During the week beginning Sunday, 30th July 2017 and concluding the following Sunday, 6th August, the Parish of Kilmoe Union and the little village of Crookhaven, Co. Cork (the most southerly village on the Irish mainland), where the rector is Canon Trevor Lester, were commemorating the 300th anniversary of the building of the Church of St Brendan the Navigator. It is a church which is open each summer Sunday evening for the Office of Compline. There is no electricity, so the Service takes place by oil lamp, gas light and candle light, as well as the evening light that comes through the windows of this coastal church which is within sight of the Fastnet Rock.
On Sunday, 23rd July there was a reunion of people from the Diocese who, as members of the Youth Council in 1980s had travelled down for a weekend each year to make the church and churchyard ready for the summer season. On Sunday, 30th July the Bishop of Cork, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton marked the 300th Anniversary by giving an anniversary sermon which included the history of the church. In the course of his Episcopal Visitation of 1700, Bishop Dive Downes had noted that there were only 9 Protestant families in the area. It was his successor, Bishop Peter Browne, who, at his own expense, built the current church in 1717. Bishop Colton first preached in the church as an ordinand on 1st August 1982. His sermon on the occasion of this year’s tercentenary is here.
On Sunday, 6th August the Bishop and the Parish were honoured by the presence of the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Reverend Dr Richard Clarke, who was on his 27th visit to the church to preach during the summer series. He preached on the theme of the readings of the day: the Transfiguration.
The summer series continues in this tercentenary year. On Sunday, 13th August the preacher will be the Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne and Ross. On Sunday, 20th August the preacher will be Rabbi Julia Neuberger, herself a resident within the Parish. Appropriately, the last word this summer will be by the Rector himself, Canon Trevor Lester, who has announced his intention to retire on 31st October.