Once again, between 4th and 6th February, the clergy of the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough were in conference in the historic city of Kilkenny. Our keynote speaker this year was Rev. Bruce Pierce. He was the first full Church of Ireland Chaplain appointed to A.M.N.C.H. Hospital, Tallaght in 1998, where he worked until 2001. He left that post to work and study in Amsterdam and Toronto, finishing as Senior Chaplain at Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto. Upon his return to Ireland, he completed his training as a Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor, and from 2008 he has been Director of Education at St. Luke’s Home Education Centre, Cork. Bruce has published books and articles in the areas of perinatal bereavement, stress, and spiritual assessment models.
Bruce’s engaging talks ranged from effective pastoral care in today’s contemporary settings to recognising the symptoms of when the carer needs to be cared for! With many real-life anecdotes drawn from his own substantial experience coupled with some amusing video clips, he covered a very serious subject with insight, compassion and sensitivity.
As this Newsletter appears, we will be almost at the midpoint of the Church season of Lent. It is the traditional season in which we try to prepare ourselves spiritually for the events of the first Holy Week and Easter. It is no accident that in the Northern Hemisphere, this season usually coincides with the climatic season of Spring – although, with the recent cold spell, it is more akin to Winter than Spring! However, Lent affords us the opportunity to re-evaluate ourselves and to make amends for things which need changing in our lives. But all this is done in the positive light of promise – the promise of the risen Christ which we will be celebrating at Easter. Meanwhile, despite all the odds, nature is beginning to sprout forth once more with snowdrops, crocuses and early shrub blossoms leading the way. Perhaps we would do well to learn from nature’s book and move forward in faith, even if things do not look particularly encouraging!
To assist in our Lenten preparations, a variety of Lenten Courses are available in the locality.
On Monday evenings at 8:00pm in St. Matthias’ Church, Ballybrack – a Lenten Course prepared by the Bible Association of the Church of Ireland (BACI) is being followed entitle “Gender Justice”. Each session lasts approximately 1 hour. On Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm in Our Lady’s Hall, Castle Street, Dalkey – there is an ecumenical series of talks entitled “Christian Sister Churches” including looks at Orthodox, Maronite, Coptic, Indian, West African and the Churches in China. In this case, each talk lasts 40 minutes approximately and is followed by light refreshments. Finally, on Thursday evenings at 8:00pm in Stillorgan Park Hotel, there is an ecumenical series of talks on Spirituality. Billed speakers include Archbishop Michael Jackson, Mr Aidan Matthews, Rev. Dr. Ruth Patterson and Dom. Mark Patrick Hederman, Abbot of Glenstal Abbey. Again, each session in this case lasts just over one hour.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all parishioners and friends a blessed and holy Easter. Let us never forget that without Easter, there would be no Church. After all, we are an Easter people and it is this promise that gives us the hope of the risen Christ!
With every blessing,
The Revd. John Tanner. Tel: 289 3154 / 086 302 1376