360 Miscellany – News, views, resources, and online events

Anything but Covid photography competition

The Church of Ireland’s Central Communications Board (CCB) is inviting members of the Church to enter a photography competition with the theme ‘Anything but Covid.’

This year, in a change to the annual communications competition (which traditionally focuses on print and online media), selected entries to this special photography competition win a prize and will feature on the Church of Ireland’s website ([ www.ireland.anglican.org ] and social media platforms.

The competition, which is kindly being sponsored by Ecclesiastical Insurance, calls for photographers of all ages and experience to take part. The idea is to focus on humorous, hopeful or generally uplifting subjects, including people and places, which help to take our view away from the current pandemic, and change our perspective positively.

Bishop Pat Storey, the Chair of the CCB, says: “It is a delight to launch this photography competition to welcome a bit of light in the darkness. It would be great to have photographs submitted that simply make people smile. As we wait for the world to heal, we take joy in the creativity of playful photographers all over this island. Good luck!”

Each entrant to the competition may submit one image which should be submitted via email to press@ireland.anglican.org along with the entrant’s name, full contact details, and parish.

Images must be jpegs, and at least 300 dpi in resolution and 3 MB in size but strictly not over 4 MB, and be submitted with the date on which the photograph was taken. The deadline for entries will be 12 noon on Monday December 14 2020.

Judging will be undertaken independently of the CCB and prizes will be announced in advance of the Christmas holidays.


Christmas appeal: joint effort to help families


Some families face “impossible choices” this Christmas, one of Northern Ireland’s leading charities has warned.

St Vincent de Paul, the largest voluntary charitable organisation in Ireland, launched a joint festive appeal with the Salvation Army, supported by the First and deputy First Ministers, for donations to help struggling families. Mary Waide, regional president for St Vincent de Paul, said: “Traditionally a time of hope, for some families we support this time of year is filled with worry and dread. These feelings have been heightened with the impact of the pandemic and while we are all considering a different kind of Christmas this year, some families will be faced with impossible choices. The choice of heating their home or putting presents under the tree. The choice of buying Christmas dinner or new clothes for their children.”

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “The devastating impact of Covid-19 has brought real hardship to many homes. Too many parents and carers are feeling real stress and anxiety about affording the basics of heat and light, never mind putting presents under the tree.”

People can donate at [ uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ChristmasFamilyAppeal. ]


Bishop’s book on Thomas Merton


Bishop Fintan Monahan has published his newest book, ‘Peace Smiles’ on the life of the much loved Trappist monk, Thomas Merton. The book was launched virtually on 12 November, and is published by Veritas.

‘Peace Smiles’ traces Thomas Merton’s fascinating and sometimes troubled life from a disrupted childhood and rather turbulent adolescence, to his conversion to Roman Catholicism, his ordination in 1949 and his life in the Trappist Monastery of Gethsemani. It was there that Merton’s prophetic voice began to emerge.

Bishop Monahan explores Merton as artist, social critic and ecumenist, his anti-war and anti-racism stances until his untimely death at the age of fifty-three.

Bishop Monahan shows us, above all, that a profound hope breathes within Merton’s writing that we too can find our way home by remaining authentic and true to ourselves. This quest for authenticity and truth became a life-long search for Merton.

Bishop Monahan is the Bishop of Killaloe, based in Ennis, Co. Clare. His previous book, ‘A Perfect Peace: Newman, Saint for Our Time’, is also published by Veritas.


Caring for church buildings

Maintaining old buildings has long been a key role of select vestries. But many of those who serve on vestries do not have the benefit of a construction or architectural background, and the challenges posed by keeping church property in good condition can be daunting. Recognising this, the Institute of Historic Building Conservation • Northern Ireland Branch has launched a user-friendly booklet, available both in print and online, to highlight common problems and how they can be overcome. A collaboration with the Church of Ireland has resulted in a branded version for the use of select vestries. To find out more about this guide, co-authored by Des Cairns of Lisburn Cathedral, visit [ https://bit.ly/3f8uBYv. ]


Canon for Cork and Cloyne

The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, is pleased to announce that he has appointed the Reverend Denis MacCarthy, (Photo above), Incumbent of Bandon Union of Parishes, to be Prebendary of Kilbrittain and Holy Trinity in the Cathedral Church of Saint Fin Barre, Cork and to be Prebendary of Donoughnmore in the Cathedral Church of Saint Colman, Cloyne.

Canon Denis MacCarthy grew up in Gurranabraher on the northside of Cork City with his four sisters Diana, Ellen, Mary and Veronica. His parents were the Late Eileen and Colm Mac Carthy,

He attended the North Presentation Convent, The North Mon and Edmund Rice College. Dún Laoghaire When he left school his first job was as a delivery boy in Erinville Maternity Hospital in Cork. In 1980 he went to Maynooth to study for the priesthood and was ordained in Christ the King, Turners Cross in 1984.

Upon leaving the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church, he worked for eighteen years with early school leavers and teenagers at risk. He also worked as a Taxi Driver and was a member of Cork Taxi Co-op.

Canon MacCarthy recounts how he journeyed back into ministry:

I never thought that I would ever go back into Ministry, but having completed the Bishop’s Certificate in Theology in Cork, I felt the call begin to stir again in my soul.

Sponsored by Bishop Paul, I entered the Church of Ireland Theological College in 2004. In May of the following year I was privileged to be licensed as a Curate for Bandon Union of Parishes, where I served under Dean Nigel Dunne and the late Canon Paddy Hewitt.

In 2008, I was instituted as Rector of Mallow Union of Parishes, where as a family we spent two very happy years. On All Saints Day, 1st November 2010, I was instituted as Rector of Bandon Union of Parishes and have spent ten very happy years here so far.

On that Sunday morning in the late eighties when I slipped quietly into the back pew of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, little did I think that it would become my spiritual home, that it would help me pick up the broken pieces of my life, refresh me and lead me back to ministry. I continue to endeavour to love God, love my neighbour and try not to make a hash of it.

Canon MacCarthy is married to Noelle Burke, and they have two daughters, Nell and Beth, who attend Bandon Grammar School. Noelle works part-time as a school nurse in the Lavanagh Centre in Beaumount in Cork.


Pointers to Prayer

Today we pray for people relying on food banks. The Trussell Trust have recently vowed to reverse a trend where reliance on food banks is increasingly normalised as poverty becomes more widespread.

Today we give thanks for scientists working on vaccines around the world. A preliminary analysis shows the first effective coronavirus vaccine can prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19.

Pray for the Church Army’s centres of mission which provide practical support to people in need of food or assistance.


God in creation