Spring Newsletter 2021
Gift Day On behalf of the select Vestry I would like to thank everybody who really stood up to the plate and gave so generously to our Gift Day last November, the response was amazing and the sum of €18030 was raised. A heart felt ‘thank you’ to all who donated. As we face into our second year of the pandemic we appeal to all parishioners to try and continue giving their weekly donations. If you normally donate by envelope but have yet to collect your box please call myself on 086 803 0239, the parish office 462 6006 to arrange.
If you would like to give either online or to arrange a standing order our bank details are: Bank of Ireland, Tallaght Village Account Name: Tallaght Parish Church IBAN: IE23BOI90134370091470 BIC: BOIIE2D. Donations accepted by post or dropped to the parish office 462 6006.
Please keep in mind that we have been unable to have any of our usual fundraisers like our Christmas Sing along and Summer Sale and we have had no community rental income from our halls so our financial crisis will continue into the foreseeable future. We had a shortfall of almost €15000 in 2020 and unfortunately this year has got off to a bad start. Please support your parish in order that there will be an open church in Tallaght for continuing worship into the future.
Easter Vestry We have been instructed by the Dioceses that an Easter Vestry must take place so we are having our Easter Vestry via Zoom on Wednesday 21st April. To access the meeting please contact the Rector on 086 803 0239. Please join the meeting and see how your parish is doing, all input is welcome.
From the Rector I have finally mastered how to be in two places at one time! In my role as a Canon to Christchurch Cathedral I was due to preach on 7th February. Thankfully the Cathedral were gracious enough to accept a recording of my sermon so that I was able to take our own Sunday service on Facebook live here in St. Maelruain’s at the same time.
The Tallaght Person of the Year awards were unable to be held this year due to Covid but it was touching that Amy and Lionel were both proposed for Certificates of Appreciation, Amy for singing and playing the ukulele for online services and Lionel for filming and streaming our services on Facebook live along with updating our FB page with posters and icons to represent the theme of each service as Facebook have lost the service titles on the main index.
Christmas Day was our last service with a congregation after opening for just a few short weeks in between lockdowns before we were back to services only on Facebook live. There are now over one hundred and ten services which can be viewed on Facebook or on our Parish Website as we continued with live streaming so that our vulnerable parishioners and our immigrant parishioners could continue watching church. You can still ‘attend church’ virtually with all services broadcast live on Facebook or can be viewed via our parish website www.stmaelruains.ie if you are not on Facebook.
Our Taize Style Vine Service, currently online, with two churches in West Tallaght, Jobstown and Fettercairn along with the Priory beside us in Tallaght Village are held every Saturday evening on a rotating basis between the four Churches. As it happens St. Maelruain’s turn falls on the fourth Saturday of every month and in January fell on 24th which happened to be the end of The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. As it was ‘The conversion of St. Paul’ that weekend I decided to use that theme for our Taize service. As a Pharisee Paul had been so certain he was right about God but after his experience on the road to Damascus he was stopped in his tracks and committed to spreading the word of Jesus as the Messiah to Jew and Gentile alike.
Also during Christian Unity week I took part in an applied Leaving Certificate religion class, which I normally do in person, in Mount Seskin Community School, Jobstown, on video call. I have a longstanding relationship with the school chaplain Paddy Doyle especially during Christian Unity Week. The class was looking at how COVID has affected religious organisations. I spoke of how many services we had on Facebook and the challenges that come with videoing services live. I reiterated that we only had a congregation in the church on fourteen occasions for over a year so I don’t know how one is meant to survive financially.
In the past during Lent we used the Bible Association of the Church of Ireland’s (BACI) Lenten courses which I always found very good, created by Canon Ginnie Kinnerley, to whom I feel indebted to for Lenten courses that focused on a five week course for mid week use, I also liked the fact it was Irish and dealt with
issues relevant to us here in Ireland, for example in the run up to the marriage referendum. BACI has now merged with the Hibernian Bible Society so there wasn’t time this year for the Bible Society to come up with an Irish course but they secured a course on mental health using the well known characters of the Bible. I feel that people have had a very difficult start to the year with the delay in roll out of the vaccines, I didn’t ever think I’d be saying being too young was a disadvantage! The realisation that even with the vaccine, the public health advice of ‘wear a mask, keep you distance, wash you hands and reduce your contacts’ will continue well into the foreseeable future. I feel as a result, some people’s mental health is under pressure despite the lengthening evenings. The course we used 'Lifting the Lid' which explored Scripture through the lens of mental well-being tells us one in four people will experience a diagnosable mental health issue in normal circumstances in their life time and that there are serious ramifications for opening up about it, be it in work or in social situations therefore people suffer in silence. I hope the course was of benefit especially to those suffering with mental health issues, for those who are supporting their loved ones and in making the rest of us more aware.
14th March saw Mothering Sunday and it occurred to me that we are now into second year of annual services in the pandemic, St. Patrick’s day last year being the first of our Facebook live services. We now have more than one hundred services on Facebook, all of which can still be viewed.
On Saturday 20th I was invited by CAPRO an African Lay Ministry group to speak to their on line monthly Zoom prayer group on encouragement in these days of waiting to receive the vaccine.
It was Palm Sunday on 28th March and my videographer arranged Pampas grass in place of palm leaves and it was very effective. The Bible readings for Holy Week period are the same every year and as I compared last year’s Monday in Holy Week video I noted when looking at the reading of Judas complaining about Martha anointing Jesus’ feet in expensive perfume instead of selling it and giving to the poor that Jesus responded by saying that the poor will always be with you but I will not always be here. Last year this reading made me ask about our housing crisis and that perhaps the predicted ‘great Covid correction’ and the government rent freeze might help reduce the cost of housing, a year on and how wrong could I have been!
I was grateful to the Taize Vine group who promoted our online services for each day of Holy Week. They had a Camino style walk around Tallaght on the Monday afternoon of Holy Week and we had the church open (literally with all doors wide open, on what was a very windy day, for ventilation) for private prayer. I was able to take the opportunity to talk about the building and the Church of Ireland in general. It was nice to be able to have the time to talk about the church to the visitors as I wouldn’t like to interrupt the conversation during their cup of tea after our fourth Saturday of the month Vine Service.
Before Easter Sunday I sent a whatsap video of the little Scottish girl that’s been doing the rounds questioning the use of Chocolate at times of celebration especially Easter and whether Jesus liked Chocolate or not! She wondered what was it all about but had the cuteness to realise that bunnies don’t lay eggs and the contradictions of being allowed chocolate in excess on special occasions while it was a cause of obesity! This little vignette of a preschooler’s confusion of Easter and her dad’s lack of answers gave me ‘food for thought’ for my sermon on Easter Sunday as I explained the Easter egg represents the empty tomb and also represents new life. I went on to say that when Mary Magdalene visited the tomb she was not expecting a physical resurrection and hence mistakes Jesus for the gardener.
God bless William
Funerals On Saturday 19th December the funeral and burial of Eileen Whitten took place in the graveyard of St. Maelruain’s. Eileen and Stuart were founding members of our Bowls Club so members of the club formed a ‘Guard of Honour’ for Eileen while keeping social distancing in place. Our sincere condolences to Eileen’s daughter Lynn, son-in-law Joe, grandchildren Jonathan, Philip and Christopher, family and friends.
The funeral of Arthur Blennerhassett took place in St. Maelruain’s on Thursday 11th February. Arthur was one of our oldest and long standing parishioners and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Our deepest condolences go to his wife Hyacinth, to his children Walter, Leslie, Kathleen and Alan and to his wider circle of family and friends.
The funeral of our Nigerian parish reader Victoria Oyinade Osigbade-Osho took place in St. Maelruain’s on Thursday 25th February. We extend our deepest sympathy to her husband Samuel Sr., to her sons Samuel Jr. and Solomon and to her extended family and friends. She was taken from us all too young.