Saturday 22 January 2022

Lifting of restrictions - To all Parishioners

To all Parishioners:

Dear Friends – Like you I am delighted to see real signs of the end of the Covid pandemic. Yesterday's announcement by the Taoiseach was however far more radical than most of us expected.

On a personal level I am very happy at the accelerated removal of restrictions which among other things will allow congregational singing once again. This is a most welcome development as it is a vital element of Anglican worship. I think it is ony right that at this point we thank all our organists and choirs who have made music on our behalf during these difficult days as we now look forward to joining with them once again.

Also welcome will be the return to Holy Communion in both kinds (both bread and wine), the physical exchange of the Peace, the freedom to sit next to our friends from other households, the end of signing in at the church door and in time the end of mask wearing.

I am conscious that there are some, perhaps many who are more reticent about the sudden return to 'business as usual' and I believe we must respect those concerns in how we respond to the relaxation of restrictions. We went into this pandemic together and we must come out of it together. We are the Body of Christ and every member matters.

It may be that the thought of sitting in a church at close proximity to others and without the protection of masks will be too much for some of our parishioners. Some will be afraid of shaking hands or getting a hug from a well meaning friend or catching covid from a shared chalice and many who are medically vulnerable or have family members in that category will be doing all that they can to avoid infection.

In the light of this I would suggest that for the next few weeks (not indefinitely) we continue to wear masks. They are not now legally mandated but they are reccomended and for the sake of those who in a maskless context will be uncomfortable coming to church I ask that where possible you wear a mask. Also while social distancing is not now mandated let us all give each other enough space to feel comfortable (Including at the exchange of the Peace) – For better or worse our churches are far bigger than our current numbers and so this is very possible.

Regarding Holy Communion – I propose to continue with distribution in one kind only (bread wafer) for the next few weeks.

I am optimistic that as we move into February these remaining measures can fall away but hopefully holding back a little for each others sake will allow all of to transition together into a new and better future.

For those who for whatever reason cannot attend church services there will continue to be a recording of one of the Sunday services available on YouTube on Sunday afternoons. (Link will be posted on parish website

And so after nearly 2 years of muted congregations it seems appropriate to end with the opening verse of Psalm 96: 'Let us sing a new song unto the Lord!'

NB: Church Services at usual times tomorrow (Sunday 23rd Jan)

The following Sunday (30th January) United service of Holy Communion in Christ Church Celbridge at 11.30am – No services in Newcastle or Straffan on 30th January)


Monday 17 January 2022

CSNL News - January February 2022


Issue 69 CSNL NEWS January/Febuary, 2022

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 ..

Happy New Year! How are the Resolutions going? I asked the children in Primrose Hill on our weekly zoom assembly last week to put their hands up if they had broken any of theirs yet - most of them did (as did I) and I suspect many of you are in the same place. It is hard to make a fresh start especially in January when many of us have a touch of the post-Christmas Blues.

Perhaps looking back to the origins of New Years Resolutions might help - 4000 years ago the Babylonians were the first to hold recorded celebrations in honour of the new year - though for them the year began not in January but in mid-March, when the crops were planted. During a massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. These promises could be considered the forerunners of our New Years resolutions. If the Babylonians kept to their word, their (pagan) gods would bestow favour on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods favour - a place no one wanted to be.

A similar practice occurred in ancient Rome when Julius Caesar changed the calendar and established January 1 as the beginning of the new year circa 46 BC. Named for Janus, the two-faced god, January had special significance for the Romans. Believing that Janus symbolically looked backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future, the Romans offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.

For early Christians, the first day of the new year became the traditional occasion for thinking about ones past mistakes and resolving to do and be better in the future. In 1740, the English clergyman John Wesley, founder of Methodism, created the Covenant Renewal Service, most commonly held on New Years Eve or New Years Day. Also known as watch night services, they included readings from Scriptures and hymn singing, and served as a spiritual alternative to the raucous celebrations normally held to celebrate the coming of the new year. Now popular within evangelical Protestant churches, especially African American denominations and congregations, watch night services held on New Years Eve are often spent praying and making resolutions for the coming year.

Despite the traditions religious roots, New Years resolutions today are a mostly secular practice. Instead of making promises to God most people make resolutions only to themselves, and focus purely on self-improvement which is probably why we fail - we look to ourselves and not outside of ourselves to others and to God.

Statistically only 8% of New Years Resolutions are kept! I wonder what that statistic might look like if we asked God to help us? Why not give it a try?

Blessings Stephen

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

5th 30/01/2022 United Holy Communion. 11.30. 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).

Bishops Appeal - Help & Hope In The Bleakness Of 2021

THANK YOU. Through the generosity of Church of Ireland dioceses, parishes and individuals, many who are in the throes of despair due to Covid-19, famine, displacement or natural disasters have received life saving supports. Our Covid-19 Appeal targeted vulnerable day labourers and pregnant and lactating mothers, providing emergency food and sanitation stations where jobs had been lost and markets were closed. Our India Appeal supported front line workers providing urgent medical assistance during the countrys second wave. Our Beirut Appeal continued to support people in Lebanon rebuild their lives long after the explosion, and long after media attention was directed elsewhere. And our Haiti Appeal supported the rebuilding of houses in the wake of the earthquake - houses that will withstand future cyclones and earthquakes and keep people safe.

TOGETHER WE CAN DO EVEN MORE. Supported internally displaced people due to the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia with food, hygiene kits, blankets, tarp, medical supplies (through Tearfund). Continued to support I am a Girl projects in Uganda, installing latrines and wash stations for girls to have privacy when menstruating so they can attend school. School gardens are also being developed to ensure the children have access to a meal (via Fields of Life). Funded the planting of 10,000 trees in South Sudan to support local church and community responses to Climate Change (via CMS Ireland). Enabled two villages in Malawi gain access to water via boreholes and eradicated open defecation by increasing latrines, rainwater harvesting and hygiene education (via Habitat for Humanity). Funded mobile health clinics in Bangladesh, supporting vulnerable people who live remotely to receive medical attention (via USPG). Provided emergency food to prevent starvation, seed distribution and conservation farming training in Ethiopia when crops failed due to lack of rain and food prices soared. We also supported the reduction in the spread of preventable diseases such as malaria and cholera in rural communities, which have been exacerbated by climate change (via Tearfund & Christian Aid). Thank you for your support that will bring hope over the next 12 months.

Harvest Service: St. Finians, Newcastle-Lyons

Having been delayed by the Covid Pandemic the Harvest Service was eventually arranged for Sunday, October, 21st. However, nature had a say in deciding the eventual date. Regrettably after a substantial congregation had gathered it was decided that a very old and large tree in the church yard which had developed a split in the trunk, posed a real danger, so a hard decision to postpone the service had to be taken. The rearranged service took place at 8 p.m, on Friday, 12th November.

A special liturgy had been drafted by our Rector & Geoffrey McMaster which focussed on the beauty and diversity of Gods Creation, and the affects of climate change. The Sermon took the form of a challenging video presentation on behalf of Bishops Appeal by Lydia Monds (Education Advisor). Lydia spoke about the way Bishops Appeal can help people all over the world and in particular small farmers in Malawi and a Mothers Union project (a Model Farm) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bee Keepers in West Africa. Lydia also spoke about the affects of climate change and the fact that 43 million people are suffering from hunger. She mentioned the Christian Aid Hunger Appeal. She reminded us that there is sufficient food in the world for everyone but one third of it is wasted. She called on all of us to act to save the rain forests that are being destroyed to make the rich even richer and leave the poor behind. She ended with those well-known words of the Prophet Micah - What does the Lord of the Harvest require you to do? Act justly. Love mercy. Walk Humbly. Micah 6:8. Geoffrey had made video presentations of the hymns - Come ye thankful People Come, For the Fruits of His Creation, Bringing in the Sheaves, We Plough the Fields and Scatter, concluding with God be With you til we meet again.

Register Of Vestry Persons

Anyone who wishes to be included on the Register (which is a list of parishioners with a right to vote at the Easter General Vestry/Parish AGM) please contact our Rector. You only need to register once and will remain on the register as long as you remain in the parish or associated with the parish.

Primrose Hill National School Annual Admission Notice

The school is now open for applications for admission for 2022/2023 school year but closes on 28th January, 2022. The number of places available in Junior Infants is 20. A copy of the schools admission Policy and the Application Form for Admission is available at On request by emailing or Admissions, Primrose Hill National School, Hazelhatch Road, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. W23 FP93.

Celbridge - A Photographic Record

Members of Celbridge Camera Club including Dallas Camier were featured on RTE1’s “Nationwide” on Monday, 13th December. As well as the book, which includes a photograph of our Rector, it featured various views of Straffan & Celbridge, together with interviews of Club members, which was filmed in the Slip Hall.

Church Lighting

Christ Church Celbridge were awarded 5,000 from Intel Ireland Pride of Place Competition to help pay for lights. A big thank you to Cullen McCarthy Electrical for all the work involved in fitting and to Intel.


We remember all those who are sick at home, in hospital or nursing homes, 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.

Organisation Focus - The Anne Sullivan Foundation

The organisation has launched their Deafblind Literacy Project and are looking for crafters and all interested in making things for tactile libraries all over the country. Contact Sorcha Nallen - 087-7462472 or for more details.


Deepest sympathy to Jackie Taylor on the death of Brian Taylor and also to their children, Neil, Alison, Fiona & Criddy. The funeral took place on Wednesday, 10th November at St. Patricks Church of Ireland, Slane, with the service and burial the following day. Brian was deeply involved in Straffan parish for many years and contributed much to the life of the parish. We pray comfort for all who mourn his loss.

Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity

This year the service has been prepared by the Churches of the Middle East with the theme We Saw His Star in the East. The week commences on 18th January and concludes on 25th January. The parish will observe it in prayer.


It is hoped to make an announcement for a date shortly.

Zoom Midweek Coffee Meeting Evenings & WhatsApp Group

Zoom chats continue on Wednesday evenings. New participants are always welcome. The parish WhatsApp group remains very active and is a useful point of contact and conversation. Contact our Rector if interested in joining the group/Zoom chats.

Ash Wednesday - 2nd March - & Lent

There will be a service of Holy Communion in Christ Church, Celbridge on Ash Wednesday at 11 a.m., and a service at 7.30 p.m., in Straffan Church. Details of Zoom Lenten meetings to be announced.

NON Going Events - Craft & Chat, Whist Drives, Time Of Prayer For Healing

In light of the virulent Omicron strain parish activities are still very curtailed and will remain so until there are signs in wider society of a considerable improvement.

The Church Review - Subscriptions Are Now Overdue!


A Christmas Carol service was held in Straffan Church on 19th December. Thanks to Jenny Shaw for playing the organ to accompany the choir. In the afternoon, a similar service was held in St. Finian’s Church. Between Christmas Eve and Sunday morning there were 5 services with the organist and choir in Celbridge doing 3 in the space of 20 hours which was quite a marathon. Numbers were down as was to be expected but there was a good atmosphere and a genuine sense of hope in the New Beginning that comes with the birth of Christ. Thanks to all who helped with the Christmas services especially organists and choirs, our Lay readers, church wardens and lesson readers and all who decorated the churches so festively!

Chuckle Time

Did you hear about the name of a 24 hour telephone answering service in California? BABYL-ON”

World Day Of Prayer - Friday, 4th March

Due to Covid, there will be no service this year.

Calendar Of Events


Tue 18 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity commences.

Tues 25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity concludes.

Fri 28 Closing date for applications for Primrose Hill School

admission 2022/2023.

Sun 30 United Service. Christ Church, Celbridge. 11.30 a.m.


Tue 1 St. Brigids Day.

Mon 28 Closing date for next Issue of CSNL NEWS.


Tue 1 St. Davids Day.

Wed 2 Ash Wednesday. Holy Communion. Christ Church,

Celbridge 11 a.m. Holy Communion. Straffan. 7.30


Fri 4 World Day of Prayer.

Whos Who In The Parish

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

Keep up to date on & &

Remembrance Sunday

Thanks to all who supported the Poppy Appeal in all three churches. Remembrance Sunday services included a pledge that the sacrifices of the men and women who fought, and often died, should not be forgotten.

My God shall supply all your need - Philippians 4:19