Friday, 29 November 2013

New beginnings as autumn’s
gold and yellow turns to winter

A mixture of late autumn and winter colours cluster beneath the trees at Avoca in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Patrick Comerford

Autumn has definitely turned to winter in Dublin. The mornings are cold and the evenings are dark so soon. There are heaving banks of yellow, golden, amber and brown leaves rustling beneath the trees along the banks of the Dodder and on the slopes beneath Rathfarnham village each morning as I head into work.

Late autumn or early winter ... a dark start to the day at Rathfarnham Bridge this morning (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Soon all the leaves will have fallen. But this has been the most beautiful autumn in Ireland in my memory, and still some autumn leaves seem to be lingering as they cling on to trees here and there.

This afternoon, two us went south into the northern rims of Co Wicklow, at the Gateway to the Garden of Ireland on the edges of the Wicklow Mountains, and had a late lunch in the Avoca centre in Kilmacanogue, between Bray and Enniskerry.

The windows of the pavilion in the Sugar Tree Café frame the trees and the mountains beyond (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

We ate in the pavilion behind the Sugar Tree Café and shop. The afternoon lights seemed to linger, and we noticed the difference the evergreen trees there make to the scene framed by the full-length windows, compared to the autumn sylvan scene at the front that are turning to winter.

This evening, I plan to attend the institution of the Revd Norman McCausland as the new Rector of Raheny and Coolock. Norman was one of the staff members of the Church of Ireland Theological College who interviewed me at the selection conference almost 15 years ago in 1999, a year before my ordination.

Tomorrow, I plan to be in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, for the consecration of Pat Storey as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare, the first woman to become a bishop in the Church of Ireland. On Sunday morning, I am preaching in the cathedral on the First Sunday of Advent.

As the last golden leaves fall to the ground gracefully, and as autumn gives way to winter, it is good to celebrate new beginnings and fresh starts and to look forward to new springs in the life of the Church.

The last autumn leaves are falling to the ground gracefully (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Whitechurch seminar
commemorates RM Gwynn
and 1913 Lockout

Pictured at the R.M. Gwynn seminar in Whitechurch are (from left): Archbishop Michael Jackson, Canon Patrick Comerford, Padraig Yeates and Canon Horace McKinley, rector of Whitechurch

This photograph and the following half-page report were published on p.5 in the Church of Ireland Gazette last Friday (22 November 2013):

Whitechurch seminar
commemorates RM Gwynn
and 1913 Lockout

By Lynn Glanville


A seminar to commemorate the 1913 Dublin Workers Lockout took place recently in Whitechurch parish Old Schools in the grounds of the church.

A large number of people was present to hear of the role played by the Revd R.M. Gwynn and his medical doctor wife, Eileen. Mr Gwynn gave significant support to workers during the Lockout.

He is buried in Whitechurch graveyard and a short act of commemoration took place at the graveside before the seminar, concluding with a wreath being laid by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Michael Jackson.

The seminar was designed as a local contribution to the centenary commemorations of the Lockout and was held against the backdrop of the Commemorations Committee established by the General Synod of the Church of Ireland to mark the centenaries of Ireland’s significant historical events between 1912 and 1922.

Three speakers delivered enlightening papers providing a picture of Gwynn and the wider context of the 1913 Lockout. Dr Jackson addressed the subject of ‘Gwynn, the Educationalist’; Canon Patrick Comerford talked about ‘Gwynn, the Priest’; Padraig Yeates of the Irish Trade Union SIPTU gave a talk entitled ‘The Lock Out 1913 and collective bargaining’.

(The full contributions prepared by the speakers can be read on the Dublin and Glendalough Diocesan website at: http://dublin.anglican.org/news/2013/09/Whitechurch-Seminar-Commemorates-RM-Gwynn-and-1913-Lock-Out.php .)