Losing voices on the radio

    Joe Taylor was on the radio tonight, playing what RTÉ describe as “(almost) everybody else within earshot,” opposite the monologue of Mulligan, the character played by John Kavanagh, in the play “Quarks, Quavers and a Pea in the Gods” by Austin Kenny and Shay Healy.

    Joe Taylor’s talent for playing multiple parts in a single performance became famous in the early 2000s when he would appear on the Vincent Browne programme and speak the words spoken by the great, and by the not so good, at that day’s hearings of the …

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Sermons

Sermon for Sunday, 25th September 2016 (Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity/Ordinary 26)

"If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from ...

Sermon for Sunday, 18th September 2016 (Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity/Ordinary 25)

"Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears!" Jeremiah 9: 1 On Wednesday evenings ...

Sermon for Sunday, 11th September 2016 (Trinity 16/Ordinary 24)

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.". Psalm 14:1 The opening words of this week's psalm are ...

Sermon for Sunday, 4th September 2016 (Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity/Ordinary 23)

"Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple" Luke 14:27 If we wanted a word from ...

Sermon for Sunday, 28th August 2016 (Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity/Ordinary 22)

"Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal." Luke 14:1 The word "meal" ...

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 ...

Personal Columns

Calling the wind

The view through the porthole was of a tranquil late-September evening. The forecast talked about after-effects of Tropical Storm Karl, but one would have had no sense of apprehension as the Pont Aven sailed from Roscoff. On a 41,000 ton vessel, how could one be worried about the wind, even if it did have a name?

Living on a road that led to a windmill, it was natural to expect that the wind would blow strongly. Sometimes it did, sometimes there were gales, but gales were not of much use …

Ireland

Losing voices on the radio

Joe Taylor was on the radio tonight, playing what RTÉ describe as “(almost) everybody else within earshot,” opposite the monologue of Mulligan, the character played by John Kavanagh, in the play “Quarks, Quavers and a Pea in the Gods” by Austin Kenny and Shay Healy.

Joe Taylor’s talent for playing multiple parts in a single performance became famous in the early 2000s when he would appear on the Vincent Browne programme and speak the words spoken by the great, and by the not so good, at that day’s hearings of the …

Spirituality

Predestined to be miserable?

During my brief sojourn in a parish where I was the worst incumbent in living memory some of the happiest moments were in the company of a Presbyterian colleague, an old hand who had come through the worst of the Troubles, he was possessed of a dry Ulster wit and an ability to find humour in unlikely situations. Sitting at the meeting of the local Protestant clergy one morning, he decided to bait one on the Methodist ministers, a man who was sensitive and for whom life was a very serious …

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

An unfair depiction

Living and working in the Irish Midlands can sometimes mean not being familiar with what is being thought, said and done elsewhere. Occasional visits to the News from Nowhere bookshop in Liverpool’s Broad Street have brought opportunities to buy books that might not readily be available in rural Ireland, but even then, it can be months before there is time to read them. So it is that last October, The Establishment: And how they get away with it by Owen Jones, was bought. The Penguin paperback edition was published in …

International

Life for most Yahoos hasn’t changed

Of course, I knew Gulliver’s Travels, who didn’t? Our teacher in primary school used to read to us the tales of Gulliver in the land of Lilliput, though reading it for myself today, I realise that the version read to us must have been much edited, Swift’s more earthy references would have been kept from young ears (however, being country children, we would have probably have take delight that someone so polite could have made spoken as might adults in our own community).

Gulliver’s Travels for me was the story …

Church of Ireland Comment

Being true to itself, it dies

Eureka moments come along sometimes, not noticing one has displaced the bath water, or whatever it was that the Greek man did, but moments when one realizes that one has been getting things completely the wrong way around.

Preparing a paper for a symposium next month, in which there is an attempt to apply an approach derived from systems theory to the church there is a realisation that the system is becoming dysfunctional for reasons that are the very opposite of the ones imagined.

If the church has values that are …

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, October 2016

Sometimes things can take a lot less time than you think.

The Church of Ireland allows clergy to take sabbatical leave from time to time, periods away from the parish to allow opportunity for reading, study and thinking. The guideline is that sabbatical leave of three months might be granted every seven years. Having completed thirty years of parish ministry last June and never having taken a sabbatical break, I thought about taking one this last summer. We never know how things will turn out and, in retrospect, it was …

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 …