From the Rector
On 12th November we recorded the TUD Tallaght Campus’ Remembrance Service in the Church for deceased staff and students which it is held annually in our Church, I was asked to preach on the Beatitudes, the eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew.
We had our annual Gift Day in November and a partner of one of our parishioners suggested that I send the Gift Day letter to our local newspaper, the Echo. In order to catch the paper’s attention I thought I’d create an opportunity for a photograph and an article. In a letter to clergy the Archbishop suggested that Churches keep their lights on during Advent to remind people that their Church is still here but St. Maelruain’s is floodlit so we are visible to passersby year round especially in the long evenings of winter. The following is the article I submitted to the Echo.
“On Friday the 20th November the pubs were asked to "Keep their Lights On" to let the customers know they were still there if closed under Levels 3 to 5. Since last March I have been putting up posters like "While we may be Locked Down we are Virtually Open on Facebook live!" and I put up a poster on the weekend of the 20th that we in St Maelruain's were also "Trying to Keep the Lights On for the Holy
SPIRIT of Christmas" and hopefully beyond! It happened to be the same weekend when we had made an appeal to our few and all ready hard pressed parishioners for our annual Gift Day. Despite trying not to spend money we struggle every year and we were €8,000 short on a relatively small budget last year before Covid ever struck! Obviously it is many multiples of that figure this year.
We were only allowed open for eleven Sundays in seven months and were only permitted to seat twenty five people in a triple height building with the doors open and with a capacity for one hundred and fifty so not many got the opportunity to contribute.
As clergy don't qualify for any financial help from the government the Hospitality Sector might not realise that they are actually better off than us!
Fortunately my son who studies Creative Digital Media in the College across the road not only filmed our 8,500 viewed tour of the Church, Tower and Graveyard but the sixty four Facebook live services since St. Patrick's Day at which my daughter sing the hymns to her own Ukulele cords. Just as well as a dental nurse she is used to wearing a mask as she had to sing with one when people were allowed attend for the eleven weeks.
I don't know how a minority is meant to maintain the historic heart of Tallaght even in normal times never mind when the doors of the church have only been open for eleven weeks and our halls have been closed for hire. We have contributed to the community in many ways not least by hosting fund raising concerts for various charities and in welcoming the ‘New Irish’ by hosting the Refugee Drop In Centre for 10 years until they outgrew us in more recent times. The wider community in turn has always been very supportive by using our halls and attending our different fundraisers like our Spring Concert, Summer Sale, Christmas Sing Along, Harvest and Carol Services none of which we been able to have this year.
While recognising that we are all trying to keep the numbers down to prevent our local hospital from being overwhelmed and to protect our senior citizens I noted it was the older members of the congregation who really appreciated the eleven Sundays we were allowed open as it was one of the few places that they actually felt safe. Not only was it good, I hope for their spiritual health, but also for their mental health as it was one of the few occasions that they could meet somebody else that week, granted afterwards with a mask and outside!”
We were finally back in church with a congregation, after sixty six services on Facebook live, on 2nd December with our First Wednesday of the Month Holy Communion service with Prayers for the Sick and subsequent Sundays.
In this first Church Review magazine for 2021 I pray that at some stage in this new year our lives will have returned to some sort of normality with our health intact and I hope the doors of our Church remain open.
God bless William
|Christmas Tree now a Cross for when we return to 8.30 in the Small Hall|