Thursday, 21 May 2020

CSNL NEWS May/June 2020

Issue 59      CSNL NEWS         May/June, 2020
Parish Of Celbridge & Straffan with Newcastle-Lyons
Church of Ireland United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough
By the parishioners - for the parishioners


Betty Beatties retirement from the organ - St. Finians Church.

Womens World Day Of Prayer - Slip Hall

From Our Rector - Dear Friends ..
As is the case everywhere these days the community life of the parish has moved online.  Our weekly services continue on YouTube and last Sunday (17th May) we had our first Zoom Coffee Morning after our morning worship.  There were about 15 participants and we chatted together for just over an hour - it was good to see old friends and indeed some new faces too.  Our parish WhatsApp group remains very active as a meeting point for many of the parishioners and if anyone wants to be added to it just let me know.  On Sunday, 10th May we had an online colouring competition which was linked into an all age service from Straffan Church with video contributions from throughout the parish.  A parish quiz to be set by our Magazine Editor and veteran quizzer Lilian Webb is among the online activities planned for the immediate future and no doubt other initiatives will be forthcoming, including perhaps an online Songs of Praise.

We do however look forward to the relaxation (if possible) of the current restrictions, especially for those who are separated from loved ones or those in hospital or nursing homes at this time.  For them this has been an especially trying time.

I know from talking to parishioners that many are spending their time in arts and crafts activities - I can testify personally that my wife has knitted more since the lockdown than she has throughout the entirety of our marriage - I may yet get that long promised Aran jumper!

Our thoughts are with our younger people too and for our Primary School aged pupils the difficulty of the sudden and unexpected end of their primary education without the chance to say goodbye to friends, teachers and school staff.  And while our Leaving Certificate students may be relieved that they will not have to face exams we are aware of the difficulties that may lie ahead in providing fair assessment. 

These are uncertain times and our prayers are with all those who are anxious and worried at this time.  As a rector (and I am sure my experience is not unique) I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank you the parishioners for your support for me and my family throughout this difficult time - Ministry is a two way street and we will get through this together and with Gods help.  I finish with a poem by Wendell Berry which for me is a great comfort and encouragement.  

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my childrens lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water; and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence of still water:
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.  For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Every blessing.                                                                                                            Stephen

As I have mentioned before this has been an especially trying time for those who have lost loved ones with the severe limitations on funeral services.  May God comfort all those who mourn.  Among those are:

Vic Murphy of Crodaun, Celbridge.  Vic was a much loved parishioner and friend to so many, especially those often unseen and unnoticed by others.  A very compassionate man with a deep reverence for nature and his environment and an innate sense of justice and concern for the oppressed.  He was an active member of the Vestry and a man who gave much of himself to others.  We think especially of his wife Bernie, sons Lucas, Patrick, Ronan & Cian, mother Robin, siblings Eva, Sarah, Robert & Ed, grandchildren Avery & Adrien, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, the extended family and his many friends.  Vics funeral took place in Christ Church, Celbridge on Monday,16th March and cremation followed in Mount Jerome, Harolds Cross.

Olivia Huber was as I said at her graveside one of the bravest ladies I have ever met.  A much loved parishioner of Newcastle parish Olivia was very suddenly struck down with an illness which she always knew was unbeatable in medical terms.  But despite this bleak prognosis she remained upbeat and positive and even when she could no longer speak would converse by writing on her little notepad that was always with her - she may not have beaten the illness but she did not let it define her and she remained herself to the end.  Her funeral and burial all took place in Newcastle Cemetery on 16th April and as the sun shone brightly we sang her favourite hymns as her body was laid to rest.  Our thoughts are especially with her children Karen & David, their partners David & Hazel, grandchildren Megan, Kyle, Holly & Ryan, sisters Elizabeth, Susette & Pamela, brothers Albert, John & Fergus, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Our prayers are with Willie Harris, Newcastle, & George Harris Straffan on the death of their sister Irene Gillis on April 4th.  We also remember her husband Alan, children, Nigel, Hazel, Barry & Anna (pre-deceased by her son Stephen), son-in-law Leonard, daughters-in-law Catherine & Wendy, Annas partner Stuart, grandchildren, brothers, nephews, nieces, extended family and friends. 

Womens World Day Of Prayer - 6th March - Slip Hall, Celbridge
Thanks to all who took part in the above which was prepared by the women of Zimbabwe with the theme Rise - take your mat and walk!.  The service, which was led by Dee Huddleston,  was well prepared and many took part both men and women in the readings, prayers and playing of drums and tambourines.  As always the service concludes with The day thou gavest, Lord is ended.  There was opportunity afterwards for tea and scones and chat.  The collection amounted to 213.00.  In 2021 the service will be prepared by the women of Vanuatu on the theme Build a strong foundation.

Tips For Helping Teens Through The Crisis
Susie Keegan, Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator gives advice on talking mental health, creating spaces, making a worry jar, exercising and cutting down on negative news in an article in the Church Review - and can be contacted at  Other links are and

Younger Kids!
Our Rector has posted on this link -  There is a very good telling of the story of Jonah and the whale by Copperpot the Orangutan and also a story with a hen!

Bettys Retirement
Sunday, 23rd February marked Betty Beatties retirement as organist of St. Finians Church, Newcastle-Lyons.  It was a day which marked a remarkable achievement as Betty had served well over 50 years and had played the organ in Newcastle across six decades.  It was however also a sad day, the end of an era as someone who had accompanied regular worship, days of celebration and days of sadness with her playing finally stepped back from the keyboard and took a seat in the congregation. There was a presentation on the day and not too much fuss at Bettys request.  We wish Betty a long and happy retirement and thank her for her gift of music shared so generously with us.

Non Calendar Of Events!
No Car Boot Sales, services in churches, meetings in the Slip Hall,  Whist Drives, Craft & Chat, Primrose Hill School closed & Confirmation date postponed!

CMS Link Mission Partners - Keith & Lyn Scott - Easter 2020
Zambia is presently not in lockdown due to Covid 19, though there is advice on social distancing and hand washing, there is no serious adherence to the rules.  Poor people have limited access to water for a start.  There are regular power cuts.  Before Covid 19 there was some mob violence in the townships where life is very tough.  The economy has been on the edge leading to deprivations and social problems.  Fear of the virus is an extra burden.  Please pray that the Corona Virus will not sweep through Africa as feared, bearing in mind how under-equipped countries are and how inadequate their resources.  As a seminary we are soldiering on, staying open for the short-term but being cautious and wary.  The students are safer in the seminary than travelling to their home dioceses for their Easter break, but if there is a lockdown they will be separated from their families.  Please pray for their families, for understanding and patience.  In these uncertain and bewildering times, we need to look at the example of Christ our Lord and Saviour.  His trust in the Father and the promise of the Holy Spirit to always be with us.  These assurances give us an anchor.

Chuckle Time!
Harry left his place in the choir and made his way to the lectern for the first lesson.  He ascended the steps and began to read from Isaiah in his deep bass voice: Thus says the Lord, I am the Lord your God.  Delighted he had discovered the truth at long last, four year old Timothy looked up and said, Oh, so thats who God is!

From Friday, 13th March all church services and events in the Slip Hall were closed as a result of the Corona Virus regulations.  Thanks to our Rector for producing services for all Sundays since Mothering Sunday and being able to remind us of the inside of all the churches.  There have also been meaningful services produced by our Rector for Holy Week and on several Wednesdays from the Rectory study.  These have been very much appreciated by those who have the facility to watch on their devices.  The Editor has enjoyed belting out the hymns while participating in the services with nobody to hear.  She also hears that some people have been watching the services in bed/pyjamas!  It has also been good to see other parishioners
participating in the prayers and readings.

Fundraising Challenge For Christian Aid By Dee Huddleston
As some people know, I work for Christian Aid and normally May is our busiest month when a large portion of our annual funds are raised through various church community events.  This year, along with all other charities or development agencies, this is just not possible so we have to look to other ways to support the communities that we work with.  With this in mind, I decided that I would walk 5kms every day in May carrying two containers of water and ask people if they would consider sponsoring me to do this.  While I have a choice to do this, many of the people that we work with, almost always women and children, do not have such a choice.  They have to walk long distances every day just to collect water.  Rose, who lives in Kenya, is a 67 year old grandmother and she has to walk for six hours every day, carrying two jerry cans to collect water, just to keep her family going. 

Thanks so much to the kindness and generosity of lots of people, the amount raised so far (17th May) is just over 1,400, and I am so grateful for this.  However, I am hopeful that I can raise even more over the coming two weeks as this will make a huge difference to Rose and to others like her in vulnerable communities across our world.  I have set up a Just giving page (Dee Huddleston/Dees 5x5) but have also received many donations directly as this can be an easier way for people and am so grateful for every single gesture of support.

The Church Review
The May edition was only available on line - unfortunately for those who have subscribed and do not have this facility.  The April edition is probably waiting to be read when churches re-open!

Whos Who In The Parish
Rector:  Rev. Stephen Neill                            01-6288231                 087-2328172                                                   

2020 - A Fresh Vision

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