All posts by The Rector

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Patrick

Little did we imagine that life would change so suddenly and so dramatically for us all. It seems within a few days our world has been turned upside down. What was accepted as our normal daily routine is now far from normal. For many of us in full-time employment it is as if we’ve had to step off the treadmill and we are bewildered. Others, however, are being called upon to work night and day, or called out of retirement back to work and let us keep constantly in our minds all health workers and all those whose labours at this critical time are the life-blood in ensuring we are kept safe and well.

So, suddenly life is very different; instead of reaching out the hand in friendship we are being encouraged to draw apart. Sporting and others major events have been cancelled; schools, bars, clubs, some shops and other public venues have closed their doors. New phrases such as ‘hand sanitising’, ‘social distancing’ and ‘virtual communications’ are fast becoming the new norm.

Coronavirus (Covid 19) has taken hold with unbelievable speed. People are frightened – we are frightened; no matter what age we are and the state of our own health. Suddenly we are all potentially instruments of transmission and we need to be aware that one false move on our part may have serious consequences for ourselves and for those we love and come into contact with.

At such a time, we usually find ourselves turning to the Church and to God. But on this occasion, even our churches are closed – it is simply too dangerous to hold services with the risk of spreading the virus further. Let me assure you, however, the Church has not gone away and neither has God. It may not be business as usual but the Church and your local clergy are still at work. Work may have changed but work, within the Government’s restrictions, there is to do. For example, over the last few days, a weekly Diocesan ‘virtual’ Common Prayer Service has been organised with the support of our team of clergy. This will be available on the Diocesan Website and I encourage you to tune in to it each Sunday at your normal service time. Services for Holy Week will also be recorded and your clergy are taking turns in leading these. I know too that the clergy are responding in their own particular context as best they can, but they too, must take care of themselves.

 

Hence, the need for all of us to play our part as Church. We, each one of us, are the people of God with a role to play. The Government and HSE are asking us to act responsibly in complying strictly with their requests for hygiene, keeping our distance and, where necessary, self-isolating. Equally important as Christians, however, is our care of one another, for all who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. At a time like this, such solidarity demands that we are at the forefront of providing practical support for those who are the most vulnerable members of our local community, whether church attenders or not, whether Church of Ireland or not! So, what might you be doing in your locality – who is it that needs a helping hand or even something as simple as an occasional phone call asking ‘How are you?’

I said that God has not deserted us – ‘and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ (St Matt 28:20) God is as much with us in bad times as in good times. He will not forsake us. So, let us continue to hold each other before Him in prayer. My main reason in writing this letter is to assure you, as your episcopal shepherd, that you are all in my thoughts and prayers at this time. I pray you and your loved ones will keep safe. Some will inevitably catch the virus but may you be reassured by all our prayers. You may even need medical support and let us pray too for all our health care professionals. Other, sadly, may find yourselves facing a bereavement – but there too God is with us and I want to assure you of our ministry, in whatever form is possible.

 

Sometimes it takes the worst of situations to bring the best out in people. I feel sure that this is such a time. My hope is that you, the people of TKA, will not be found wanting. Do all you can to keep safe yourself; do all you can for others; and remember that this too will pass and in the words of St Julian of Norwich; ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well’.

 

God bless you all,   +Patrick

Actions and Prayer through the crisis

Articles

Here is a very good article, answering some of the questions Christians may have at this time, from the Tearfund website:

https://www.tearfund.org/2020/03/decoding_coronavirus/?utm_source=Tearfund&utm_campaign=b72723bb72-Coronavirus+Theology+%E2%80%93+Main+%28Eng%29+%E2%80%93+04%2F20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3245dce5e3-b72723bb72-32566711

Actions

Please think about the vulnerable, the housebound, your neighbour etc.

Please ask if there is anything you can do for them, shopping, trips to the pharmacy, walk the dog etc.

Please telephone for a chat and to check on people.

Suggestions for online activities will also be posted here.

Ronnie Gillanders can play online games such as backgammon. please contact him to arrange this.

Prayers

Please send any issues for inclusion in daily prayer to the Rector @ prayingthroughthecrisisinsligo@gmail.com

Daily Prayer

The Church of Ireland website has prayer for each day at the following:

https://www.ireland.anglican.org/prayer-worship/lectionary/daily-prayer

 

 

Church of Ireland Coronavirus Information (as of April 2nd 2020)

            UNITED DIOCESE OF TUAM, KILLALA AND ACHONRY

 Coronavirus Guidance

 Public Worship

Services – All public acts of worship, including Sunday services,  Baptisms and Confirmations (including preparation), should cease  until further notice.

Online & Media Resources – See pages at the top of website for links

Daily prayers – Daily prayers can help give structure to our days for those who are housebound with more time for thinking and reflecting. You may wish to consider signposting people to the online resources at https://www.ireland.anglican.org/prayer-worship/book-of-common-prayer/2004-texts/texts and to produce local booklets to offer as personal copies only (please do not pass these around).

Prayer times – Setting up regular prayer times and using the church bell to sound the times of prayer, use of online conferencing facilities such as Skype, Facetime, Zoom, telephone prayer partners, could positively help to establish a sense of corporate prayer and the strengthening of the praying community.

  1. Pastoral Care

Clergy, Lay Readers and Diocesan Pastoral Assistants – The health and well-being of parish and diocesan clergy together with support staff and volunteers is of paramount importance, both for their own protection and for those they minister to. Those with underlying health conditions, those that develop symptoms, and those over 70 years of age should adhere to government guidance concerning self-isolation and should inform a neighboring member of the clergy or supervising member of clergy of their availability / unavailability in order to enable the continuation of pastoral ministry in the parish. Clergy are asked to co-ordinate the provision of pastoral care in their parishes in cooperation with neighbouring clergy.

Home Communion-  These should cease until further notice.

Visitation Protocols – All pastoral visitations should cease  until further notice. Instead Clergy and/or Diocesan Pastoral Assistants should contact those needing pastoral care in parishes by telephoning them. The hospital chaplains are no longer permitted to carry out hospital visits unless expressly invited to do so by hospital staff. Clergy who are asked to visit parishioners in hospital or residential care should only do so if permitted by the hospital/residential facility and with the consent of the individual’s family. Hygiene and physical distancing measures must be observed.

Pastoral and practical support – Develop a plan for the pastoral and practical support of those who are vulnerable or housebound in the parish (the plan must of course adhere to safeguarding policies and hygiene practices). Consider developing a ‘Love thy Neighbour’ scheme for those in self-isolation with a team of volunteers to: Regularly contact by phone to alleviate loneliness; Report concerns as to their health; Collect urgent supplies & shopping; Post mail. You may want to consider offering to hold next of kin details for parishioners who live alone, but make sure any such personal information is stored securely and you have the individual’s permission to have these details in keeping with General Data Protection regulations. Identify and brief lay people who can provide telephone support and prayer for those who are fearful or otherwise distressed.

Self-isolated – For those who need to self-isolate, consider how people can be supported with phone calls and via social media, and help with the delivery of shopping and / or medication. It is very important that all church members involved in such support are very clear on and committed to adhering to the Government’s isolation and general hygiene advice.

Funerals – Funerals should ideally be attended by family members and close friends only in order to keep numbers in attendance low, it is advisable that funerals are not publicly advertised in order to avoid large gatherings. Congregational singing should be avoided, hygiene advice and physical distancing should be adhered to, physical contact, including handshaking, and funeral teas should not take place. Copies of prayers for the sick and the dying and also a copy of the funeral service could be helpfully sent to those unable to attend the funeral of a friend or relative. Thanksgiving Services could be considered appropriate by those bereaved at a future date when possible.

Weddings – Weddings can take place under very restrictive circumstances in accordance with Government guidance, therefore it is preferable that weddings should be postponed.

Mental Health and Hardship – Efforts should be made to support those who may be struggling with mental health issues and/or hardship. It will be important to take measures, such as regular phone communication, to help alleviate loneliness and despair.

 Community Response

Volunteer Mobilisation – In time volunteer support may be necessary for medical staff and for individuals in the community. Churches are well placed to channel information, particularly on requests for volunteers. Information will be circulated to clergy and parishes when available.

Public Reassurance – Clergy can offer an important public reassurance through “the sacrament of presence” and being seen to be “present” and available. This does not include physically visiting those diagnosed with COVID-19 or those who are self-isolating: clergy need to protect themselves and others, making sure they adhere to hygiene precautions. Clergy can also be a trusted voice in a community and help with the distribution of government advice ensuring isolated members of the community are aware of the precautions they can take. Network as appropriate with local health, welfare, safety networks, funeral directors and other service providers. Ensure contact details for these service providers are held by key parish leadership. Be aware of local information and peculiarities eg changes in public utilities or services that affect your community specifically.

  1. Parish Administration

Premises – All public parish premises should be closed until further notice, this includes Churches and Church Halls. Parishes, where possible, may consider providing access to Churches for private prayer and reflection, should this be the case then hygiene and physical distancing guidance must be observed. In due course there may be need for church premises to be made available for civic response purposes, these can be considered compassionately as they arise.

Easter Vestries – All Easter Vestry meetings should be deferred until further notice and existing officers should remain in post until circumstances allow. Legal advice concerning rescheduling is being sought.

Added: 19th March 2020

[If you have already given notice convening this year’s Easter Vestry you should not transact any business at the meeting but should simply adjourn it to the last date permitted by Section 12 of Chapter III of the Constitution namely the sixth Monday after Easter Day (i.e. 18thMay 2020). Furthermore, in advance of the date for which the meeting was originally scheduled you should notify your parishioners that they should not attend since it is going to be adjourned to 18thMay in order to comply with the Government’s restrictions and guidelines.

 If you have not already given notice convening the Easter Vestry for your parish, you should convene it for the latest date permitted by Section 12, namely 20 days after Easter Day (Saturday May 2nd) and should, notify your parishioners that they should not attend on that date since it is going to be adjourned to 18thMay in order to comply with the Government’s restrictions and guidelines on public gatherings.

 I have taken legal advice as to the position that will pertain if these restrictions continue on or after 18thMay.  The advice that I have received is under what is known as the doctrine of force majeure, (also known as Act of God!), compliance with the time limits under the Constitution to the holding of Easter Vestries will be regarded as having been frustrated and I will, in such circumstances be issuing a direction to all parishes to adjourn their Easter Vestries until further notice.

 You might note for so long as an Easter Vestry cannot be held, the existing Select Vestry remains in office in accordance with Section 18 of Chapter III of the Constitution and continues to perform its function accordingly.]

Select Vestries – All Select Vestry meetings should be deferred until further notice. Matters requiring urgent consideration by a Select Vestry should be considered using electronic means such a teleconferencing, email circulation.

Parish Organisations – All parish organisations, including Sunday School, Youth Organisations, Senior Citizen Activities, External Groups that utilize parish facilities etc should be cancelled from 17th March 2020 until further notice.

Charity Returns and Annual Accounts – Further guidance is being sought concerning submission of charity returns and approval of annual accounts.

 

Unusual Kindness

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity can easily pass us by as it occurs in January each year.  This year I took its’ theme as the basis for my service on Midwest Radio.

However, the week of prayer for Christian Unity is a cooperation between Anglican, Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic churches and has become a familiar practice, we even did it when we lived in the Netherlands.  This simple fact it exists is in itself a strong evidence for the effectiveness of prayer for unity.

History of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

When Father Paul Wattson conceived the octave of prayer, he saw unity as the return of the different churches to the Roman Catholic Church.  This influenced his choice of dates for the octave, from 18 January, which was at that time in the Roman Catholic calendar the ‘Feast of the Chair of Peter’, up to 25 January, the Feast of the Conversion of Paul.  In 1909, Pope St Pius X gave the octave for unity his official blessing.  In the mid-1930’s, Abbé Paul Couturier of Lyons, France, gave a new orientation to the church unity octave.  By this time, the observance of the octave had started to spread throughout the Catholic Church and in a small number of Anglican communities sympathetic to reunion with the bishop of Rome; but this approach was rejected on theological grounds by many Christians outside the Roman Catholic Church.  In 1959, at the conclusion of the prayer for unity octave, Pope John XXIII called for the Second Vatican Council, which brought the Catholic Church energetically into the ecumenical movement.

Unusual Kindness

This year’s theme was unusual kindness where we looked at the hospitality St Paul’s received on Malta.  Hospitality and unusual kindness is something we should as Christians find easy as it is an expression of our faith.  To me such a practice follows on from a Christian festival theme in the 90s of “Entertaining angels” based on the story of Abraham who is visited by three strangers unaware that they were angels.  That is, always show hospitality to strangers as you never know when yo might be entertaining angels.

Such an event happened to me not that long ago.  I was just about to go out when the doorbell rang and there was a man stood there with a holdall.  I could tell instantly that he was a man of the road but he had good shoes and clothes to withstand Irish weather.

As I was just going out the door I was a little perturbed by this man who had upset my routine but a few words were exchanged and he then said to me, “Are you going to offer me a cup of tea?”  I agreed but in some trepidation as I didn’t know the man at all.  Fortunately, Emma was at home and kept a discreet distance and a listening ear.  We sat and had tea in the kitchen and exchanged some dialogue but I would not have called it a conversation as I would ask a question and he would make some comment about going to Leicester for Christmas which was totally irrelevant to question posed.  He didn’t smell of alcohol but did offer to go and buy some wine if I fancied a drink.  He didn’t want anything to eat and for half an hour we exchanged what seemed unrelated comments while he drank his tea.  When I asked if he needed anything like running into Sligo he was unforthcoming.  After finishing his tea and aware I was looking to leave he picked up his bag and headed for the door.  He was pleasant said goodbye went down the drive and turned in the direction of Collooney.

It had been a truly bizarre experience.  Emma who had been listening in concurred that the conversation had been unusual to say the least and agreed that it had just all been a little odd.

But then as I reflected on his visit and my thoughts on “entertaining angels” I was not pleased with my attitude or behaviour.  Initially, I had not made him welcome or feel welcome, just an interruption I didn’t need.  I did then try to get to know something about him but none of it made any sense and then he was gone as quickly as he arrived.

Did I learn anything from the experience, yes!  We should, in all circumstances, show unusual kindness to strangers because we might never know when we are entertaining an angel.

The Whole of Creation – the Cosmos

I was reading a booklet recently by a Christian lady who had investigated veganism from a Christian perspective and she had changed her habits as a result.  However, the one thing in the booklet that really made me think was the way in which she referred to the most famous verse of the Bible, John 3: 16, For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. She drew attention to the fact that the word we translate as ‘world’ is in Greek the word ‘cosmos’ which makes the meaning of the verse far more substantial.  And indeed, if you bear in mind the language of the book of Revelation we read that all things will be made new which again includes everything it got me thinking more widely tahtn I had before on what this actually meant.

It turns out that she wasn’t the first to think this way as when the 19th century naturalist John Muir came across a dead bear in Yosemite, he wrote in his journal a criticism of religious people who made no room in heaven for such noble creatures.  He wrote, “Not content with taking all of earth, they also claim the celestial country as the only ones who possess the kinds of souls for which that imponderable empire was planned.” To the contrary, he believed, God’s “charity is broad enough for bears.” In the middle to late 19th century few agreed with him.

The rise of ecological awareness in our day, however, provides a pressing context for reflection on this question. Does the creative love of God embrace bears and by extension the natural world?  Does it have compassion for the mortality of its’ creatures and the promise of redemption? If not, then ruining their habitat and driving them toward extinction has little religious significance. But if so, then the value of their lives and of all of nature should become explicit in the church’s teaching and practice.

Since God created the world, judging it to be “very good”, nature has to be more than just the scenery behind the human story.  It is also God’s work with an intrinsic value all its own.

Ecological awareness brings to light how very earthy the ministry of Jesus was.  He lived in an agrarian culture and the parables often refer to seeds and weeds, flowers, fields and vineyards, ploughing and harvesting, sheep and birds, rain and sunsets etc.

In an ecological perspective, Jesus’ great command to love your neighbour as yourself extends to all that share in the evolutionary community of life broadening the circle of redemption to include the natural world. Far from being left behind or rejected, the evolving world in its’ endless permutations will be transfigured by the life-giving action of the Creator Spirit.  In the light of the risen Christ, hope of salvation for sinful human beings expands to become a cosmic hope, a shared hope.  Care for the earth and all its’ creatures flows as a response.

The gift of Jesus Christ is given because as my author said “God so loved the world,” cosmos in Greek and so do not Christ’s benefits work not just for the human world but the whole natural world in its beauty and pollution.

Opinions and Redemption

I was reading something a while back that talked of two films about the same event directed by Clint Eastwood.  I like my movies and I was a bit surprised that these films had passed me by unnoticed.  The two films were ‘Flags of our Fathers’ and ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’.

The films tell the story of the Second World War battle of Iwo Jima, a fairly none descript small volcanic island in the pacific.  The first of the films tells the story from the American side and most notably about the iconic photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal showing six US marines raising the American flag atop Mt Suribachi and its use in galvanising US citizens in supporting the war effort.  The other film, ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ tells the other side of the story, in Japanese, of the defence of the island from the point of view of the general, an Olympic showjumper officer and a conscripted young man who is just a baker and writes letters home about his experience.

Neither film is a particularly easy watch but I guess that is the point.  The war was brutal, painful and in some ways futile with many dying for little reason.  However, both films do show the humanity of both sides but also the lack of it.  For me the portrayal of two sides of the same story highlighted two things.  Firstly, that opinions and beliefs will not always be shared.  Some may be right, others may be wrong, and other times both sides may be right.

And indeed, in the Christian life opinions often differ even in the same religion and we have been known to go to war about that as well but in Ephesians 4:1, we are urged to follow the right manner of living, not to have the right opinion.  In the kingdom of God, character and heart matter more than opinions.   That’s not to say that we abandon any search for truth, or that truth is relative. Many times truth is absolute, and we are called to search for it. But God desires that we pursue truth together with others who have varying perspectives, opinions and mind sets.

The other thing that struck me was the way in which the Japanese nation was transformed as a whole following the Second World War.  The nation of Japan was changed from an imperialistic culture where honour was paramount and serving the emperor even to the death was embedded in the mind set, which led to unbelievable brutality, to a generally peace loving and law abiding nation.

This is a reminder to us all that no one is beyond redemption.  Remember the murders, Moses and David and the thief crucified alongside Jesus.  All were admitted to heaven because despite their sins, they repented, sought forgiveness and were forgiven.  But many whose sins in worldly eyes were less serious didn’t make it to heaven because they forgot to repent and seek forgiveness.

Solitude and Community

I was reading a booklet recently on this topic looking at how we bring these apparently two opposing ideas together as Christians especially as both are lacking in society today.  A recent survey showed that 42% of people who work in offices do not have a friend there and that our obsession of staring at screens is not a substitute for either solitude or community.

In the Bible it is clear that Jesus did both.  He was often alone in his prayers but he was also among his flock.  Clearly, Jesus is a the best role model we could have but the booklet suggest that finding out who we are is an essential part of establishing a beneficial balance between solitude and community.

The booklet mentions Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote one of the best books on community called “Life Together”. However, shortly before his execution by the Nazis, he struggled to make sense of who he was, the calm, cheerful resilient person others saw or the person he saw, fearful, anxious and weak. His deliberations led him to conclude that neither how he saw himself or how others saw him expressed his real identity but his true identity could only be found in God.

Bonhoeffer was able to realise what the Bible tells us is that God says, ‘You are the beloved’.  May you also realise that the same voice is there for you.

 

The North Transept Project – A Journey

The North Transept has been at the “idea” stage in the minds of parishioners for probably forty years and the erection of a curtain was an out of sight out of mind fix.

2014 saw a new confidence and resolve to look for possibilities rather than hurdles. Peace 3 gave us a chance to learn that looking out to the wider community opened up an opportunity for the parish to see new potential in how a valuable asset could be used and funded. Good relationships were building and a part of a 30k grant helped put a new energy efficient heating system in St Pauls.

With this new momentum the decision was taken to engage with the planners and go for it only problem the bank account was empty and build estimations were in excess of 120k.

So the first port of call was The Church Priorities Fund. They indeed liked our vision and offered us the full 35k if we started before March 2018 .So by spring 2016 planning permission and a grant offer were in the bag. The staff at Priorities suggested we approach Leader to gain the additional funding to undertake the project.

Although the Leader grants were not open a delegation met with Leader to see could we meet their likely criteria. We came away realising that there was a massive job to be done to stand any chance of getting over the line.

Firstly as Leader cannot fund religious groups a Community group with its own constitution and bank account needed to be formed to make the application. St Paul’s select vestry decided to ask diocesan and RCB permission and to go the Leader route with all the legal requirements involved. In April 2016 “The Reading Wing Community Group Collooney” was launched at a public meeting in the Teeling Centre attended by Archdeacon Stephen McWhirter who gave a very passionate interpretation of The Sophie Cooper monument which is situated in the North transept of St Pauls. Subsequently a committee was formed of Lynda Devaney (secretary), Ian Craig (treasurer), Nigel Bourke (chair) and Robert Craig, Kathy Clarke and Cllr Sinead McGuire giving wider community representation. Ruth Nairn joined later. Wendy Lyons would act as advisor and project manager to the group.

A licence for the area from the RCB needed to be in place for five years after the drawdown of a grant. The task of gaining the formal support of all the local community groups was undertaken. Establishing the need for a new community room was vital. A list of all possible uses was drawn up with afterschool facilities at the top. Hence an outside amenity area was sought from the adjacent St Pauls School. This was kindly granted by the School and diocesan boards. The contractor would need to be chosen by e-tender and John Fahey handled this process. John would also be employed to gain a fire certificate and handle compliance and sign offs for the council and Leader.

The services of Michael Kirby of Meehan and Tully were engaged to process all this information into a business plan and application to Sligo leader in January 2018. A lengthy process followed to satisfying Leader regarding tax, vat, procurement, insurance, building compliance, fire and heritage and finance.

Martin Wilson and the O’Neill brothers deserve our highest praise in the way the job was delivered to the highest of standards with no quibbles on budget and on time.

On 23rd November we were thrilled to have An Taoiseach Dr Leo Varadkar come and cut a ribbon to officially open the building followed by a dedication by Bishop Rooke on Jan 27th.

Saturday 16th of February was another special day when the room was opened up to the whole community to view. Those who were instrumental in the course of the project were welcomed back, Rev. Adam Pullen showed up and Archdeacon Dadswell sent the rector a letter of regret with a generous gift. It was great to see local folk enjoying the room and newly decorated church. This work was funded by a Dream Auction held in the Sligo Park Hotel on the 30th October. Over 11k was raised and folk who supported the event were able to see how their money was put to use again our thanks to all who supported it Refreshments were kindly provided and all made for a most pleasant atmosphere.

The challenge now is to manage the activities in the room so that the best use is made of it and that everything is complimentary to the work of the church.

Nigel Bourke

 

History of the North Transept Project at St Paul’s Church, Collooney

In November 2008 Rev Archdeacon Richard Dadswell approached me and asked how we should consider the North Transept and its future. Having considered that the position of the wing was liturgically in correct as there is no view of the communion table from this section of the church. The future of the wing then became an area which could be separated from the church and/or could hold alternative functions.

The north Transept was designed by Sir John Benson to hold the memorial of Mrs Sophie Cooper, who was Mr Edward Joshua Cooper’s M. P. first wife who had died in child birth. The memorial is a very fine example of the work of Gibson a well-known Welsh sculptor.

In January 2009 the Select Vestry gave permission to explore the options with the County Council. This was undertaken and the council were determined that any work to be done to the church would require a survey/impact statement which would cover the whole church and any repairs that might be required and how they were to be undertaken and what impact they would have.

In 2012 a building sub committee was formed and its’ first task was not the north transept but heating the church. Robert Craig researched this and we came up with the modern air to air system that is now installed in the church. It is the least invasive to the fabric and works well. This was grant aided by SAEI and Peace 3 (we organised the making of a short film between the 3 schools in the village and a scrap collection by the parishioners). This work was covered by a Section 5 Exempt works under the planning Acts. The attic of the church was insulated in 2015 supported by SAEI.

By December 2015 a conservation plan had been prepared along with proposed drawings showing a permanent division of the North Transept from the rest of the church with a full height glazed arch and wall, new toilet and kitchenette in the new space and a new entrance.

The design was to set the new partition back from the main wall of the church so it was not seen as an intrusion until one was half way up the church; the communion table and east window being the most important elements in the church. There is a pew now still in position with the new wall behind it.

This scheme was granted on the 11/2/2016. The project then was looking for funding. The alternative entrance meant that it was possible to open up use to the wider community, in so doing a wider field of grants was available to apply for.

The project then applied to Sligo Leader and as Leader has no designated heritage section it is part of community and social inclusion section.  This necessary permission from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeleacht, which delayed the project by some months. On August 1st 2018 a contract was signed with Moymart Ltd. to construct the project.

The building of the project:

This was straight forward in many ways but difficult in others. The works to the playground were completed first to avoid any work being carried on when the National School returned in September. A temporary screen/partition was erected to close off the building works and to keep the church dust free. This meant that services were not interrupted throughout the whole project.

Access was limited as the existing graveyard gateway was narrow a pedestrian access was the other only access. After the partition was completed the new door way was opened up and the contractor then used that as part of his site. The congested graveyard restricted storage on site.

The pews were removed off site and stored to be used to make the timber framing for the arch at a later date in the contract. The centre aisle was cut stone and this was removed and stored to be repositioned in the centre aisle of the main church which had two concrete sections where the floor grills were previously removed. The north transept floor was removed and a new insulated concrete sub floor was laid. The new arch was then completed and glazed before any work could commence on the kitchenette and toilets as they were adjoined the new partition wall. The height of the new partition was some 7.0metres.

There were repairs done to the ceiling, the main wall to the memorial was insulated with conservation grade insulation and then plastered. There were no repairs done to the area surrounding the memorial as the walls just needed redecoration.  The finished floor is pitch pine and is in keeping with other timbers used in the church. The only difference is that it is sanded and has a vanished finish. The project was completed on time and in budget and thanks go largely to a very diligent contractor and a small hard working subcommittee.

The rest of the church was painted as part of the contract but was separately priced because it could not be grant aided. This was essential as there was so much work undertaken in the north transept that the main church could not be neglected.

Wendy Lyons