The Rector writes ’During the short time I was unwell recently I received many, many kindnesses. Revd Julia in our link parish of Perton sent me a lovely book of Poetry, which was written during the lockdown by Alex Wimberly of the Corrymeela Community. Here he is speaking about Spring from the context of emerging from a Pandemic.
God of bursting early bulbs,
God of links to last year’s growth:
stored within us
are lessons and corrections,
surprising revelations and
moments still taking on meaning.
As we open ourselves up
to a new spring,
may we display the colours
we’ve hidden inside;
and may the rooted life
we hold in our core
ground us well for all
Music Notes 13-02-2022
Hymns at St Mary’s
12 God moves in a mysterious way
384 Lord, thy word abideth
Rizza Calm me. Lord (sung during the distribution of Communion)
260 Christ is alive
Our final hymn today was written by Brian Wren (b. 1936). As a hymn writer Wren was particularly concerned with the language of our hymns.
He felt that hymns should be inclusive and that no member of the congregation should feel excluded because of gender, age, ethnicity, or faith. Wren says that we should sing to God in contemporary language and reflect current concerns of justice and peace. An appropriate writer to include on a day we are thinking about racial justice.
The Gallery Singers are one of the good things to come out of our Covid experience and we hope to have this group sing a Communion hymn on the Sundays we celebrate the Holy Eucharist. Feel free to get in touch if you would like to join us.
Bébhinn 087 228 5965
Random Notes CDXIII
Preserved at Mount Rivers, and one of which here illustrated, are two of the uppermost sections of the spire of St. Mary’s Church, Carrigaline, dating from its building in 1823. These two stones, formerly kept in the grounds of the old Rectory, together with the topmost stone (unfortunately not at the time brought to the Rectory, and since mislaid), were dislodged, and apparently sufficiently damaged to necessitate their replacement, by it was thought a bolt of lightening which occurred presumably sometime in 1942.
The event is recorded in the book of minutes of meetings of the select vestry as follows:
Tuesday, 22nd September, 1942, ‘The question of the damage to the Church spire was then raised, and the Chairman read correspondence on the matter, and stated that the steeplejack was of the opinion that the damage was caused by lightening. He submitted a tender of £700 for repairs. This amount was considered exorbitant by insurer assessors.
The Chairman then read an offer from messrs Barrett, building contractor, of Cork to do the necessary repairs, including the repointing of remainder of spire for the sum of £250. This sum was considered reasonable, and it was agreed that if insurance company admit liability, the work be undertaken by messrs, Barrett, subject to the satisfaction of the diocesan architect, and that if necessary, a further meeting be convened to consider the final settlement.’
Curiously, but three years later, the Church received further damage from a second bolt of lightening, as evidenced by the following entries in the book of minutes: Sunday, 22nd July, 1945, ‘The Chairman reported that damage had been done to the Church by lightening on the evening of July 13th, 1945 including some of the stone work at the southern side of the building, chutes and down pipes, and also one of the stain glass windows had been slightly damaged. The Vestry resolved that in view of the nature of the damage, messrs. John Sisk and Sons be asked to this.’
Nine months later all was apparently back in order insofar as at a meeting held on Tuesday, 23rd April, 1946, the following is recorded:
‘Finally a letter was read from the R.C.B. with reference to the repairs done to the Church by messrs. John Sisk and Sons, Cork, after damage by lightening in July, 1945. It was decided to inform the R.C.B. that the work done by messrs. Sisk was entirely satisfactory to the vestry.’
A few words from the Rector on Racial Justice Sunday
Today , 13th February , as well as being the 3rd Sunday before Lent, has been designated as Racial Justice Sunday by the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI)
CTBI is an ecumenical cooperation and partnership between Christian church denominations, parachurch organisations and groups, and individuals in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England – the four nations.
Just before we begin our Service today, I’d like to take a few moments to speak about Racial Justice Sunday which began in 1995 and for many years was celebrated on the second Sunday in September.
The actual catalyst for this event was the tragic killing of Black teenager, Stephen Lawrence, in London on 22 April 1993
Stephen was returning home with a friend when he was attacked and killed by a group of White youths. The subsequent British police inquiry was seriously flawed – at one point, the police even spied on the Lawrence family.
As Stephen’s family were Methodists, it was natural for them to turn to God and to their fellow Christians for support at this horrific time and so Racial Justice Sunday began.
BEVAN POWELL, who is the EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ADVISOR in the METHODIST CHURCH in the UK says that in considering how racism works and its impact, it is important to define what racism is, its origins and impact on individuals, families and society.
‘Race’ as a concept has its roots in the Transatlantic Slave Trade and western colonialism, which drove the idea of an innate White superiority, power and privilege.
Central to this concept is the idea of an inherent inferiority of Black and Brown people, which gave justification to the enslavement of millions of African people.
The legacy of these systems continues to drive division, racial inequality and exclusion in our society today.
Race is a social construct driving racial stereotypes, negative attitudes and belief toward Black and Brown people, this also includes biases (both conscious and unconscious). The concept of race is biologically meaningless and has no scientific foundation. Equally the term has no biblical basis and indeed is counter to the Gospel;
‘In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of one body’
Racial justice is everyone’s business
DR DAMIAN JACKSON, whom I know from meetings, and who is the PROGRAMME OFFICER with the IRISH COUNCIL OF CHURCHES says that Racial Justice is not a term that currently has much of a presence in public or churches’ discourse in Ireland. He reckons that there are several reasons for this, perhaps the main one being the fact that up until the last two decades both jurisdictions in Ireland have been overwhelmingly White.
That has changed since then, less so in Northern Ireland, but there are a few other reasons for a lack of engagement with racial justice.
The history of emigration has deeply marked the Irish psyche, and combined with our image of ourselves as a country of welcome, there has been a reluctance to look honestly at the lived experience of people from ethnic minorities, and even recognise that there may be injustices or prejudices to address –
“How could we be racist? We experienced discrimination when we had to emigrate so we would never do that to others.”
If we feel attacked when we hear of someone’s experience, that is a sign that we probably have some work to do.
If the way we worship on a Sunday morning is controlled by only one group of people in the congregation, and Sunday morning at 11am is the most segregated time of the week, how can we hope to speak on matters of racial justice in wider society? ‘
So that is just a few thoughts on today, Racial Justice Sunday, and perhaps we can do something more substantial on this day next year, to look at it properly next February ..
We can’t see it as something to ignore or be avoided, but we can see it as an opportunity for our churches to focus on what the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland call the three ‘R’s of ‘Remembering’, ‘Reflecting’ and ‘Responding’:
• ‘Remembering’ the importance of racial justice
• ‘Reflecting’ on human diversity and thanking God for it
• ‘Responding’ by working to end injustice, racism and ignorance through prayer and action
We will have one prayer now before we begin our normal Service today,
We come from scattered lives to this place, seeking unity in the Spirit, seeking the grace of the Christ of all people, seeking the peace of the God of All. God’s people have gathered, in our glorious diversity and difference, as God created and intended. Let us worship God together