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Bicentenary Of St Brendan's Church Celebrated In Birr

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Bicentenary Of St Brendan's Church Celebrated In Birr thumbnailishop of Killaloe, Rt. Rev. Kenneth Kearon, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Most Rev. Richard Clarke and Venerable Archdeacon Wayne Carney (centre) outside St. Brendanís Church prior to the Bicentenary Festival Eucharist on Sunday evening

A SERVICE to mark the bicenentary of St Brendan's Church of Ireland Church on Oxmantown Mall, Birr, was celebrated in the Church on Sunday last.
In a moving procession the large congregation were warmly welcomed into the celebration where the Most Reverend Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland and the Right Reverend Dr Kenneth Kearon, Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe were in attendance.
The church has a steep history in Birr, with building works beginning as early as 1811 by architect Mr John Johnston, who unfortunately passed away the following year. Therefore the remainder of the building work was taken over by the Second Earl of Rosse and his brother in accordance with the original plans.
The patronal service was presided by the Right Reverend Kearon while the Most Reverend, Archbishop Clarke was the guest preacher at the gathering. Archbishop Clarke began his sermon thanking the diocese and the parish for his invitation as he was 'honoured' to be a part of the 200 year celebration.
Continuing his sermon the Archbishop professed the year of 1816 was certainly a different time but also 'a difficult time, a time of huge social and political instability on this island and our neighbouring island, Europe was beginning a restructure and there was a degree of economic upheaval too.'
So in Britain and Ireland it was a time of great uncertainty, with Archbishop Clarke believing it was 'not all that different from today after all' when you take a look at the position we are in at present time.
Nonetheless he stated it was a time 'of great confidence for the Church of Ireland and it's followers' as it is reckoned almost 700 Church of Ireland churches and over 500 rectories were built in the first couple of decades of the nineteenth century.
What becomes special regarding St Brendan's according to Dr Clarke was the 'generosity of the people' at a time when the Church of Ireland only represented one eighth of the state, as without them the church would never have been opened in 1816.
To an attentive congregation he explained 'we have all to face the future as well as celebrate the heritage, therefore we still have to ask the question, what is a church building for?'
The Archbishop believes in part, a church building should be seen as a 'shrine'. As 'a place of worship, in words and in music and in the silence of prayer. A place for people to renew their relationship with God and a place to restore their relationship with God.'
Closing his sermon Archbishop Clarke stated 'we are all travellers on a journey toward God, we're all seekers too.'
Following the large service, the Earl and Countess of Rosse invited all parishioners and visitors of every faith to a reception in Birr Castle with a special feature the cake cutting by the Primate.

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