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Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’

Recovery Grant for St Anne’s Cathedral

While most people have become used to the current restrictions on movement and assembly there is a growing view that the restrictions on public worship have been unnecessarily severe. The effects have been particularly marked on the larger cathedrals which are not also parish churches. Most have small non–resident congregations and depend on visitors not only as worshippers but also as vital sources of tourist related revenue. The costs of maintaining large historic buildings are considerable as too are the challenges of supporting musical establishments.

In Northern Ireland, society is opening up more quickly than in the Republic and it is encouraging that St Anne’s cathedral, Belfast, has been awarded £62,200 to help it recover from the impact of the Covid–19 pandemic. The funding will help Belfast Cathedral make essential repairs to the baptistry and ambulatory.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund announced grants from the Heritage Recovery Fund which were awarded to organisations and individuals in the heritage sector – historic sites, attractions and landscapes, tour guides and specialist heritage conservators. The Heritage Recovery Fund is part of the £29 million Northern Ireland Executive allocation that was made to the Department for Communities to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors which have been severely impacted by Covid–19. Paul Mullan, from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, creating economic prosperity and supporting personal wellbeing. All of these are going to be vitally important as we emerge from the current pandemic.”

While St Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin, has received substantial government funding for its roof repair project it remains to be seen what supports might be available to assist the other cathedrals in the Republic as they seek to recover from the effects of the  pandemic.

In the meantime, life goes on and St Mary’s cathedral. Limerick, has announced a new series of free online lunchtime talks on the theme of ‘2021 Anniversaries’. The series will begin on Tuesday 11 May at 1.15pm when Dr Brian Murphy OSB from Glenstal Abbey will speak about ‘Winnie Barrington, innocent victim of war’. On subsequent Tuesdays, Canon Patrick Comerford will talk about the Limerick scientist, John D. Bernal; architect, Maria Donoghue, will consider the work of the social reformer, Robert Owen; poet, Vivienne McKechnie will talk about John Keats; and Noreen Ellerker, Tourism Officer at Saint Mary’s cathedral, will speak about the fashion designer, Coco Chanel.

Tomorrow (Sunday) there will be a Service on RTÉ One at 11.10am (11.00 on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra / LW252) with Christian Aid Ireland, in advance of their annual Christian Aid Week. Christian Aid CEO Rosamond Bennett will lead the service with the sermon delivered by their Chairperson, the Revd Dr Liz Hughes. 

The members of the Church Leaders’ Group (Ireland) will lead a service on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Ulster tomorrow (Sunday) morning to mark the centenary of the partition of the island of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland. The Radio 4 Sunday Worship service will begin at 8.10am and the Radio Ulster Morning Service will run from 10.15am.   

The new Bishop of Clogher, Dr Ian Ellis, will address the diocese when he preaches at the 11.00am service in Enniskillen Cathedral tomorrow (Sunday) morning. This will be live streamed and can be accessed by clicking on the red circle at www.enniskillencathedral.com. A recording of this service will also be available at the same website after the live service has concluded.

Church of Ireland Notes

Published in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times

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