A kind telling of history

    South of the Co Laois village of Ballinakill, just over the Co Kilkenny border, there is a memorial plaque on a pier of a roadside gateway. Easily missed when paying attention to the narrow road ahead, it is worth finding a safe place to stop so as to walk back and read the inscription.

    Site of the great anti-tithe rent meeting

    On Sunday, 10th June 1838 at 2 pm, a public demonstration
    was held here at Ladywell Farm against the tithe rents.
    These high rents caused much hardship and created a…

    [continue reading...]

Sermons

Sermon for Sunday, 26th July 2015 (Trinity 8/Pentecost 9)

" . . . as much as they wanted". John 6:11 The letters of the word "loaf" give us the initial letters ...

Summer sermon series, 2015 – What’s it all about? 3. What are our buildings for?

" . . . the place on which you are standing is holy ground" Exodus 3:5 What are our buildings for? ...

Sermon for Sunday, 19th July 2015 (Trinity 7/Pentecost 8)

" . . . and all who touched it were healed" Mark 6:56 The verses we read from Saint Mark Chapter ...

Summer sermon series, 2015 – What’s it all about? 2. Who runs our church?

"I have become all things to all people, so that I might by any means save some." 1 Corinthians 9:22 "All things ...

Sermon for the Centenary of Castletown ICA

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Matthew 16:26 Lucy ...

Sermon for Sunday, 12th July 2015 (Trinity 6/Pentecost 7)

"For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man" Mark 6:20 We read the Gospel passage from ...

Summer sermon series, 2015 – What’s it all about? 1. What shapes our faith?

"We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine" Ephesians 4:14 Two ...

Sermon for Sunday, 5th July 2015 (Trinity 5/Pentecost 6)

"So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent". Mark 6:12 Return, reject, refuse and reject are four words that ...

Sermon for Saint Peter’s Day, 2015

"Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men". Luke 5:10 The life of the fisherman grows ever harder and more ...

Sermon for Sunday, 28th June 2015 (Trinity 4/Pentecost 5)

"They were overcome with amazement" Mark 5:42 "Holding out for a hero", went the words of a pop song from thirty ...

Sermon for Sunday, 21st June 2015 (Trinity 3/Pentecost 4)

"Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" Mark 4:41 We can think of the Gospel ...

Sermon for Sunday, 14th June 2015 (Pentecost 3/Trinity 2)

"The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground" Mark 4:26 It is a little early ...

Personal Columns

Mystery heroines

There are frustrating moments watching some detective programmes, even in more recent times, women are often treated as frail and silly creatures. The classic crime melodrama finds the heroine in a ghostly deserted house on a dark night; the floorboards creak and the curtains billow in the wind. The heroine is always be dressed in some daft outfit, completely inappropriate for climbing through briars and searching darkened, empty buildings. The stiletto heels either go through the rotten boards on the landing floor, or cause the heroine to stumble and fall as she seeks to …

Ireland

A kind telling of history

South of the Co Laois village of Ballinakill, just over the Co Kilkenny border, there is a memorial plaque on a pier of a roadside gateway. Easily missed when paying attention to the narrow road ahead, it is worth finding a safe place to stop so as to walk back and read the inscription.

Site of the great anti-tithe rent meeting

On Sunday, 10th June 1838 at 2 pm, a public demonstration
was held here at Ladywell Farm against the tithe rents.
These high rents caused much hardship and created a…

Spirituality

Mary Magdalene wasn’t Jesus’ wife

22nd July and the day of Mary Magdalene; for centuries the church conflated two separate incidents to suggest Mary was a “sinful woman”, a prostitute, and in modern times people try to suggest she was Jesus’ wife.

If she was, why didn’t the opponents of the early Church say the Christian stuff was all nonsense? “Sure, don’t be believing all that stuff, doesn’t he live down the street there with his wife and kids!”

If she was, how did Peter became the leader of the Jesus movement? Look at what happens when the …

Ministry

Flawed ministry

Twenty-six years ago, 27th June was a Tuesday. It was my first day as a rector of a parish.

One of the problems of being in a parish of ninety families with the same people being in church fifty-two Sundays of the year, as many of them were, was finding something fresh to say every Sunday. On one hand there was a danger of being bland and saying nothing, on the other there was the danger that, if one said anything challenging or provoking, someone would take offence and there would be …

Cross Channel

No, the past was not happier

Nostalgia was big in the 1960s and 1970s, people would talk about how little they had when they were young and how well they had coped and how happy they all were in the 1930s and the 1940s. To have suggested that the times seemed anything other than miserable would have invited accusations of knowing nothing about it. It took a parody song by the radio presenter Tony Capstick to provide a card with which to trump those who were nostalgic for the years of the Great Depression and the worst …

International

Living memories

Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mystery “The Pale Horse” was shown on ITV 3. The tale opens with Jane Marple receiving a letter postmarked London W2, from Father Gorman, a parish priest in Paddington. When asked about her friendship with Father Gorman, Miss Marple remembers times when she had been an army nurse during the Great War and Father Gorman had been chaplain with the South Irish Horse. It was an unexpected reference. The South Irish Horse was a real army regiment. One of their members had been Second Lieutenant Martin Jestin …

Church of Ireland Comment

Silly bishops

In Left-wing circles in college days in London there was a story that, in 1917, the Russian bishops were discussing the colours to be used in the celebration of Easter when the revolutionaries burst through the doors. The story probably had not a shred of historical truth, but it encapsulated people’s  attitude towards the church, that there was a revolution at the door and the church was concerned only with its own liturgical arrangements; that it was irrelevant.

Whether there is any basis in truth for the story of 1917, …

Writing

Redrafting the past

It was the music that made him realize that he had to do something and, when he thought about it, it really wasn’t nearly as complicated as he might have imagined. It was really quite simple.

Sitting on a District Line train, he stared up at the map showing the route, stretching eastward and westward from central London. He had no need to do so, he could have recited the stops on his journey without hesitation – sixteen of them, sixteen going in, sixteen coming out. He had an affection for the District …

Notice Board

Rector’s Letter – Summer 2015

When we moved from the North in 1999 to live in Dublin, one of the most useful words I learned was “bockety”. It was a slang word from “bocht”, the Irish word for “poor”, but it expressed something much more. A bridge could be bockety, a building could be bockety, a car could be bockety, perhaps even people could be bockety.

It was a word that suggested that something was worn out, that it might break down. There was a skill in keeping going something that was bockety. It would …

Pop thinking

Fickle women

“I don’t have a girlfriend because I have no money”, said the young man interviewed by Joanna Lumley on her Trans-Siberian journey television series, “no money, no honey”. There is a surplus of 33 million males in China, without wealth they have little prospect of ever marrying. The experience of the young man is the experience of countless men.

The Sparks duo, Russell and Ron Mael were playing their selection of music on BBC Radio 6 this afternoon, their playlist included Ben E. King singing Leiber and Stoller’s “I who …