Page 55 - Church Review JUNE 2020 [IM)
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Rev. Stephen Neill: Tel. (01)628 8231 Mobile 087 232 8172 Email:
Readers: Mrs. Jackie Taylor Tel. (01) 628 8129
The Revd. Nigel Waugh: Tel. 2874515
Assisting Clergy: The Revd. Harry Lew. Tel. 087 628 8049 Email:
Review Distributor: Peter Harrison Tel. 287 4270 Sunday services: 8.30am, 10.30am, 7pm.
Life goes on under the restrictions imposed upon us by the corona virus. The pace is slightly slower. Time is given to emails, phone calls, recording and editing that would otherwise be spent on the road or at meetings of one sort or another.
I am grateful to those who volunteer to help with the online services by reading lessons, recording prayers or singing in the depleted, socially-distancing choir. As many other parishes have found, people appreciate the familiar services and the familiar surroundings of church and take comfort in the prayers and worship.
The church bells ring out on Sunday mornings as a sign of hope and judging by the number of local people who have commented, this is much appreciated in the area by parishioners and neighbours alike.
Again, we have found that the number of people connecting with the online services greatly exceeds the number that might attend in person if the churches were open. Much food for thought there.
One downside to editing the services each week is that I can see exactly how long I preach for. Always seems shorter to me – perhaps it seems longer to you!
Those on the parish email list will receive reminders of the services on Youtube. They may also subscribe to be sure they do not miss out.
Others can watch the services on the parish Facebook page.
We send our prayerful sympathy to Mairead O’Connor on the death of her father and to Richard Beck whose father died in England. Local funerals have to be limited in numbers but when relatives die overseas it is not possible to attend the funeral at all. This is particularly hard on those who are grieving.
A number of parishioners have been in and out of hospital and, of course, it is not possible to visit them in the current circumstances but we continue to pray for their welfare.
We live in hope that this is a temporary state of affairs. I pray that you will keep safe and well in the month ahead.
The beauty of the countryside contrasts with the gloom of the virus
Rector: Archdeacon Neal O’Raw
Lay Minister: Ernest Mackey
Diocesan Reader: Mrs Myra Moody
Parish Readers: Myra Moody, Edward Allen, Jon Kirby
Mrs. Cynthia Lang
Mr Geoffrey McMaster Mr Brendan Sheahan
Tel. 086 265 0742 Tel. 086 606 2910 Tel. 085 764 6699
 Review Distributers: Elizabeth Burbridge (Newcastle); Debbie Kelly (Straffan).
Service Times: (Sundays) Newcastle 9.00am, Straffan 10.15am, Celbridge 11.30, (Wednesdays)10.00am Celbridge.
As is the case everywhere these days the community life of the parish has moved online. Our weekly services continue on YouTube and as I write preparations are in place for a Zoom Coffee morning after our morning worship on next Sunday 17th May. Our parish WhatsApp group remains very active as a meeting point for many of the parishioners. Last Sunday (10th May) we had an online colouring competition which was linked into an all age service from Straffan Church with video contributions from throughout the parish.
A parish quiz is among the online activities planned for the immediate future and no doubt other initiatives will be forthcoming.
We do however look forward to the relaxation (if possible) of the current restrictions, especially for those who are separated from loved ones or those in hospital or nursing homes at this time. For them this has been an especially trying time.
I know from talking to parishioners that many are spending their time in arts and crafts activities – I can testify personally that my wife has knitted more since the lockdown than she has throughout the entirety of our marriage – I may yet get that long promised Arran jumper!
Our thoughts are with our younger people too and for our Primary school aged pupils the difficulty of the sudden and unexpected end of their primary education without the chance to say goodbye to friends, teachers and school staff. And while our Leaving Certificate students may be relieved that they will not have to face exams we are aware of the difficulties that may lie ahead in providing fair assessment.
These are uncertain times and our prayers are with all those who are anxious and worried at this time.
As a rector (and I am sure my experience is not unique) I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank my own parishioners for their support to me and my family throughout this difficult time – Ministry is a two way street and we will get through this together and with God’s help.
I finish with a poem by Wendell Berry which for me is a great comfort and encouragement:
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
       No notes this month.

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