Irish church news – 18th April

Pavarotti of the organ in Derry this Friday; Archbishop of Armagh Pays Tribute to Ray Davey;  Connor Diocesan Parish Development Officer appointed;  Church of Ireland Historical Society meeting; Glenageary choir to sing mass in neighbouring church; New Chaplain for Kingston College; Ethnic cleansing recalled in film; How will the long slow secularisation of Ireland affect NI’s future politics?; Guilty priest flees to Ireland from USA

Pavarotti of the organ in Derry this Friday
With the events of UK City of Culture 2013 just around the corner in Londonderry, St Columb’s Cathedral is to host one of the world’s foremost concert organists in a special musical event this Friday evening at 7.30 p m.

Carlo Curley, dubbed by the press The Pavarotti of the Organ, will be giving a recital of most user-friendly and easy listening music on the superb Wells-Kennedy organ which was restored and greatly enlarged in the Cathedral at a cost of over £550,000 back in 2006.  It was Carlo who actually gave the opening recital back then when he drew an audience of between 600 and 700.

As he prepares to return to Londonderry, in a programme every bit as likely to include the Liberty Bell as J S Bach (!), interest has been expressed in his visit from music lovers all over Northern Ireland.  In fact, a couple from Cambridgeshire who are going to be visiting relatives locally this weekend, contacted Dean Morton for details of the Carlo concert.
Born into a musical family in North Carolina in 1952, he attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and coached privately with renowned pedagogues Arthur Poister and Robert Elmore. Ultimately, he studied with two of the world’s greatest organists: America’s legendary Virgil Fox and Great Britain’s Sir George Thalben-Ball.
Early in his career, he was invited by the President to play at the White House, and made history as the first classical organist to give a solo organ recital there. Today, he tours the world, having played in every state and province in North America and Canada, as well as Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Hong Kong. His concert tour of Japan with the King’s Singers, sponsored by Rolex, was warmly received and a sell-out everywhere.

Carlo Curley has played before crowned heads of Europe, including the late Princess Grace of Monaco, the Princess Royal of England, and several Command Performances for the Danish Royal Family. He has made private recordings for the Sultan of Oman.
Wherever he goes, Carlo Curley’s charismatic personality inevitably finds its way onto TV and radio. His network TV appearances in the United States, England, Australia and Japan are well known.

In England, Mr. Curley has made innumerable appearances for the BBC including organ spectaculars from the Cathedrals at Ely, Lichfield, Norwich, Guildford and Gloucester. CLASSIC FM broadcast live his concert at Westminster Abbey, given in aid of the Abbey Choir School and the Royal School of Church Music.

Carlo Curley records exclusively for Decca International, including CDs and the first-ever commercial video of a classical organ performance, Organ Imperial. The Carlo Curley Classic Collection comprising 3 DVDs has recently been released world-wide. His recordings have been voted “Best of the Month” by Stereo Review in the USA, “Record of the Year” in Scandinavia, and “Laser Disc of Exceptional Merit” by FM Fan in Japan, where his CDs enjoy particularly brisk sales.

The Dean of Derry, Dr William Morton, extends a warm invitation to all who would like to come along on Friday evening for what he says will be a “truly memorable evening.”

Archbishop of Armagh Pays Tribute to Ray Davey

The Most Revd Alan Harper said :
The death of Dr Ray Davey at the age of 97 has taken from among us one of the great pioneers of dialogue and peacemaking in Britain and Ireland. The Corrymeela Community, which Ray Davey founded in 1965, has been a constant source of influence and inspiration for all those who sought and continue to seek reconciliation and peace in Northern Ireland. From its exposed but majestic location on the north Antrim coast, looking across the notoriously troubled waters of Rathlin Sound, Corrymeela is a city set on a hill that cannot be hid. The air in Corrymeela is often bracing as have been and continue to be the encounters that take place there, but the beauty and calm of the vision which Corrymeela embodies reflects the attainable vision of the peace of God which Ray Davey beheld and gave all the energies of his life to share.

Out of the dual experience of caring for the casualties of war in North Africa and caring for university students in the Presbyterian Chaplaincy of Queen’s University, Belfast, the Reverend Dr Ray Davey became a light of integrity, faith, peace and hope through the darkest of days in Northern Ireland. There is in Ray Davey’s insight a particularly important lesson for us today. It is this: just because things appear to be changing for the better there should be no let up in striving for healing and peace. Ray Davey founded the Corrymeela Community at the very moment when the onlooker might have said the need for a centre of peace and reconciliation was passing. A new beginning, a new spirit appeared to be emerging in Ireland with the thawing of relationships between North and South. But that new hope was still born. Within four years we found ourselves embroiled in three decades of bloody conflict. Throughout that dark period Corrymeela, Ray Davey’s creation, was a beacon of hope in a time of near despair. The Community, in itself and in all its activities and engagements, modeled a new and living way for Northern Ireland, a way informed and inspired by the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, the Wounded Healer, the Suffering , Crucified and Risen Lord.

I recall the words of a little boy as he and his family drove home after Summerfest in Corrymeela, ‘Daddy, why can’t all the world be like Corrymeela?’ Ray Davey gave new hope and fresh vision to tens of thousands but also to one small boy. For this and so much more, Christians of all denominations are bold to say, ‘Thanks be to God.’

Connor Diocesan Parish Development Officer appointed
Trevor Douglas has been appointed Diocesan Parish Development Officer for the Church of Ireland Diocese of Connor. Trevor, 51, is from Lurgan, Co Armagh, and is currently manager of the Jethro Centre in Lurgan.

His new role will be to support parishes throughout Connor Diocese by advising on parish projects and development, facilitating training for leadership and team ministry and supporting strategic development across the diocese.

A past pupil of Banbridge Academy, Trevor ran his own business before taking up the post at the Jethro Centre in 2004. A lifelong member of Shankill Parish, Lurgan, he was instrumental in establishing the Shankill Parish Caring Association in 1991. The Association’s vision is to promote the wellbeing of the inhabitants of Lurgan and the surrounding area and to promote the Christan faith among them. The Jethro Centre is managed by the Association. Trevor oversaw the building of the centre which opened in 2006 and offers modern facilities including a sports hall and conference rooms.

He has recently worked with Connor Diocese having been seconded through CREED to work with churches in inner city Belfast.

Trevor said he was looking forward to meeting the people in Connor. “I see this as an exciting role for the diocese. It is the way churches need to go to start to engage with community and to grow the Kingdom and be an influence on the community,” he said.

Trevor is married to Karen and has two daughters, Laura, 22, and Joy, 19. He will take up his post in Connor Diocese on August 1 2012.

The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, welcomed Trevor’s appointment. “I am thrilled that Trevor is coming to work in the Diocese of Connor. His expertise, experience and people skills will be of immense value to us all as we look to the future and the development of Connor Diocese,” the Bishop said.

Church of Ireland Historical Society meeting
The society will meet in the Robinson Library, Armagh on Saturday 28 April. The library is located at the northwest entrance gate to the Church of Ireland Cathedral.
•    10.30am: Coffee in the Deanery (accessed via the entrance to the library)
•    11.00am: Dr Robert Armstrong, ‘The Solemn League and Covenant (1643) and Protestant Ireland’
•    12.00pm: Prof. David Fitzpatrick, ‘Non–Covenanters: why one–quarter of Protestant Ulster dissented in 1912’
•    1.00pm: Lunch will be provided at a modest sum in the Cathedral Music Hall
•    2.00pm: Mr Robbie Roulston, ‘“We must fight and fight and fight again”: the Church of Ireland and opposition to free Protestant second–level education in the Irish state: 1966–72’
•    3.00pm: Dr Michael O’Neill, ‘A view into Ossory parishes in the eighteenth century: the evidence of Episcopal Visitation returns’

The Speakers
Dr Robert Armstrong is a senior lecturer in history at Trinity College, Dublin. He is one of the Principal Investigators on the IRCHSS Insular Christianity Project and co–editor of Irish Historical Studies. He has published widely on early modern Ireland and Britain, particularly the religious, political and intellectual history of the seventeenth century.

Prof. David Fitzpatrick is Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin. He has published extensively on the Irish revolution and international migration. In 2011 he published Solitary and wild: Frederick MacNeice and the salvation of Ireland. He is currently preparing a book entitled The Orange: Protestant brotherhood in Ireland since 1795 (Cambridge, forthcoming 2013).

Mr Robbie Roulston is an IRCHSS doctoral scholar at UCD. He held the Albert Lovett Scholarship in 2009–10. His thesis is entitled The Church of Ireland and the Irish state: institution, community and state relations, 1950–1972. It aims to provide an historical account of the Church of Ireland in the context of church–state relations as an institution.

Dr Michael O’Neill did his PhD in Architectural History at Trinity College, Dublin. He has published a number of important articles, particularly in relation to Irish cathedrals. His current project is cataloguing the extensive collections of 19th century architectural drawings of churches at the RCB Library.

This is funded by the Esme Mitchell Trust.

There will be an opportunity for members to renew their annual subscriptions, if they have not done so already. The annual subscription is £35 or €40. Non–members are most welcome. They are asked to subscribe £7 or €10 to assist with conference expenses.

The Church of Ireland Historical Society meets twice a year: in the Robinson Library, Armagh, in April, and in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, in November. It exists to promote scholarly interest in the history of the Church, and to facilitate publication.

Queries may be addressed to Adrian Empey, Hon. Sec. Telephone +353–1–4055056 or Email: empeya@tcd.ie

Glenageary choir to sing mass in neighbouring church
Next Sunday 22nd April, St Paul’s Church Choir, Glenageary, Co Dublin considers it will be making history. The choir will sing at the 6.30pm Mass in the neighbouring church of Our Lady of Victories together with the resident choir there. Over the last few years, St Paul’s choir has been getting to know some neighbouring choirs, and for the last 2 years have enjoyed having Our Lady of Victories Choir sing with them in St Paul’s to help celebrate its patronal festival each January. On Sunday the celebrant will be Revd Fr Henry Nevin PP and the cantor will be Revd Paul Arbuthnot (curate St Paul’s). Music directed by Brian McCann and Derek Verso with Barry Courtney, organist. Similarly, last year St Paul’s Choir combined with the choir of Monkstown Parish Church to sing Choral Evensong together and it is planned that this will take place again on 20th May, this time in St Paul’s Church.

New Chaplain for Kingston College

The Trustees of the Kingston Charity Trust (the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross; the Bishop of Cashel and Ossory; the Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe; the Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne and Ross; and, Mr J.K. Roberts) are pleased to announce the appointment of the Reverend Michael Thompson as Chaplain of Kingston College, Mitchelstown, County Cork.  Kingston College was founded 250 years ago and Michael Thompson will be welcomed as Chaplain on the occasion of the anniversary Service on 1st May.

Michael Thompson was born in 1955 and is a native of Armagh where he sang in the cathedral choir and was confirmed by Archbishop George Otto Simms. The influence of that Primate, of Canon Hector Love and of the worshipping life of the cathedral did much to foster his vocation. He was educated at the Royal School, the University of St Andrews, University College Cardiff and the University of Durham and read for Holy Orders at Saint Michael’s College Llandaff.

Ordained deacon in 1979 and priest in 1980 by the then Bishop of Llandaff, he served curacies in that diocese and then at Saint Mary Abbots, Kensington in the diocese of London. Having been minor canon and sacrist of Westminster Abbey he held incumbencies in the East of England and here in Ireland. He has been a minor canon of Saint Patrick’s Dublin and of Cork.

He describes his ministry as a spiritual journey of faith seeking understanding. He tries to ensure that his preaching is carefully prepared and succinct. ‘Given to hospitality’ he has generally found clerical life, for all its demands and its profound spiritual rewards, can be (and should be) a lot of fun. Michael believes that in our search for God questions can be at least as important as answers and that boundaries are to protect and focus enquiry rather than to establish a grim uniformity or glib orthodoxy. Sacramental in ethos he seeks meaning through sign and gesture, art and wonder as much as through words and definition. Ordering worship in a way which is engaging, traditional and yet accessible, concise and free has been a major part of his work throughout his priestly ministry. Interested in history, music, literature and liturgy he has no pretensions to profound scholarship. He enjoys walking, conversation, entertaining and Burgundy – in both senses!

Dark memories of ethnic cleansing recalled in film
Herald.ie -The dark story of a Protestant family driven from Ireland at the height of the Civil War was recalled last night in an RTE film.Canon George Salter has served the people of Cork city as a Church of Ireland minister for most of his life — he is almost 87.But despite his dedication to the Irish language and enthusiasm for traditional music and folklore, George’s family was once deemed unwelcome here. The film revisits the Irish equivalent of ethnic cleansing.

How will the long slow secularisation of Ireland affect NI’s future politics?
Slugger O’Toole – Of course falling church attendances pre-date the past fifteen years or so. I once heard a priest…..funnily enough a “Red” say that the difference between the Provisionals and the Stickies was that a Provo went to Mass weekly but a Sticky went to Mass …

Guilty priest flees to Ireland from USA
News10.net – A Diocese of Stockton CA priest recently found guilty of three counts of child molestation and under investigation for an alleged similar crime has gone back to Ireland. Father Michael Kelly, who served at St. Joachim’s Catholic Church in …  Victim : “The Catholic Church is one of the most powerful institutions in history, yet when it comes to trying to find their pedophile priests that fled, it usually says its hands are tied.”