Monday, 21 June 2021

CSNL News - July/August 2021


Issue 66 CSNL NEWS July/August, 2021

Parish Of Celbridge & Straffan with Newcastle-Lyons

Church of Ireland United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough

By the parishioners - for the parishioners

From Our Rector - Dear Friends ..

As I write these notes it certainly seems that Summer has come - to most of us that is good news but to those sitting State and College exams it makes it all the more challenging and I would like to wish all exam students the very best at this time and as they wait for results which may not determine but can certainly influence the future trajectory of their lives. Lots of people, not just students, have hopes and dreams for the future and that is no bad thing but if one thing the past year has taught us is to live in the moment as we really do not know what tomorrow will bring. During lockdown we learnt to appreciate more of the simple and immediate things and to live day by day. In many ways while at times frustrating it is a healthy alternative to a life where we are always looking forward to the next thing and not appreciating that which is under our noses. Every day is a blessing and our lives are happening now - we dont have to wait until we can fly again or eat indoors or go to concerts (and yes I am looking forward to all those things) - let us continue to find joy in the everyday and celebrate every morning that we have the privilege of walking on this good Earth.

Yours Stephen

Zoom Coffee & WhatsApp Group

The Sunday Zoom meetings have been discontinued due to the return to public worship but the midweek chat remains on Wednesdays at 8 p.m., Anyone wishing to join can contact our Rector. Numbers and participants vary but it has provided an opportunity for fellowship.

The WhatsApp group which has reached 100 members continues to be a very lively forum of the sacred and the sublime with a good smattering of satire thrown in.

Services - normal pattern now that we are back to public worship

Sunday Newcastle 9 a.m. Straffan 10.15 a.m. Celbridge 11.30 a.m.

1st Holy Communion Service of Word Holy Communion

2nd Service of Word Holy Communion Service of Word

3rd Holy Communion Morning Prayer Holy Communion

4th Morning Prayer Holy Communion Morning Prayer

Aug 29th United Service 11.30 a.m. Christ Church, Celbridge

Note 1: There may be variations on major feast days.

Note 2: At the request of some parishioners we are having an occasional service from the BCP Rite 1/Traditional (as announced).

National Heritage Week - 14th - 22nd August, 2021

For those who attended the above over the last couple of years in Celbridge with the visit of Brian McCann from Newgrange Falconry, there was good news that a rare Golden Eagle chick was born at the falconry school. Boru, the father, bred in Germany, is 33 years old and the mother, Sky, is originally from Russia, is about 28. Brian had been trying to breed for a number of years. Golden Eagles live to about 50 years of age in captivity and 30 in the wild. The week is about getting as many people to enjoy heritage as possible. For more information


Barbara Lett & Andrew Jackson were married in Straffan Church on Saturday, 15th May in front of a real and a virtual congregation who joined in via Zoom with the 50 others allowed to attend in person. It was a lovely occasion, the first and only wedding in the parish this year due to Covid postponements. The sun shone on the newly weds as they left the church. We wish Barbara & Andrew every blessing in their married life together.

Primrose Hill National School

The school closes on Thursday, 24th June with an online closing service. We wish all the children and staff an enjoyable break for the Summer and thank Ms. Manning who has been acting Principal during Mrs. Floods maternity leave.

Slip Halls

It is good to see the various groups and activities beginning to return to the Slip Hall - a very tangible sign of the opening up of society as we slowly but steadily move out of the Covid Era. It is also good to welcome Paul and son Jack Carmody of Paul Carmody Picture Framing as tenants to the Lower Hall. We wish them all the best in developing their business.

Farewell & Thanks

Dr. John Darlow of Celbridge, a long time member of the choir and regular and distinguished lesson reader in Christ Church, Celbridge has just returned to the UK after many years in Ireland. On Sunday, 30th May, we had a small presentation and Covid friendly coffee reception to mark the occasion at the end of the service. John was presented with a large framed photograph of the Church and a card signed by most of the regular parishioners in Christ Church. The picture was taken and printed by Dallas Camier and was very appropriately beautifully framed on site in the Lower Hall by Paul Carmody Picture Framing (now tenant in the Lower Hall). We will miss John who was very much a part of the community of faith in our parish and a friend to so many. He will be especially remembered for the beautiful and often dramatic way in which he read the readings. We wish him every blessing in this new chapter in his life and hope he will visit us on holidays in the years to come.

Purple Llama Market

The market is held in the grounds of Christ Church, Celbridge from 11 a.m., to 4 p.m., with a variety of crafts and coffee each Sunday.

Chuckle Time - Parish Newsletter Blunder - For Post Pandemic!

The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment and gracious hostility.


Thanks to Geoffrey McMaster who took the services on Sunday, 6th June and also to all those maintaining the grounds of the three churches.

Bishops Appeal /Diocesan Appeal/Christian Aid

The Church of Ireland Bishops Appeal has released 10,000 in emergency funding to support Covid relief efforts in India. Individuals and parishes are invited to contribute to support these efforts. Funds will be channelled to partner agencies working on the ground in communities in India providing vital support and supplies. At the end of April, 100,000 lives have been lost to the pandemic in India. We can only imagine the distress the doctors and nurses are working in to care, as best they can with extremely limited resources for the sick and the dying in the hospitals. Let us remember the doctors and nurses who have travelled to our country from India and provided care for our citizens over the last year in the hospitals and nursing homes throughout Ireland. These are very valued members of our healthcare staff and it would be one way of showing them how much we value their contribution to our society reports Rev. Albert


The grand total for the Al Ahli Hospital Diocesan Appeal in Gaza is 17,874.60 - Geoffrey Mc Master reports and thanks all who supported it.

Dee Huddleston thanks all those who supported the Walk for Water around the three churches. So far, 1,113.00 has been raised, but there is some more to come in. Thanks to everybody for their generosity as this is a super amount to raise and will really make a difference to the ladies and children who have to walk long (and often dangerous) journeys each day simply to collect water. On 29th May, Dee was joined by Elizabeth, Liz & Florence for a very enjoyable walk at the three churches with their buckets of water.


We remember all those who are sick at home, in hospital or nursing homes especially during the pandemic, those who care for them, those who have lost their livelihood due to Covid-19, those who were isolated in their homes not able to see/visit friends and loved ones, those bereaved, all front line staff, all those in government and the HSE who have decisions to make, those producing and administering the vaccine so that we can have more freedom, yet still abide by all the rules.

Services Before & After Churches Re-opened

On Sunday, 2nd May, prior to the service, Rev. Stephen announced that church services would resume on Sunday, 16th May. The Service of the Word again was videod from the Rectory garden with sound effects of breeze, planes and a wood pigeon! On the final service broadcast from the Rectory garden prior to the churches opening since Christmas Day, when it came to silence for prayer or thanksgiving, the birds joined in in thanksgiving! Rev. Stephen spoke about an Indian Evangelist, who had converted from Sikhism to Christianity, was walking with a friend in the mountain, came upon a man dying in the snow. His companion went ahead but the evangelist lifted the man on to his back and slowly the heat in his body revived the dying man enough for both of them to be able to walk together, when they found the man who went ahead, dead in the snow. The theme was laying down ones life for ones friends. Our Rector mentioned that during Covid-19 more money was spent on saving lives than destroying for a very long time. Love will prevail. Thanks to those who did readings - young and old - from all parts of the parish.

Covid measures remain in place until advised otherwise but it was wonderful to be able to be in each others company as we worship and witness together as a Church family and community. While it was lovely to see familiar faces please do not feel under any pressure to come back until you are ready to do so. For those there will be a recording of 1 of the 3 morning services broadcast on Sunday afternoons.

For those of us who could, it was wonderful to worship together again from Sunday, 16th May and especially on Pentecost to receive Holy Communion for the first time since Christmas Day. Rev. Stephen had sent out a suggestion to keep him company and wear something red - Pentecost is about the Spirit coming to us as tongues of flame - and many did enter into the spirit! If there was a prize it would have gone to the husband and wife who wore matching red masks in Straffan!

From The Editor

The closing date for the next issue of CSNL NEWS will be Monday, 30th August.

Certificate In Christian Theology And Practice - Report By Dee Huddleston

I have always enjoyed being involved in the life of our parish in various ways but a couple of years ago I felt that I would like to become more involved and study to hopefully become a Lay Reader. So, I applied to begin training last year and, following some initial study and early discussion about the course with Reverend John Tanner and a subsequent interview, I was fortunate enough to be selected for training in the above certificate. This is a new course jointly taught by the Church of Ireland Theological Institute and Trinity College and it aims to provide the tools for participants to develop their theological foundations in preparation for lay ministry or for ordination. It is a very interesting and challenging course, which runs for twelve months, and so far we have studied the Old Testament, the Creeds, the New Testament and Leading Public Worship. I had thought that I knew some of these subjects pretty well but have found them to be much more interesting than I had previously thought. I am not entirely sure where the study leads after the initial twelve months, as this is a new programme, but hopefully will manage to stay the course and be able to serve and share what I have learned before too long.

Organisation Focus - Church In Chains

The Church in Chains Global Guide lists 60 countries where Christians face persecution because of their faith. The Guide divides the countries into three categories - severe (many or all Christians face persecution including imprisonment, torture, murder or violent mob attacks, significant (some, but not all, Christians face arrest, attack or serious restrictions) and limited (some churches or individuals face restriction or discrimination). An independent Irish charity, it encourages prayer and action in support of persecuted Christians worldwide. Two Christian men in India have been killed in separate states and Pastor Yang Hua has been brutally beaten in a police station in China, recently.

Calendar Of Events


Mon 30 Closing date for material for CSNL NEWS.

Quiz In Aid Of St. Brigids Hospice, Curragh - Answers

Thanks to our Rector for sharing the quiz on social media. There were 210 entries from 18 counties!

1. Likes the woodland (4) FERN

2. A Christmas wreath (5) HOLLY

3. Shade of green (5) OLIVE/KELLY

4 Evening (8) PRIMROSE

5. In the eye (4) IRIS

6. LILACAM - Anagram (7) CAMILLA

7. Spring blossom (6) CHERRY

8. Marks remembrance (5) POPPY

9. Weeping/used for baskets (6) WILLOW

10. Mrs. Bucket (8) HYACINTH

11. CARNIVOE - Anagram (8) VERONICA

12. A climber (3) IVY

13. Symbol of love (4) ROSE

14. of the valley (4) LILY

15. Sweet .. (7) WILLIAM

16. Makes a chain (5) DAISY

17. Covers the hills (7 ) HEATHER

18. Brush or Fawlty (5 ) BASIL

19. .. du Maurier (6) DAPHNE

20. Seasoning with lamb (8) ROSEMARY

21. Princess in Aladdin (7) JASMINE

22. A stringed instrument (5) VIOLA

23. TRYLEM - Anagram (6) MYRTLE

24. Nut (5) HAZEL


1st - Helen Armitage - Tipperary.

2nd - Yvonne Treacy - Wexford.

3rd - Hazel Pearson - Kildare.

Incompleted/incorrect - Hazel Hemmingway - Waterford.

The quiz made 1,431.00 for The Friends of St. Brigids Hospice & Home Care Services. The Curragh. Valerie & Lilian.

Whos Who In The Parish

Rector: Rev. Stephen Neill 01-6288231 087-2328172

Keep up to date on & &

NON Going Events!

Craft & Chat/ Time Of Prayer For Healing & Whist Drives will resume when the Pandemic is considerably less of a threat.

Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Sermon for Trinity Sunday

 Apologies no service video today due to me selecting wrong frequency on sound input into camera 😐

Sermon below:

Sermon for Trinity Sunday 2021

I begin with a question: How many of you lie awake at night wondering about the Theology of the Trinity? – Or alternatively how many of you dream about how the three persons of the Godhead are related?

....................I thought so............. its really not up there with your immediate and most pressing concerns.............You're probably much more absorbed and distracted by more mundane matters like trying to help a family member through the Leaving Cert or looking after a relative who is unwell or perhaps contemplating how you are going to adjust to going back to work after the pandemic or maybe planning a family wedding.

Lets face it the Trinity is not something that most people think of a lot – especially those who are not involved with institutional religion and or the mainstream churches.

Look at the evangelical churches and house churches and I would guess that very few of them are talking about the Trinity this morning. Its not even explicitly defined in the Bible though it is certainly strongly implied.

So why do we have a Sunday set aside to discuss and investigate the internal nature of the Godhead? Is it not even a bit arrogant on our part to think that we might possibly understand the inter-relationships of the persons of the Trinity?

The only way in which we can know God is in how God chooses to reveal Godself to us? God can never be an object in our eyes. God is always subject – I Am – The initiative is always with God and as 1st Corinthians reminds us 'Now we see through a glass darkly'.

To my mind Trinity Sunday is a call to humility ..................

..........  not something we are very good at but something that is essential if we are not to loose something absolutely vital by reducing faith into an intellectual and rather cold exercise.  

I'm not saying we leave our brains and our intelect outside the room but that we learn that celebrating our relationship with God is perhaps more important than discecting it and even if we do it won't make any difference to that reality. God is God regardless of our attempts to define or understand God and the more we define usually the more we limit.

We love to tie things down in tidy definitions and define Truth in terms of Black and White.

I came across a lovely cartoon when I was preparing this sermon – It shows a scribe in the desert transcribing a long scroll and alongside is his friend or colleague who says with more than a hint of irony:

'Quit worrying about corroborating your sources – its not as if anyone's going to take all this literally”

But we do! We live in a fundamentally literal black and white culture which has little room for a wider and more generous definition of Truth.

Nowhere is this more clearly to be seen than in social media where people's whole lives can be torn asunder by a few words in a tweet, instagram or facebook post....We hop on words and we use them as weapons – We use words to divide – we use words to conquer - Heaven help anone who uses the wrong word for they will be crucified.

And that was ironically the history of the doctrine of the Trinity – wars were fought and blood was spilled before the formulae we find in our creeds today was settled on. All because of words!

Does that mean we throw away our creeds – that we do away with these ancient formulas of faith because of the bloody context in which they found their present form? No – I don't think so but it does mean that we perhaps look at them in a differnt light.

The great modern church historian Jaroslav Pelikan who was a great favourite of mine puts it so well when he says this about the recitation of creeds – and incidentally he was an advocate of singing the creeds:

“the singing of the creed is a very important and cherished way of indicating a universality of the faith across not only space, but time. To know that in the Philippines this morning this was the creed that was recited at mass and to know that the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century and Thomas Aquinas in the 13th, and my late father and grandfather all affirmed this.

It’s ‘we’ all of us together. And in a more profound sense, that also forms an answer to your — to your question. My faith and my faith life, like that of everyone else, fluctuates. There are ups and downs and hot spots and cold spots and boredom and ennui and all the rest can be there. And so I’m not asked of a Sunday morning as of 9:20, what do you believe? And then you sit down with a 3×5 index card and say, “Now, let’s see. What do I believe today?” No, that’s not what they’re asking me. They’re asking me, “Are you a member of a community which now for millennium and a half has said, “We believe in one God.” And so that’s what I affirm when I sing it”

And so back to the Trinity which is at the core of those creeds – it seems to me that the Trinity is an invitation.................

An invitation into a relationship with God and a relationship with one another in the Body of Christ – an invitation to participate in the mystery of God, not to define and understand it for that is ultimately impossible for us mere mortals but to celebrate and embrace it.

 And what do we do when we celebrate? – We sing! (It seems Professer Pelikan was onto something here)

What else do we do? – we let go of ourselves and our need to be in control – to have all the answers – to know what is Truth – to exlude and to narrow the generosity of God ......

We become part of something bigger as in humility we relinquish our ego and we come closer to the true Word as we let go of our words.


Saturday, 29 May 2021

Christian Aid - Walk for Water


Thank you to these three ladies for a very enjoyable Walk for Water at the three churches in our parish this morning. It was lovely company Elizabeth, Liz and Florence - you are just great. We will have a bucket in all three churches tomorrow and next Sunday, if anyone wishes to support the initiative. Thanks to everyone who has already supported. Dee Huddleston