The vacancy continues. We wait, we pray and we give the Nominators space to do their work. In the meantime the prime function of the Church, which is the worship of God, continues. A little extra is called from each of us, and forbearance if some things have to be put on hold.
Rural Dean's Inspection and Vacancy Commission Inspection
All four churches and the three parish halls were examined on 12th March by the Rural Dean, Canon Patrick Hewitt, assisted by Ronald Shorten and the Diocesan Architect, Mr. William Brady, joined them in the inspection of the Rectory. In addition to surveying the fabric of these buildings, the various parish registers of births, marriage and deaths as well as the preachers' books were examined. And this year on account of the vacancy the church silver was included in the inspection. This is important work as it is results in an impartial report which very often brings to light hidden problems which might otherwise go unnoticed. We thank the inspection team and the Churchwardens and Glebe wardens who ensured each location was ready in advance.
Recently I had a telephone call from a most pleasant official in the Office of Public Works to say that they had in their care a bell that was taken from the 11th century Round Tower that adjoins St. Bartholomew's Church at Kinneigh, when that Tower was restored by them a few years ago. The bell was removed, as it was a much later inclusion, in fact only put there in 1856 when the present church was built on the site of an ancient monastery. There has been much speculation over the centuries as to the purpose of Round Towers. One of these interestingly enough is that part of their function was as a bell tower, so maybe our Victorian predecessors were not too far from the mark. No present member of the congregation remembers the bell being rung in their lifetime, but some recall being told it was used to summon worshippers in their grandparents' time, the bell ringer having to gain access by means of an external ladder. St. Bartholomew's has no tower to carry a bell so the OPW have generously offered to return it in a specially constructed wood frame for display in the church.
Ballmoney National School
Last month Desertserges N.S. was in the news on account of the blessing and official opening of its recent extension. This month we have a report from Ballymoney N. S. We were sad to say goodbye to the Rev. Judith in January. The pupils gave her a gift of some jewellery at her last assembly and we wish her every happiness in her new parish. The senior classroom is currently completing a six-week cycle safety course. The pupils are learning the rules of the road, how to brake properly, signalling, turning, etc. On the 9th February, the senior classroom went on a very interesting school tour to â€œThe Lifetime Labâ€ in Cork City. They spent the day doing a variety of experiments involving water and engineering. The highlight of the day was the science-based playground. According to the pupils it was the beat tour so far! On 10th February we had two heritage visitors to our school. Yvonne and Ciara O'Flynn taught us traditional Maori basket making skills. The pupils wove fish, insects and people out of briquette baling strings. It was a very enjoyable day.
St. Patrick's Day
By the time these notes appear we will have observed the Festival Day of Ireland's Patron Saint. It is now generally accepted that Patrick, the son of a Deacon and Grandson of a Priest, came from Wales. What is of recent discovery by scholars is that David, the Patron Saint of Wales, is more than likely to have come from southern Ireland. This raises the possibility of an early exchange of patron saints!
Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter
The most solemn period of the Church's observance of Christ's passion and death begins on the day that most people get their copies of this magazine, namely Palm Sunday. But the Hosannas die away as the story unfolds of betrayal, jealousy, false evidence and a mock trial leading to the cruel death of the one person whose message was that God loves us and that he wants us to love him. But the most extraordinary news is that death couldn't silence or stop the man Jesus. His return from death confirmed that he was who he claimed to be, the Son of God and the Saviour of humankind. And because he defeated death, he is alive now and is with us when we gather together in his name to remember him, to tell his story and to share his presence through bread and wine. Jesus did not try to anticipate Easter and nor should we. We can only truly rejoice on Easter Sunday when we have followed the slow painful journey of Holy Week. Services have been arranged for the early part of Holy Week in which we will be using forms of worship in our Prayer Book that may not otherwise be experienced. On Maundy Thursday we celebrate the Institution of the Last Supper followed by the stripping of the church in preparation for the solemn observance of Good Friday.
Holy Week Services (all at 8pm)
|Monday||Kilmeen||Evening Prayer (traditional form)|
|Wednesday||Kinneigh||The Litany and the Ten Commandments|
|Maundy Thursday||Desertserges||Holy Communion|
|Good Friday||Kinneigh||The Last Seven Words|
|Easter Day 10.00||Farranthomas||Holy Communion|
2nd Sunday of Easter
|(19th April)||10.30||Desertserges Holy Communion (United Service) followed immediately by the Easter General Vestry|
We continue our prayers for Valerie Jennings and Tommy Shorten giving thanks to God for their improving health. We also remember those from this Union of Parishes who are in the care of Nursing Homes – Jim Kingston, Ellen Richardson and Nesta McCullagh.