Saturday, 29 June 2019

‘More tea vicar?’ … reporting
on diocesan training days

Villiers School, Limerick … the venue for the Limerick and Killaloe Diocesan Synod this weekend (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Patrick Comerford

The Limerick and Killaloe Diocesan Synod met in Villers School, Limerick, today [29 June 2019]. This two-page report was included in the Book of Reports (pp 60-61):

Ministry Education Training Days
Director of Education and Training:
Report to Diocesan Synod, May 2019


My work as Director of Education and Training for clergy and readers in the diocese includes providing resources and training through monthly workshops and weekly web postings and emails with ideas for preaching, worship liturgy.

Monthly workshops

The monthly workshops for readers and clergy have looked at a variety of topics, from personal prayer and styles of liturgy to Celtic Spirituality, from choosing hymns to marking Remembrance Day appropriately, from Spiritual Tourism to tailor-made ‘road trips’ to the diocesan cathedrals and inter-faith locations.

Most recently, the workshops discussed whether there is such a thing as ‘Anglican culture’ (May 2019). The discussions included poetry, music, literature, and even humour – under the apposite title, ‘More tea vicar?’

In recent months, the Revd Ann-Marie Stuart, FJ, of the Kilcolman Union of Parishes, has led two workshops on ‘The Adventure of Prayer’ and ‘Faith Development’ (March 2019). In February, I looked at ‘Praying with Icons’ and ‘Praying with the Jesus Prayer.’ The Revd Anne-Marie Stuart and the Revd Isabel Keegan of Kilcolman facilitated a day on ‘Celtic Spirituality’ (January 2019).

The Revd Rod Smyth of Nenagh introduced a workshop on the choice of hymns, canticles and music, which is often a difficult task for clergy and readers alike. In November 2018, he dealt with the thorny problems faced by people who have difficulty in selecting hymns for Sundays, and offered advice about appropriate hymns for Advent, as well as Baptisms, weddings and funerals.

To prepare for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that brought an end to World War I, the workshops last October looked at resources and planning for Remembrance Day on 11 November 2018. The questions to focus the discussions included: Where do I find resources and readings? How can we be sensitive to a diversity and variety of views and the challenges this day poses in a parish?

The programme in September 2018 was a working day on bringing Spiritual Tourism to parishes. The day was facilitated by Archdeacon Simon Lumby and myself, and included a field trip to a number of sites linked to potentials in Spiritual Tourism, including the Templar Tower, the Famine grave, the grave of the poet Aubrey de Vere in Saint Mary’s churchyard, Askeaton, and the ruined cloisters of the Franciscan Friary.

Different approaches to liturgy and worship were discussed in May 2018. This programme, in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick, was led by the Revd Michael Cavanagh of Kenmare and myself.

In March 2018, the workshops discussed personal prayer, prayers in the life of the church, praying for others, and teaching others to pray. Participants looked at different styles of prayer and discussed how the need to develop a life of prayer that suits individual needs and personalities while helping others to develop an approach to prayer that meets their own personality types.
The Diocesan Communications Officer, the Revd Michael Cavanagh, the Editor of Newslink, Joc Sanders, and myself as a former journalist, facilitated the first of these training days in Killarney on the topic of parish communications (October 2017).

The topics included working with local radio stations, newspapers and the diocesan magazine, how to use social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and websites, in your parish, and producing parish newsletters and hand-outs.

Other topics have included, ‘A life of prayer: personal prayer and leading intercessions’ (March 2018), Preparing for Lent and Easter (January 2018) and Preparing for Advent and Christmas (November 2017).

‘Field Trips’

The programme has also included two ‘Field Trips.’

The ‘field trip’ in April 2018 visited the three working cathedrals in the diocese. This began at Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick, moved on to Saint Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe, Co Clare, and finished in the afternoon with a celebration of the Eucharist in Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Clonfert, Co Galway.

An interfaith walking tour of Limerick in February 2018 began at the Limerick Islamic Cultural Centre and Mosque, and also visited the former heart of Limerick’s Jewish community on Wolfe Tone Street, and the Jewish Cemetery at Castletroy.

Joining in

These monthly training days are designed for clergy and diocesan and parish readers, but are open to others who are interested, including spouses, partners and friends. The working days generally take place in the Rectory, Askeaton, Co Limerick.

The programme is normally offered in a workshop format from 11 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. for day-time participants. Tea/coffee/biscuits are provided, but participants are asked to bring sandwiches. If there is enough interest, a second workshop is offered in the evening from 7 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. for people in ministry who are also in day-time or secular employment.

Resources for these two workshops are normally made available on the CME Limerick and Killaloe site.

Weekly Sunday resources

Meanwhile, ministerial and liturgical resources for Sundays, including sermon ideas, readings, collects, post-communion prayers, hymn suggestions and illustrations are published each Monday morning by Patrick Comerford on the web at https://cmelimerick.blogspot.com/

Each week’s posting includes reflections on the Sunday readings, collects, prefaces, post-communion prayers, seasonal variations and other liturgical resources, as well as suggested hymns, links to the readings and appropriate photographs that can be used in parish newsletters, service sheets or in power point presentations.

Resources are also available for major events in the Church Calendar, including Lent, Advent, Holy Week and major feast days.

This website was launched at a meeting of the Diocesan Council in September 2017. Initially, the postings attracted about 500 to 800 hits a month, but this reached about 1,800 a month in recent months, which means these resources are facilitating clergy and readers far beyond this diocese.

Emails are sent to readers and clergy with links to the latest resources each Monday morning. Please contact me if you would like to be added to this mailing list.

Patrick Comerford,
Askeaton, May 2019


The reports to the Limerick and Killaloe Diocesan Synod include the report on ministry training and education (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

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