On Sunday, 23rd July former members of the Cork Diocesan youth scene from the early 1980s were hosted at a reunion barbecue at the Altar Rectory, Toormore, Co Cork at which they were joined by current members of the Cork Diocesan Youth Council. The occasion was part of the 300th anniversary celebrations of the Church of St Brendan the Navigator, Crookhaven, Co. Cork.
In the 1980s, young people from the Diocese visited this church on the Mizen Peninsula, in the far west of County Cork, to clean, tidy, cut the grass, and make it ready for its usual summer season of Sunday evening Services. It was always a fun and bonding annual outing for them which took place over a weekend each June. Between 25 and 30 young people would have been involved every year. They stayed in primitive conditions in Ballydevlin Schoolhouse. Those were ‘gender stereotypical’ days; the boys did the outside work clearing the churchyard, and the girls dusted and cleaned indoors! Others of the girls stayed at the schoolhouse to do the cooking over one gas ring. There was one bucket for a toilet! Thankfully in all these respects times have changed!
Those conditions and memories, including trawling through old photographs, were among the topics of conversation when eight of them gathered on Sunday 23rd July at the invitation of the current rector, Canon Trevor Lester. It was interesting to see how many are still involved in significant ways in the life of the Diocese.
Canon Lester and his wife Oriel hosted a barbecue at their home, Altar Rectory. They were joined by a large group of current day members of the Youth Council led by Mrs Judy Peters (Chairperson of Cork Diocesan Youth Council) and Hilda Connolly (Youth Officer). The younger ones had been kayaking off Schull Pier during the day.
Afterwards everyone travelled to St Brendan’s in Crookhaven for the usual summer Sunday evening Service of Compline at which the preacher was the Dean of the Ross, the Very Reverend Christopher Peters. The Dean spoke about the theme of ‘nostalgia’ and of the risks of only seeing contemporary challenges in the Church through the prism of what we think are our memories of the past.
The series of Summer Services continues on the coming two Sundays – 30th July and 6th August at 8.30 p.m. On Sunday next, 30th July the Bishop of the Diocese, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, will preach and commemorate the 300th anniversary of the consecration of the Church. On Sunday, 6th August, the Bishop will return to Crookhaven to offer prayers of thanksgiving and rededication, and the preacher on that occasion will be the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Reverend Dr Richard Clarke.