Monday, 21 June 2010

New deacons and warm sunshine in Dublin

The River Liffey looked blue beneath the summer sky in Dublin yesterday (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

Patrick Comerford

These days are like Mediterranean days in Dublin. The sun is shining brightly, the skies are clear blue, and the temperatures are in the mid-to-high 20s, and there’s a relaxed, carefree attitude in the streets and in the city centre.

The warm smiles on faces everywhere just show how much we appreciate the summer when it arrives and lingers for a little while in Ireland.

The Italian Quarter in Dublin had a Mediterranean feeling yesterday (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

Between cathedral services, I had lunch in the Italian Quarter yesterday and the weather, the atmosphere, and the sea of Italian blue shirts were almost enough to tempt me to stay and watch the match between Italy and New Zealand.

In the morning, I subdeaconed at the Sung Cathedral Eucharist, and the preacher was the Right Revd Christopher Senyonjo, a retired bishop from West Buganda in Uganda, who is visiting Ireland as part of a six-week tour of Europe and the US. This was an opportunity to hear the personal witness of a courageous man of faith who has proclaimed God’s inclusive love and spoken truth to power in Uganda.

he has been inhibited from officiating as a priest and bishop in the Anglican Church of Uganda because of his support of Integrity Uganda and the greater LGBT community. He is one of the few voices in Uganda to speak out against homophobia and the “anti-Homosexuality” bill before the Ugandan parliament

In the afternoon, four new deacons were ordained in the cathedral by Archbishop John Neill – the Revd Paul Arbuthnot, the Revd Terry Lilburn, the Revd Ken Rue and the Revd Martha Waller. Bishop Christopher Senyonjo was present again, as were Bishop Samuel Poyntz, and Bishop Jered Kalimba of Shyogwe. Bishop Jered has been a guest in my house during previous visits to Ireland, and some years ago he made Ken a canon of his cathedral in Rwanda.

The procession in the cathedral garth after the ordination of deacons (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

It was a joy-filled afternoon, and as we processed out of the cathedral into the sunshine in the cloister garth afterwards, tourists and passers-by were caught up in the liturgical drama – it was a powerful illustration of the church’s witness to the city and the mission that underpins the ministry of every deacon.

It was impossible not to want to linger out there in the sunshine, chatting with families and friends as the sun continued to shine down on us all.

Evening sun on the Camac in Kilmainham (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

Later, after coffee in the crypt, I stopped off first in Kilmainham. There, the Camac River is not one of the most beautiful or clean rivers in Dublin; but it was shining and silvery in the sun. At Kimmage Manor, my old theological college, the old manor house looked majestic against the clear blue sky.

Kimmage Manor and an oriel window against the evening sky (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

By 11 in the evening, I was still sitting out in my back garden, sipping a glass of Pinot Grigio and listening to the water bubbling out of the Lion’s Mouth behind me. It was only dusky, even though midnight was approaching, and the sky was still clear.

It brought back memories of many warm, balmy summer evenings, sitting out on a terrace in a small mountain village in Crete. Oh well, I’ll back there soon.

The Lion’s Mouth bubbling on a balmy summer's evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)