maundy Thursday 2014: Sensing the Passion – Sight (Fifth of Series of Five)

"Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for ...

Sermon for Wednesday in Holy Week 2014: Sensing the Passion – Hearing (Fourth of Series of Five)

"The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is ...

Sermon for Tuesday in Holy Week 2014: Sensing the Passion – Taste (Third of Series of Five)

"Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man ...

Sermon for Monday in Holy Week 2014: Sensing the Passion – Smell (Second of Series of Five)

"Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. ...

Sermon for Palm Sunday 2014: Sensing the Passion – Touch (First of Series of Five)

"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the ...

Lent Series 2014: Singing through Lent – Thine be the glory

"I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone ...

Sermon for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, 6th April 2014

"Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even ...

Lent Series 2014: Singing Through Lent – Amazing Grace

“His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this ...

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, 30th March 2014

"Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" John 9:2 Most of us will probably remember ...

Lent Series 2014: Singing through Lent—I heard the voice of Jesus say

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, ...

Personal Columns

Thirty years on

Memories of our first Easter weekend in the Republic come flooding back. In theological college, we were required to be present in college until after the Holy Communion at teatime on the Thursday, after which there was a general exodus. The trip to the North was a journey entirely without motorway; this was April 1984 and having a road without potholes was a bonus. Each town and village brought delays as literally thousands of people gathered at church for the Holy Thursday liturgy.

Good Friday was spent at home in Co …


We’re Luddites at heart

The Drugs Payment Scheme is undoubtedly a good idea: once a family has spent €144 on prescription medicines in the course of a month, further expenditure is covered by the government.  The scheme takes pressure off families at vulnerable moments and a Drugs Payment Scheme card is probably important in many households. In our household, it would be very rare for medicine expenses to approach the scheme’s monthly threshold and the card seemed not so important, nevertheless, when our card expired last year, the pharmacist urged we apply for a new one. After submitting …


On facing death

Silly ideas come into the head sometimes, absurd ones, like, couldn’t there be a moratorium on people dying? Couldn’t the world just stop at a certain point one day and just let there be some happiness? Couldn’t there be a time when no-one would be told that they had only weeks left, when there were no more funerals? Couldn’t there be a time when there was no more need to say, “Sorry for your trouble”.

Do you know what the most untrue line in fairy tale is?

It’s not the …


Dying confidently

Bill was old when I knew him: a lean, lithe individual leading a solitary, spartan existence.

He counted himself blessed, having fitness and reserves of energy far beyond many of his contemporaries. While some sat at their firesides in front of daytime television; while some drove to the shopping centre to be warm at the expense of someone else; while some talked of ailments and treatments; Bill would be covering miles beside loughshore and seashore on a bicycle as old as himself.

An old wooden caravan with tyreless iron wheels, unmoved from where it …

Cross Channel

Watching telly

On BBC2, Penelope Keith presents a retrospective on Morecambe and Wise; a survey of the history and quirkiness of one of television’s best known duos. There are moments of genius, moments of silliness, and moments that are, well, at the risk of speaking heresy, dull. Perhaps it was all about context, perhaps it was about an accumulation of humour that made scenes that might otherwise have been seen as plain and inane as a cause for laughter. Perhaps the skill of the programme was in the realisation that its viewers …


Monday is coming

Tired after a long day yesterday, BBC 4 seemed an appropriate choice of viewing. There might be some distraction from the world that was not a “reality” television, or a chat show with people who seemed famous for being famous, or a talent competition for singers who seemed disinclined to go their own way in the world. Distraction, there was: a documentary on Jimi Hendrix playing at the Woodstock festival in 1970.

Along with Brian Jones, Alan Wilson, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, Hendrix is a member of the so-called “27 club”, the group of …

Church of Ireland Comment

The traditional and the conservative lead us

Last Sunday afternoon there was one of those occasions that might have come from the pages of a Maeve Binchy novel – a happy moment in the life of a community where, judging by the need for overflow accommodation and the number standing at the back, the whole community must have been present: the re-dedication of a local Catholic Church after a year long closure for refurbishment. The building had been transformed, including new stained glass windows and a copper roof on the spire, and a parish was celebrating.

Go …

Monologues etc


Twenty monologues on the life of Jesus.

The Shepherds

The Magi





John the Baptist


The Woman at the Well







Claudia Procula

The Centurion

Joseph of Arimathea

Mary Magdalene


The monologues were recorded by Commission Christian Radio and broadcast on Downtown Radio in Northern Ireland.

Notice Board

Holy Week & Easter Services

Holy Week Services

Our services begin on Palm Sunday, 13th April and run through until Good Friday, 18th April. This Holy Week our theme is “sensing the story”, we look at how the those momentous events in Jerusalem were experienced through the five senses of those who were there. Our services will be as follows:

Palm Sunday 7 pm Seir Kieran – Touch
Monday 8 pm Roskelton – Smell
Tuesday 8 pm Annatrim – Taste
Wednesday 8 pm Borris in Ossory – Hearing
Maundy Thursday 8 pm Mountrath – Sight…

Pop thinking

Snake-oil and quackery

The Scaffold, the group that included Paul McCartney’s brother, Peter, and Roger McGough, who would become one of England’s leading poets, recorded Lily the Pink, a comedy song which would reach Number One in the charts at Christmas 1968. It captured the imagination of an eight year old listening  to the radio at that distant Christmas time and almost five decades later it seems one of the most sensible songs ever written. The refrain goes:

We’ll drink a drink, a drink ,
To Lily the Pink, the Pink,