Rector’s Letter – September 2016

    When training for ministry thirty years ago, there was no part of the course that taught us about planning for the future; the church had come through generations without much change and it was assumed that things would continue as they had been for years to come. It was our task to keep things going, to keep an eye on things and deal with any problems that might arise. In 1986, when I was ordained, no-one could have imagined the Ireland that we now have. One of the things we must …

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Sermons

Summer sermon series, 2016: Songs from the heart – When I survey the wondrous Cross

"May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been ...

Sermon for Sunday, 21st August 2016 (Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity/Ordinary 21)

"the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing." Luke 13:17 Five words beginning with "S" in ...

Summer sermon series, 2016: Songs from the Heart – What a friend we have in Jesus

"we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." Hebrews 4:15 When I was a ...

Sermon for Sunday, 14th August 2016 (Twelfth Sunday after Trinity/Ordinary 20)

"I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" Luke 12:49 The word "fire" ...

Summer sermon series, 2016: Songs from the Heart – 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 Sunday, 7th August 2016 (Eleventh Sunday after Trinity/Ordinary 19)

"You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour." Luke 12:40 Listening to Jesus' ...

Summer sermon series, 2016: Songs from the Heart: Nearer, my God, to thee

"How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of ...

Sermon for Sunday, 31st July 2016 (Tenth Sunday after Trinity/Ordinary 18)

"So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God." Luke 12:21 There are ...

Summer sermon series, 2016: Songs from the Heart – How great thou art

"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp ...

Sermon for Sunday, 24th July 2016 (Ninth Sunday after Trinity/Ordinary 17)

"Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened ...

Summer sermon series, 2016: Songs from the heart – Be still, my soul

"The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?" Psalm 118:6 "Be still, my ...

Sermon for Sunday, 17th July 2016 (Eighth Sunday after Trinity/Ordinary 16)

"Mary has chosen the better part" Luke 10:42 As we read the few verses that describe the visit of Jesus to ...

Personal Columns

Rugby reverie

Watching Leinster play at Tallaght Stadium was a new experience. Of course, rugby is played on the west side of Dublin, but it’s not often that a team customarily found in Dublin 4 appears at a ground which is home to Shamrock Rovers soccer team. The Leinster Rugby website reported that there were 1,866 people in the crowd. Perhaps it was easier to drive in from Co Laois than to travel from south Co Dublin. It was a pre-season friendly against the English side Gloucester and far from the most …

Ireland

Difficult centenaries

At the Béal na Bláth commemoration of the death of Michael Collins, President Michael D. Higgins warned listeners that approaching centenaries would not be easy,

“When the time comes, very soon, to commemorate those events of the early 1920s, we will need to display courage and honesty as we seek to speak the truth of the period, and in recognising that, during the War of Independence, and particularly during the Civil War, no single side had the monopoly of either atrocity or virtue.”

Acknowledging the truth of the period will demand not …

Spirituality

Ministerial aspirations

Canon Jim Hartin, the gently unworldly priest who presided over the training of Church of Ireland clergy in the 1980s would wave his finger in rebuke at sharp comments.  “Cynicism is the enemy of spirituality”, he would say, “become a cynic and you have nothing to offer anyone”.

Envy is the mother of cynicism; the muttering about people who tried things that were new or different, or, even worse, who succeeded at anything that was new or different, was always loudest amongst those who had never tried anything and disliked …

Ministry

Incoherent images

The armchairs were arranged in a semi-circle centred upon a large screen television on the wall. The hospital now provides only respite care so there are frequently empty chairs in the day room. It was not hard to find a chair to sit next to her. Conversation now is one-sided, sometimes there is a smile in response, sometimes words hang in empty space.

Quickly exhausting what might be said, I turned to look at the television. The volume was turned low and the screen was filled with advertisements. There was …

Cross Channel

The long road to Brexit

The long road to Brexit began on 12th May 1994, the day that John Smith, the leader of the British Labour Party, died from a heart attack. The grammar school educated, Scottish Presbyterian, Queen’s Counsel was a man of integrity, respected as much by his opponents as by his own party. The Labour Party had lost four successive general elections, but had slowly rebuilt its support after the nadir of 1983. A week before Smith’s death, the Labour Party had enjoyed great success in local government elections, the governing Conservative …

International

It’s odd what survives

Maigret on television and a pack of headlight beam deflectors lying at the foot of the stairs. The annual holidays approach and with them memories of a France past.

The beam deflectors were not sufficient in times past, one was required to have yellow headlights and beam blockers. Preparations for driving on the continent required buying a kit which included soft black adhesive-backed plastic, out of which triangles were to be cut and stuck to the headlight glass to block the beams of right hand drive cars, which otherwise shone …

Church of Ireland Comment

What happened to the clergyman?

On the wall of Saint Andrew’s Church in the Co Laois town of Rathdowney, there is a memorial tablet to a former incumbent. Such memorials to rectors are common, but a memorial to a rector who died in the Pyrenees must be something unique. The tablet gives no information regarding the circumstances of the unfortunate Mr Bredin’s death:

ERECTED
BY HIS WIFE TO THE BELOVED
MEMORY OF
THE REV EDWIN BREDIN A.B.
RECTOR OF THIS PARISH
AND FORMERLY CURATE
1865-1879
HE DIED 21ST JUNE 1879
AT CAUTERETS HAUTES PYRENEES
AGED 45 YEARS…

Writing

The Passenger

Reaching for his phone, he switched off the alarm. It surely could not be seven already. A friend’s birthday the previous day had meant a night out and a late return, maybe it had been after three. Those with Monday to Friday jobs could now sleep until lunchtime; he needed to be in work by half past eight.

Going to the kitchen, he met his mother, already busy with the day’s tasks. A stern look told him that it was wiser not to complain about the pounding in his head …

Notice Board

Rector’s Letter – September 2016

When training for ministry thirty years ago, there was no part of the course that taught us about planning for the future; the church had come through generations without much change and it was assumed that things would continue as they had been for years to come. It was our task to keep things going, to keep an eye on things and deal with any problems that might arise. In 1986, when I was ordained, no-one could have imagined the Ireland that we now have. One of the things we must …

Pop thinking

The forgotten

Social media can be like village gossip, stories from the past that have been long forgotten can be suddenly revived and presented as new; so it is that a February 2015 report has been circulating on Facebook this week. Sylvester Stewart, better known as “Sly Stone” from the music group “Sly and the Family Stone” had been awarded $5 million in unpaid royalties. The report said that Stewart had, as a matter of choice, been living in a camper van in recent years.

The Facebook post did not carry the links one …