Church Review Notes – January 2013

Sunday Services
10.00 Eucharist, St Audoen, Cornmarket (free parking, Francis Street, on Sundays).
11.30 Eucharist, St Catherine & St James, Donore Avenue (Service of the Word Second and Fourth Sundays), and Sunday School, in term time.

Sunday 6 January
10.00 Eucharist St Audoen, 11.30 Eucharist St Catherine & St James Donore Avenue. 17.00 St Audoen’s Carol Service. This will be a combined service for both Churches.

The Festive Season
The Church’s calendar and the secular calendar take very different directions in the weeks before Christmas. In order to bring the two closer together, a certain amount of decoration has been introduced into the Parish Churches, spreading along the window sills, although it has been our custom for many years to have no flowers in Lent or in Advent. We have given ourselves permission to vary the tradition, consulting modern resources such as ‘The Promise of His Glory – for the Season from All Saints (1 Nov) to Candlemas (2 Feb)’ and more recent materials. Holly and ivy grace the Advent wreath, and a series of Carol Services have taken place. Thanks to all who prepared the Churches, the services, the participating children, readers, singers and musicians. The hospitality provided by volunteers has been greatly enjoyed by all. It’s great to find the newly independent Parish so full of life.

South India and Estonia
The Church of South India, a member Church (like the Church of Ireland) of the Anglican Communion, met for a Carol Service some time before Christmas. About seventy people, mostly young parents with little children, also enjoyed Christmas Dinner of savoury rice, spicy chicken and raita. The Service was conducted by one of their clergy from Belfast, and the preacher was one of the clergy of the Church of Mar Thoma (the Lord Thomas). St Thomas the Apostle is to Indian Christians what St Patrick is to Ireland.

An Estonian Lutheran Deacon is an assistant at Christ Church Cathedral. He conducted their Carol Service, not in the challenging chill of St Audoen’s, although more central, but in the warm and bright Church of St Catherine & St James, which looks so well in last December’s Review. An Estonian Sunday School has been established in a School in Palmerstown where there is an Estonian teacher. The Sunday School and the Estonian Service are held on the same day, and parents from all arts and parts bring their children, and after Sunday School come to the Church Service. Their Church is derived from the Lutheran Reformation, and their relationship with the Anglican Communion is through the Porvoo Agreement of 1996.

Scouting Ireland
The Rector was surprised and delighted to meet representatives of the Scout group in the vicinity of Donore Ave, apparently one of the most successful in the city centre. Originally attached to St Teresa’s Donore Avenue, they now wish to forge links with the Parish and people of the Church of St Catherine and St James. The Parish School stands between both Churches, and many pupils of the School attend the Scouts.

Since Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade have died out in this Parish, I have welcomed this offer from the leaders of the Scouts. Scouting Ireland is the result of the recent amalgamation of Catholic and Protestant branches of Scouting for Boys. For some years now, the Scouts have included male and female equally among their members and leaders, and membership is about half-and-half boys and girls.

 ‘It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness’.
A ‘Peace Light’ was kindled by Arab and Israeli Scouts in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and carried to Europe, the light spreading ever wider and wider until it reached us. The Scouts brought the light to the Church of St Catherine and St James on Sunday 23 December, and attended the 11.30 Service. They moved on then to do as they have traditionally done, and brought the light to St Teresa’s Church for 12.30.

This has been a very welcome development in the life of the Parish. Our over-arching ecumenical commitment to each other as Churches, is in principle, not to do separately the things which we can do together.

St James’ Churchyard
The Parish Priest of St James’ Church, James’ St, Fr John Collins, tells me that he regularly and frequently receives queries about the Church of Ireland burial ground across the street, behind the now sadly semi-derelict former Church of St James, for many years, ‘Lighting World’. The ancient Churchyard was used for centuries by local people of every denomination. The following correspondence tells its own story, with a happy ending. Clare McCutcheon writes to the Rector and to Andrew Whiteside, Archivist of St Patrick’s Hospital.

‘Thank you both for your assistance in tracing the burial place of my grandfather’s grandmother. I found the Dublin Council website for St James’ Churchyard and the information on the FAS scheme was right there – put up in 2010!

It turns out that Harriet had a headstone of her own and I went with a cousin, her husband and a friend, courtesy of Bernard Brady of the Parks Department. He tells me that he has similar requests every couple of months. While the graveyard is somewhat overgrown, it’s very accessible behind the locked gates and there is a finished pathway partway down. The headstone is quite large and I suspect it may have been put up some time later by her two remaining sons.

It’s a very interesting space as it drops down the hill from the church and is enclosed in redbrick walled garden-style walls. We read Compline at the grave and it was very moving indeed. Best regards, Clare.’