Rev. Judith Hubbard-Jones
The Rev. Judith finished her ministry among the good people of Kinneigh Union with a flourish. Friday 12th January saw the dedication of the extension of Desertserges National School whilst on her final service the following Sunday in St. Mary's, Desertserges the restored tower of the church was rededicated. On both occasions the Bishop was present to bless the work and its future use and to officially declare open the school extension. The work on the tower was extensive and the result of dedicated fund raising over a long period. In addition to repointing the stonework the tower roof was replaced and an internal ladder installed. The funds raised also allowed tar macadam to be laid around the church. Many thanks indeed to all who organised fund raising and/or subscribed to the cost of this work. A particular thank you to Graham and Marjorie Garland who put so much into both projects.
Following the service in St. Mary's a reception was held in St. Paul's Parish centre at which farewells were said to the Rev. Judith and presentations made in gratitude for her 6 years of ministry.
The occasion of the Rev. Judith's institution at Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire took place on 2nd February. A contingent of intrepid souls made to journey from Kinneigh Union to support her and to hand her over to the care of her new Parish. She has written from there, Rev. Judith thanks all those who wished her well for her new appointment in Gloucestershire. The cheque will go to a special holiday and the photos of the churches and rectory in Kinneigh Union will have pride of place. Rev. Judith was so pleased to have a valiant contingent from Kinneigh Union at her Institution Service. This was held on one of the worst nights in England for sixteen years with snow and ice! Whereas very many locals had called to say they didn't feel brave enough to go out that evening, the Kinneigh Union group braved the elements safely and were congratulated for their fine effort! Well done!
It can be added that for one couple it was their first trip to England and their first flying experience!
A Parish vacancy can have positive benefits. At the end of the day any Parish is as good as its people, and times of vacancy very often draw out the best in parishioners as they make an extra effort to continue to support its life and plug some of the gaps that may occur when a Rector departs, as well as working to ensure it remains attractive to any potential new Rector. Special responsibility, of course focuses on those who have the task of seeking that new Rector and for this reason the Parish Nominators must be allowed to carry out their duty without being questioned about what is happening. They, in fact, sign a declaration, which, among other things, requires them to keep everything confidential, throughout and after the process. On the other hand we can, and should, pray for them and for the Bishop and the Diocesan Nominators who together make up the team that seeks to find the right person. The nominators from the Parish are Marjorie Garland, Stephen Buttimer, Rose Shorten and Frances Stanley. For my part, as Priest-in-Charge, I will be with you to do what I can for as long as it takes. I will endeavour to maintain the pattern you have been used to, but, of necessity, there will be times when some changes may have to be made and I would ask for your forbearance if this occurs.
Kinneigh Union is one of those few Unions that have two National Schools within their boundary, Desertserges and Ballymoney. After just a few visits I have been impressed by both the teachers and pupils at each school. Desertserges is in the news at present on account of its recent extension but Ballymoney continues to provide a vital service at the Western end of the parish.
In past years parishioners were always glad to receive a visit from their Rector if they found themselves in hospital. With changing protocols and confidentiality rules this may not always be possible in the future. This does not mean they will be left without the benefit of pastoral care as all our hospitals have appointed Chaplains and the Diocese is working towards ensuring those Chaplains have proper accreditation that meets the criteria demanded by the HSE. So if you find yourself in hospital do let it be known that you wish to see the Church of Ireland Chaplain, but please understand if your Rector is not also able to visit you. This in no way changes any domestic pastoral care arrangements.
St. Patrick's Day
Many years ago a former Dean of Cloyne, J. K. Ridley-Barker, headed his Diocesan Magazine notes with the arresting statement â€œThere is nothing more truly Irish than the Church of Irelandâ€ As we come to celebrate our Patron Saint we should reflect on this, for our Church can look back to Patrick for its foundation. Within this Union we have a church dedicated to Saint Patrick and I would hope that the numbers attending the 10.00 am Holy Communion at Farranthomas on 17th March will be as large as would attend at Christmas or Easter.