A Warm Welcome to Cork for the Reverend Paul Robinson

On Sunday afternoon, 19th January 2020, the Reverend Paul Robinson was welcomed to his new ministry in the Diocese of Cork:  as priest-in-charge of the Parish of Saint Anne, Shandon, and as Chaplain to Saint Luke’s Home, Cork.

Pictured the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, The Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, The Reverend Paul Robinson, Parish of Saint Anne Shandon and Lord Mayor Cllr Dr John Sheehan, after the Licensing and Commissioning of The Reverend Paul Robinson, to serve as Priest-in-Charge of the Parish of Saint Anne, Shandon and as Chaplain to Saint Luke’s Home Cork.
Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The Bishop of Cork, the Right Reverend Paul Colton, presided and, having welcomed the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Dr John Sheehan, asked the congregation, as of first importance, to observe a minute’s silence to remember Cameron Blair and his bereaved family.  Cameron Blair, a young 20 year old student from the Diocese, was killed on the previous Thursday night in the City.

Saint Anne’s Church, Shandon was full for the occasion with parishioners, clergy and readers from the Diocese, visiting clergy and readers from England and Wales, representatives of partner organisations of the parish, and a contingent of 60 parishioners from Paul’s former parish in the Diocese of Liverpool.

A full and diverse congregation at the Licensing and Commissioning of The Reverend Paul Robinson. Picture: Jim Coughlan

The preacher was the Very Reverend Gerwyn Capon, Dean of Llandaff, in the Church in Wales.  Among the clergy of the Diocese present were the Deans of Cork, of Cloyne and of Ross.  The Rev. Paul Robinson was presented to the Bishop by the Archdeacon, the Venerable Adrian Wilkinson.  All of the arrangements were overseen by the Rural Dean of Cork City, Canon Dr Daniel Nuzum.

The preacher – the Dean of Llandaff – the Very Reverend Gerwyn Capon.
Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The choir of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork crossed the river to sing the Service.  The organists were Adam Nuzum (parish organist in Shandon), Robbie Carroll (Assistant Director of Music at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral) and Peter Stobart (Director of Music at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral).

Pictured are some of the Choristers of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, prior to the Licensing and Commissioning of The Reverend Paul Robinson.
Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Saint Luke’s Home was represented by the CEO, Tony O’Brien, Mrs Joan Jeffery, and by social worker, Eugene Browne, as well as by some of the members of the Board of Directors:  Alan Campbell, Derek Dunne and Ann Hevers.

At he Licensing and Commissioning of The Reverend Paul Robinson, were (l-r) Tony O’Brien (CEO, Saint Luke’s Home), Joan Jeffery (Assistant Director of Finance and Administration, St Luke’s Home), the Reverend Paul Robinson, the Bishop, and Eugene Browne (Social Worker, Saint Luke’s Home).
Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Remarking that this is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Bishop welcomed especially ecumenical visitors: Fr. John O’Donovan together with a group of his parishioners from the Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint Anne nearby, Sister Antonia Murphy (Presentation Sisters) Sister Placida and Sisters at the North Presentation Convent, Fr. Maurice Colgan, Dominican Pope’s Quay, the Rev Mike O Sullivan, Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church, Dr. Bejoy Philip from Mar Thoma Community, Cork, as well as representatives from Trinity Presbyterian Church, and the Religious Society of Friends. 

On the steps of Saint Anne’s Church, Shandon with the Bishop, and the Reverend Paul Robinson and the Lord Mayor of Cork following the Service were clergy, readers, and the Assistant Registrar.
Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Other local organisations in the city that work in partnership with the parish represented included: the Firkin Crane Centre, the Shandon Area Renewal Association,  Eco-Congregation and Climate Justice. Pádraig Rice, Coordinator of the Cork Gay Project was present, as were representatives of LINC, and Choral ConFusion.  Cllr Dan Boyle (Cork City Council) was also present.

The Reverend Paul Robinson receives a blessing for his new ministry.
Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Following the licensing and and speeches of welcome by the Bishop, Stephen Spillane (on behalf of the Parish), Tony O’Brien (on behalf of Saint Luke’s Home), Paul Robinson himself spoke about his strong sense of God’s calling to this new place and ministry, and he thanked everyone for their welcome.  Afterwards everyone enjoyed the hospitality of the Parish in the Maldron Hotel next door.

The Reverend Paul Robinson and the Bishop with Shandon Churchwardens, Ger O’Sullivan and Sally Stokes.
Picture: Jim Coughlan.

At the Licensing and Commissioning of The Reverend Paul Robinson were (l-r)  The Reverend Anne Skuse (Bishop’s Chaplain), the Very Reverend Nigel Dunne (Dean of Cork), the Reverend Paul Robinson, the Reverend Paul Arbuthnot (Bishop’s Chaplain), the Bishop , the Very Reverend Gerwyn Capon (Dean of Llandaff and preacher), Canon Dr Daniel Nuzum (Rural Dean of Cork City), the Venerable Adrian Wilkinson (Archdeacon of Cork) and John Jermyn, Assistant Registrar of the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.  
Picture: Jim Coughlan.


Posted in Bishop, Cathedral Choir, Chaplaincies, Church Services, Churches in Cork, Clergy, Commissionings, Diocese, Ecumenism, Healthcare Ministry, Installations, Licensing and Installation, Lord Mayor of Cork, People from Cork, People from the Diocese, Saint Luke's Charity, Saint Luke's Home

Stephen Teap named as Cork Person of the Year

At the annual Cork Person of the Year Awards on Friday last, 17th January, attended by the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, and the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr Fintan Gavin, Stephen Teap, a son of the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, was named as Cork Person of the Year, and presented with his award by  the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Dr John Sheehan, the Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan.  The Cork Person of the Year Awards have been organised for the past 27 years by Manus O’Callaghan.  Present also were Stephen’s father Bill, his mother Anne, and brother Clive.

Pictured before the Cork Person of the Year Awards were (l-r) Bishop Paul Colton, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (Mayor of Cork County), Cllr Dr John Sheehan (Lord Mayor of Cork), Bishop Fintan Gavin, and Maurice Gubbins (Editor, The Echo). Picture: Tony O’Connell

Stephen Teap lost his wife Irene to cervical cancer in 2017 after two cervical smear tests were misread.  Since then he has become one of the leading advocates and campaigners on behalf of the other women and their families impacted by Cervical Check failures.  Stephen received a standing ovation from the 250 people present, including the eleven other very worthy nominees for the award, as well as Dr John Bowman (Honorary Corkman) Mary Kennedy (a special award marking her retirement from RTE), and Dr Tom Cavanagh (Hall of Fame Award).

Bishop Colton, who officiated at the marriage of Stephen to Irene in September 2011, said that he had a lump in his throat as Stephen was presented with the award:

Naturally my mind went back to Stephen and Irene’s wedding day and to the hopes and joy of that day, of Irene’s journey, and how by these tragic circumstances Stephen has been thrown into this unwanted place, as have his young sons Oscar and Noah.  On behalf of us all I just want to say how inspired we all are in this community and as Stephen’s friends, by Stephen, by his advocacy, by his response to great personal tragedy, and also by his steady and clear articulation in all his speeches and  interviews of how he feels and how the others affected feel in a way that is deeply moving and motivating towards change for good in our society.  Typically, again today, he dedicated his award to Irene, and to all the other women affected and their families.

Stephen Teap, Cork Person of the Year, presented with his award by (left) Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, Mayor of County Cork, and Cllr Dr John Sheehan, (Lord Mayor of Cork).  Picture:  Paul Colton.

Posted in Advocacy, Award, Bishop, Bishops of Cork, Church in Society, Contemporary Issues, Cork, Cork Person of the Year Awards, Ecumenism, Ireland, Lord Mayor of Cork, Mayor of Cork County, People from Cork, People from the Diocese, Voluntary Work

Death in Cork of Cameron Blair ~ Statement by Bishop Paul Colton

Church of Ireland – Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

Statement by

Bishop Paul Colton

Following the Killing in Cork of 

Cameron Blair

The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, has made the following statement in response to the killing in Cork of Cameron Blair:

As news was breaking on Thursday night 16th January of a stabbing incident on Bandon Road, a short distance from my own home here in Cork, I tweeted my message of horror and sent my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the young man, his family and friends.

I now know, this morning, that he was Cameron Blair, a young person from this Church of Ireland Diocese, who attended Bandon Grammar School, and who was confirmed by me in 2013 in Saint Peter’s Church, Bandon. He was well-known in his local community, as a rugby player and athlete.  My wife Susan and I share the shock of everyone who lives in this neighbourhood, particularly the student community who are so much at the heart of this area.

Having had student children myself, I know well that a calamity such as this on a night out is every parent’s worst nightmare.  My heart goes out to the Blair family, especially Cameron’s parents Noel and Cathy, and his brother Alan; as well as to Cameron’s wide circle of friends and peers, and indeed everyone who has been traumatised by what happened on the Bandon Road last night.

I know everyone in Cork and further afield is terribly shocked by Cameron’s death.  On behalf of everyone living in this part of Cork, and on behalf of us all in the Church of Ireland community in Cork, Cloyne and Ross I send them our sincerest condolences.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Cameron Blair
Picture: Gerard McCarthy

 – Ends –

Further information from:

Bishop Paul Colton

Telephone: (021) 500 5080

Email: media@corkchurchofireland.com


Posted in People from Cork, People from the Diocese, Schools in the Diocese, Statement by the Bishop

Retirement of John L Jermyn as Diocesan Registrar of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, has announced the retirement of the Diocesan Registrar of the Diocese, Mr John L. Jermyn.

John L. Jermyn was appointed by Bishop Gordon Perdue as a Licensor of Marriages on 29th April 1971.  Nine years later, on 1st December 1980, he was appointed Diocesan Registrar by Bishop Samuel Poyntz.  With the changes in marriage law in Ireland in 2007 he ceased to be a licensor of marriages but continued as Diocesan Registrar.

As Diocesan Registrar he succeeded his own father, John Bennett Jermyn, who had served as Diocesan Registrar since 23rd October 1947.  John Bennett Jermyn, who served for thirty-three years, had succeeded his own father (John L. Jermyn’s grandfather,  also John Jermyn,  who had been appointed Diocesan Registrar by Bishop Charles Dowse in 1920, one hundred years ago this year.

Bishop Paul Colton, paid tribute to John L. Jermyn:

The Jermyn family have served the Church of Ireland indefatigably, generously and with sound judgment for the last 100 years.  I was very fortunate indeed to inherit John L Jermyn as Diocesan Registrar.  He also faithfully served my predecessors Bishop Roy Warke, Bishop Samuel Poyntz, and, as a marriage licensor before that, Bishop Gordon Perdue.

Forty years is a long period of voluntary service as Diocesan Registrar and I warmly thank John for all that he has done. For the last twenty-one years of the forty years he has stood alongside me as Bishop, and has been a rock of common sense and a great support.  He has been extremely generous with his time and expertise to me, to the bishop of the day, as well as to the Diocese at large.

We are all indebted to him and cannot thank him enough.

Each Church of Ireland Diocese has a Diocesan Registry in a place named by the bishop, and the Diocesan Council is required to make arrangements for the safe custody of the registry and its contents.  The contents may include:  judgments or orders of the Diocesan Court or the Court of the General Synod;  records of appointments of clergy, appointments of clergy by licence, retirements and resignations; the appointment of deputy chancellors and deputy registrars of the Diocese.    The Diocesan Registrar has responsibility for these matters, and also the keeping of a verified roll of the clergy of the Diocese which is to be tabled at meetings of diocesan Boards of Patronage (which nominates clergy to the bishop for appointment to parishes).  More generally, Diocesan Registrars are frequently turned to by bishops for advice in legal matters.

John L. Jermyn

Posted in Announcements, Canon Law, Diocesan Registrar, People from Cork, People from the Diocese, Retirements

Appointment of Domestic Chaplain to the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, has announced that he has appointed the Reverend Paul Arbuthnot, Incumbent of Cobh and Glanmire Union of Parishes, to be also one of his domestic chaplains.

The Bishop’s domestic chaplains now are: the Reverend Anne Skuse and the Reverend Paul Arbuthnot.

The Bishop’s examining chaplains are: the Very Reverend Nigel Dunne, Dean of Cork, and the Reverend Bruce Pierce, Director of Education and Northridge House Education and Research Centre at Saint Luke’s Charity, Cork.

The Reverend Paul Arbuthnot

Posted in Announcements, Appointments, Clergy, People from the Diocese

Retirement of Canon Ian Jonas, Rector Carrigrohane, Cork

Canon Ian Jonas, rector of Carrigrohane Union of Parishes in the Diocese of Cork, has notified the Bishop, Dr Paul Colton, and announced to his parishioners, his intention to retire from stipendiary ministry on 31st July 2o20.

Canon Jonas, who has been rector of Carrigrohane since 2009 is also Prebendary of Kilbrittain and Holy Trinity in the Cathedral Church of Saint Fin Barre, Cork, and of Donoughmore, in the Cathedral Church of Saint Colman, Cloyne.

Carrigrohane Union of Parishes is substantially within the recently extended western and north-western boundaries of Cork City, and includes the large towns of Ballincollig and Blarney. In addition, outside the city boundary, is Inniscarra and its hinterland in the Lee Valley.

Canon Jonas was ordained deacon nearly 40 years ago, in 1980, to serve in the parish of Saint Mark, Portadown, and was ordained priest a year later.  Her served as curate of that parish until 1982. From 1982 to 1985 he was curate of the parish of Saint Finian, Belfast before moving to Dublin in 1985 to take up the post of secretary of the Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society (now Crosslinks), a role which he fulfilled until 1990.  In that year he moved to the Diocese of Derby in England to serve as Vicar of Saint Andrew’s Local Ecumenical Project and St John’s, Langley Mill.

Ian returned to Ireland in 1997 to become rector of Kilgariffe Union of Parishes (Clonakilty, Kilmalooda, Timoleague and Courtmacsherry, County Cork) where he ministered until 2009, followed by his move to Carrigrohane.  He has had a particular interest in mission and served for a time as Secretary of the Association of Missionary Societies and, in Cork, Cloyne and Ross, as Chairperson of the Diocesan Council of Mission.

Canon Ian Jonas

Posted in Announcements, Clergy, People from the Diocese, Retirements

Christmas Day Sermon preached by Bishop Paul Colton in Cork

Sermon preached by the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross,

The Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton

in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork 

on Christmas Day, 2019

There are ways and ways of telling a story.  I might regale you, for example, with one which begins, somewhat pompously, with  ‘When I lived in the Tropics …’ Or the same story could begin – ‘When I spent a summer with the Church Missionary Society in Kenya …’ Both starts to the same story are true.

Similarly, I might say, ‘I appeared on the stage recently with Graham Norton …’  That is true. The fact that I was on one side of a platform in a school gymnasium where he was being fêted as the guest of honour is more to the point.  But yes, I was on that stage with him. Likewise I might say that I sang with Roger Whitaker (‘The Last Farewell) and Gloria Gaynor (‘Oh Happy Day’ )in the Ulster Hall in Belfast in the late 1980s and that would be true too, but it would conveniently overlook the fact that I was in the back row among the basses in a choir of dozens.

Yes, there are ways and ways of telling a story; and so it is with Christmas.   When we tell a story it is often to make a point. That’s why we tell them and write them the way we do.  None of this means they are not true or reliable in the sense that matters most. It is also why the differences seem considerable.  In the case of the Gospel writers, It is why the differences are important – they show us how the storytellers, inspired as they were, had  crucial points to make and emphasise. The differences should not disturb us; they are deliberate.

In our Carol Services, nativity plays, art, literature, music and, indeed in our liturgy, we have rolled everything about Christmas into one.  But that simplifies everything.

To start with, Mark’s Gospel doesn’t bother with the stories of the birth of Jesus at all; for him it’s in at the deep end with the baptism of Jesus and his ministry.   

Matthew starts with something that is worthy of a modern website like Ancestry.Co.Uk with its persistent offer of a DNA test – a genealogy to show Jesus’ background and heritage.  Luke doesn’t bother in the same way with that; that writer is more interested in showing where John the Baptist fits in to it all and how Jesus is not to be confused with that particular John.

In Matthew the Angel appears to Joseph, not Mary.  There’s no journey to Bethlehem; they are just there, but there is no inn, no stable, no donkey, no shepherds, but there are Magi led by a star – and the story does not say that there are three of them. In the crib in the restaurant at Saint Luke’s Home I noticed yesterday that, more by accident than design, there are four of them; but so, the point is made.  There are three gifts, and the foreign visitors have already been to see the menacing and unscrupulous political ruler: Herod. So the family escape as refugees to Egypt to avoid persecution, and the killing of their newborn. 

Mary, the Virgin, based in Nazareth, is central to Luke’s account.  She visits her cousin Elizabeth. She sings her famous song, the one we sing at Evensong each day.  Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist. Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the registration. The whole world was being registered.  And it is here that we encounter the inn with no room, the manger and the shepherds. Here there are no star, no Magi, no gifts, but there are angels. And the story continues.  Jesus is named, and forty days later they go to the Temple where they meet Simeon and Anna.

None of this should surprise us.  As I said at the start there are ways and ways of telling a story.  Lots of things come to bear on it all even when inspired by God: where we first heard the stories ourselves in the original telling, our personality,  the place and time we live in, the point we want to make, the people, the audience we are speaking to or writing for, and the language we are using or writing in.  So much depends on who is telling the story and why, and this is true of the writers of Matthew and Luke too: but that analysis is for another day.

Rachel Held Evans – one of my favourite Christian writers and bloggers – died in May this year at the young age of 37.  The mother of two young children, and an Episcopalian, part of our worldwide family of Anglican churches, Rachel got an infection and, tragically, had an allergic reaction to her medication and died.  She grew up in the ‘Bible Belt’ and was educated in a very conservative approach to the Bible and belief. She then went on a journey from religious certainty to a faith which accepts doubt and questioning.  And that’s what she wrote about. Famously, in April 2015, in an article in The Washington Post, she said that if you want millennials like her back in the pews of churches, ‘stop trying to make the Church cool.’ ‘Young people do not want a better show,’ she said ‘And trying to be cool might be making things worse.’  Anyway I digress, her books are well worth reading. In this, her last book published in 2018 – Inspired: Slaying giants, walking on water, and loving the Bible again – she says what I am saying to you this morning, only in a much better way. 

‘It depends on who tells the story’, she says.  She talks about our stages with the Bible. To us as children, it was a story book.  In adolescence, for young believers, it becomes a handbook. For many it then becomes an answer-book.  Some adults never leave these early stages.  But for still others in adulthood, it’s a stumbling block.  The stumbling block stage should not worry us, she says – ‘… the mysteries and contradictions of Scripture weren’t meant to be fought against, but courageously engaged, and … the Bible by its very nature invites us to wrestle, doubt, imagine and debate.’  We need, she says to turn to Scripture, not to end a conversation (as so often happens in the great religious debates of our time) but to start a conversation. The Bible is not a trump card thrown down to silence opponents. It is like a great dining table where all should gather round and have a lively discussion. If any of you has ever been invited by your Jewish friends to join them for a Shabbat meal you will have noticed this discussion, debate and argument in the best tradition of the Rabbis around the table, seeking the meaning of it all.

Which brings me to Saint John, who we heard this morning.  The writer isn’t interested in any of the nuts and bolts of the nativity story..  It is as if his concern is the meaning of it all. I suspect that’s where many a modern-day person is: with John.  What does it all mean? Jesus is ‘the Word of God’; ‘was with God’, ‘was God’…All things came into being through him … in him was life, the light of all people,.  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. … To all who received him he gave power to become … children of God … And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. ‘

Rachel Held Evans says that, again and again, God stoops to using different people and their way of telling the story to communicate – ‘ancient people using their own language, literary structures ,and cosmological assumptions…’  `Far from being ‘beneath God’ this is the way God ‘conveys the truth.’ Again and again, ‘God stoops’ she says. ‘From walking with Adam and Eve through the garden of Eden, to traveling with the liberated Hebrew slaves in a pillar of cloud and fire, to slipping into flesh [as Jesus the Word of God] and eating, laughing, suffering, healing, weeping and dying among us as part of humanity, the God of Scripture stoops and stoops and stoops and stoops.  At the heart of the Gospel message is the story of a God who stoops to the point of death on a cross. Dignified or not, believable or not, ours is a God perpetually on bended knee, doing everything it takes to convince stubborn and petulant children that they are seen and loved. … This is who God is. This is what God does.’ God stoops: the incarnation of the Word of God. This is what brings us here today.

As the writer to the Hebrews put it in the second reading earlier: ‘Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, … 3He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being,  …’ Hebrews 1.1, 2a and 3 When we see Jesus; we see God.

And this is the story we are invited, on our own journey to lean on and to be part of.   More than that, though, we ourselves, each one of us, is invited to be part of the story-telling, in God’s name, as Christian believers in our own time:  in our living, in our choices, in our engagement with the big issues of our day, in the causes we take up and support, in the people we reach out to embrace … in countless ways, God draws us in to be his story-tellers in these times. And we do so because we know that God stoops to us, each of us, with presence, light and love.

‘And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory

 the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. ‘  John 14.1

Bishop Paul Colton in Cork out and about with the young collectors from S.H.A.R.E. in the run up to Christmas Day.

Posted in Anglicanism, Bible, Bishop, Cathedral, Christmas, Church Services, Sermons