Almost €60k sent from Cork, Cloyne and Ross to set up Farming Cooperatives in Burundi.

Almost €60,000 has been raised by the people of the Church of Ireland Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross since 2017 in support of a Christian Aid project in Burundi turning maize into flour to generate an income above subsistence level for local farmers.

The Cork, Cloyne and Ross Burundi project is in conjunction with Christian Aid, in partnership with the Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal.  It has been supported by parishes, individuals and schoolchildren from Cork, Cloyne and Ross.

Cork, Cloyne and Ross working with the Anglican Church in Burundi

Burundi, on the continent of Africa,  is one of the poorest counties in the world.  The United Nations ranks it at 185 out of 189 countries on their Human Development Index.  It is the most food insecure country in the world and 95% of the population directly or indirectly relies on agriculture for their livelihood.  In addition there is a history of ethnic conflict.  Burundi is recovering slowly from a civil war that lasted over a decade and claimed the lives of approximately 300,000 people and displaced many more.

Cork, Cloyne and Ross working with the Anglican Church in Burundi

The money from Cork, Cloyne and Ross has been used to form three cooperatives:  Dutabarane and Terimbere. Cooperatives in Matana Diocese, and Igogoretse in Makamba Diocese, working with  Christian Aid’s local partner, the Anglican Church of Burundi.

The main objective was to increase maize production and to help the cooperative members to move from a subsistence farming model towards a business model of agriculture.  Local farmers, most of whom are women, receive training in good farming practices and have  been supported also in getting access to land, selected seeds, fertilisers and livestock to provide organic manure.  They have also been provided with processing units, storage rooms and capacity building training.

Cork, Cloyne and Ross working with the Anglican Church in Burundi

Partnership projects such as this have brought about substantial change, improving the lives of people living in poverty.   One member of these  cooperative, Esperance Kigongwe (44), a maize farmer and mother of eight children, explained the difference the cooperative had made:

Before, I used to plant without any order. Now I know that I need to make lines and respect the distance between planting holes. My harvest has increased. Before we had a storage room, our harvest would spoil. Now I get high quality maize flour from the processing plant. With the extra money, I have bought goats and also land for myself. I can pay for school materials for my children.

The three cooperatives are now at a mature stage and are almost ready to become fully sustainable without further external intervention.  Some additional activities will guarantee this local sustainability and, therefore, the people of Cork, Cloyne and Ross are planning to renew their commitment to this Burundi partnership for a further three year period from 2020 until 2023 in order to achieve this.

Cork, Cloyne and Ross working with the Anglican Church in Burundi

Posted in Burundi, Christian Aid, Church of Ireland Bishops' Appeal, Diocese, Five Marks of Mission, Fund-Raising, Making Connections, People in Need, Voluntary Work, World Aid and Development

The Importance of Listening to One Another in the Context of our Centenary Commemorations in Ireland

‘In the context of our centenary commemorations, attentive listening to one another, dialogue and engagement have become more important than ever’ according to the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton.

Bishop Colton was opening an event recently in Cork, hosted under the auspices of the Cork Church of Ireland Diocesan Centenaries Commemoration and Reconciliation Project.  Planned long before the RIC Commemoration controversy hit the headlines, the training day for clergy and lay church workers was hosted by the Bishop on Monday, 13th January with guest speaker Dr Russ Parker (International Ambassador with the Acorn Christian Healing Foundation) who is author of Healing Wounded History.  

The Reverend Dr Russ Parker

Russ has a proven track record of work in this area internationally.  As Acorn’s International Ambassador, he has been responsible for developing partnerships on listening and reconciliation in 12 nations ranging from Rwanda, Burundi, Hong Kong and the United States. The Acorn programmes were adopted, for example, as part of the resourcing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and its Director, Archbishop Desmond Tutu became the president of Acorn’s work in that country.

Russ Parker chats with the Reverend Robert Ferris and Lynn McAdam O’Connell.

The title of the day was The Church as New Acoustic Community: the proactive role of listening in conflict resolution.  Setting the scene, Russ Parker quoted. the author, nurse and priest, Bill Kirkpatrick who said:

There is a rise of ‘non listening’ among individuals and society.   We are losing the ability to listen-in-depth and as a result there is increasing depersonalization and a corresponding number of people who feel themselves disenfranchised.   This can and does lead to violence, towards oneself and others.

Wilfred Baker, Canon Ian Jonas, and Howard Dunne at the training day.

Reflecting on the training day in Cork, Russ Parker said:

In the midst of a season of sensitive commemorations which have the potential to re-polarise the divisions within a Community we held a day conference to reflect on how the Church of Ireland can offer the gift of listening to all affected by their still wounded history.   With the talk of the need for reconciliation between the divided communities we explored how reconciliation requires dialogue and that dialogue is impossible without listening.  The clergy who gathered discussed various ways in which they could offer a listening space to hear each others stories and with patience find the common ground on which we could forge a new way of respecting our different histories and find a new harmony for living together.

With the Reverend Dr Russ Parker (centre) are (l-r). Archdeacon Adrian Wilkinson, Canon Elaine Murray, Viv Squire and Canon Ian Jonas.

Posted in Centenaries in Ireland, Church in Society, Commemoration, Contemporary Issues, Cork, Cork Centenaries Commemoration and Reconciliation Project, Diocese, Five Marks of Mission

Cork Launch of ‘Praying Together’ – Prayers for Primary School Assemblies

On Thursday 6 February 2020, the President of Dublin City University (DCU) Prof. Brian MacCraith, launched Praying Together a new collection of prayers for primary school assemblies.

The President of DCU, Prof. Brian MacCraith with Mrs Jacqui Wilkinson at the launch.

The book contains a wide variety of prayers, each prayer written by a pupil, a class, a teacher or someone connected with a Church of Ireland primary school. The book was the result of a project initiated by Mrs Jacqui Wilkinson who invited all Church of Ireland primary schools to contribute prayers. Jacqui lectures in Religious Education in DCU, teaches the RE Cert (Follow Me programme) to initial teacher education students in DCU and offers CPD and inservice training in the Follow Me programme to existing teachers in Church of Ireland schools. 

Praying Together

The prayers in the book include those which may only be read occasionally, for example when a teacher retires or when there is a school inspection. Others may become regular features of assemblies marking the seasonal events of the school year. There are also prayers for when an urgent response is required, for example, in times of sickness or sadness.

With two pupils of Templebreedy National School were (left) Jacqui Wilkinson, and School Principal, Doris Bryan.

Many of the primary schools in the Diocese of Cork have prayers in the collection, and the diocesan school prayer written by the Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, is also included.  On Friday 7th February Jacqui Wilkinson visited Templebreedy National School for their school assembly during which pupils read the Templebreedy National School prayers that had been contributed to the project  and the principal Mrs Doris Bryan was presented with a copy of the book.

Mrs Dorothy Verpancke and the Reverend Isobel Jackson

The Reverend Isobel Jackson, rector of Templebreedy and Mrs Dorothy Verplancke, the retired principal of the school  were  present at the school assembly and Mrs Verplancke  was given a copy of the book which contains two prayers she wrote. All primary schools in the diocese will receive copies of the book in the coming weeks.

The launch at Templebreedy National School

Posted in Cork, Diocese, Education, Five Marks of Mission, Launch, People from Cork, People from the Diocese, Prayers, Schools in the Diocese

Appointment of the Rev. Andrew Orr as an Honorary Canon of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork with Special Responsibility for a Focus on the Environment and Climate Change

The Bishop of Cork, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton is delighted to announce that he has appointed the Reverend Andrew Orr, Chaplain to Midleton College, and also Priest of Youghal Union of Parishes, to the additional position of Honorary Canon at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork.

In that role as Honorary Canon, Canon Orr will have responsibility, under the new arrangements governing St Fin Barre’s Cathedral enacted by the General Synod in 2018, for the Fifth Mark of Mission of the Five Marks of Mission which encapsulate the common commitment of the Anglican Communion of Churches, namely:

To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

This will put environmental issues in general, and climate change in particular, to the fore of the thinking of the Diocese alongside the other four of The Five Marks of Mission.

The appointment is for a five year period, when the brief may be reviewed.

Bishop Paul Colton said:

Through these new posts of Honorary Canon,  devised by the Dean, the Very Reverend Nigel Dunne, and the Cathedral Chapter, I, as Bishop, and the Diocese, have an opportunity to bring issues of the day to the fore in the minds and activities of the Church in this place.  Clearly climate change and the environment are of immense concern to us all, and Canon Andrew Orr has a proven track record of engagement with these issues nationally.

The Very Reverend Nigel Dunne, Dean of Cork, said:

I am delighted to hear that Reverend Andrew Orr will be the first Honorary Canon to be appointed by the Bishop  to the Chapter. This appointment is timely, not only because of the need for the Church’s engagement with the global climate change crisis but also because the Cathedral has begun engagement with new local public realm planning and its own tree management and wildflower planting programmes.

The new Canon, Canon Andrew Orr, responding to his appointment said:

I am delighted and honoured to be appointed as the first Honorary Canon of St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork. It is a sign that the Diocese is taking the fifth mark of mission very seriously and building on the good work already ongoing in many parishes. I would also like to pay tribute to my colleagues in Eco Congregation Ireland who have worked very hard over the last fifteen years to bring the environmental message to churches across the whole island.

Canon Andrew Orr


Posted in Announcements, Appointments, Cathedral, Climate Change, Diocese, Environment, Five Marks of Mission

Bishop Paul Colton makes site visit to the Carraig Centre, Ballincollig

On Wednesday 5th February, the Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton visited the Carraig Centre in Ballincollig, Cork which is currently under development by Clancy Construction.   The Bishop was shown around by project team lead Bill Lane, youth worker Matt Gould and associate minister, the Reverend Robert Ferris.

Bishop Colton with Bill Lane and the Reverend Robert Ferris outside the main entrance of the new Carraig Centre.

The building, empty for many years, will have a new lease of life as a community and parish centre in Ballincollig. The Carraig Centre aims to offer people of all ages, different faiths and none, many diverse opportunities to experience belonging and hope in Ballincollig.  In 2016, Ballincollig was the largest town in County Cork but, recently, with the alteration of the City boundaries it is now a populous suburban area in Cork City.

Bishop Colton said:

Since my arrival as Bishop in 1999 I have been conscious of the faithful ministry and outreach for many years of the Parish of Carrigrohane Union in the town of  Ballincollig, but I’ve also been concerned that the town grew and grew where the Church of Ireland had no structural presence or base.  This is a thrilling and visionary initiative by this Parish which I, as Bishop, and the Diocese, are delighted to support.  It’s also a sign that small parishes and small dioceses can do big things for God. Huge credit is due to everyone who has held onto this vision and worked towards it.

The Carraig Centre will house community and parish activities. Meeting and event spaces will be available to rent by community groups.

The group showed the Bishop the various spaces – a 200 seat auditorium, play area, outside spaces including playground, garden and ball playing area, prayer room, kitchen, staff offices, meeting areas and a recording studio.

The Carraig Centre under development.

The Carraig Centre will also host an informal Christian worship service on Sunday mornings. Matt Gould, youth worker at Carrigrohane Union of Parishes, said:

Our SundayAM gatherings let us hear and respond to the Christian gospel, develop our faith, and invite friends to consider the good news of Jesus.

Cian Jenkinson, a recent graduate of Gaelcholáiste Choilm, remarked that ‘the SundayAM meetings demonstrate that church can be fun.’ A strong focus on young people will be an important element of The Carraig Centre’s operation, building on over 10 years of successful youth work in the union’s existing premises.

Canon Ian Jonas, the rector of Carrigrohane Union of Parishes in the Diocese of Cork explained the name for the new centre:

‘Carraig’ nods to the parish’s roots in Carrigrohane, but more importantly it emphasises that Christians build their hope, faith, and lives on Christ, who is our solid rock.

The Carraig Centre under development.

It is expected that construction will be complete by the end of February and and the opening in late spring, early summer.

The members of Carrigrohane Union of Parishes look forward to welcoming their friends and neighbours to The Carraig Centre.

Bishop Paul will return later this year to officially open the building: The Carraig Centre.

Youth worker, Matt Gould, chats with the Bishop in the main auditorium of The Carraig Centre.

Posted in Bishop, Charting A Future With Confidence, Children's Ministry, Church in Society, Church of Ireland, Community Involvement, Diocese, Five Marks of Mission, Fresh Expressions, In the News, Lay Ministry, Parish News, People from Cork, People from the Diocese, Pioneer Ministry, Worship, Youth Work

Church of Ireland Diocese of Cork Explores Post-Brexit Links with Lichfield Diocese in England

The United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross in the Church of Ireland, is actively pursuing a new link with the Lichfield Diocese in the Church of England in order to foster close relations following Brexit.

In November last year, the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, welcomed the Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Reverend Dr Michael Ipgrave, to Cork to explore the potential for further links between the two dioceses.

Bishop Colton and Bishop Ipgrave have issued the following joint statement today:

Our two dioceses are actively exploring the possibilities of exchange and a deepening of relationships not only in the context of our common membership of the Anglican Communion of Churches, but also against the backdrop of Brexit. In these days following Brexit and as the relationships between peoples on these islands unfolds anew, we believe it is important to think not only of commerce and trade, but also of what it means, in the broadest sense, to be good neighbours in this part of the world.

Brexit was not a vote to leave Europe; it is about leaving the European Union. We are part of a larger family of Christians and we can encourage one other by learning from each other and enriching one another’s life. We will look at specific and tangible ways we can do this across our two dioceses in the coming months as our link develops.

The United Dioceses of  Cork Cloyne and Ross, has been nurturing connections in recent years also with the Diocese of Porvoo in the Church of Finland, with the Diocese of Strängnäs in the Church of Sweden, and has also been approached to explore deeper contact with the Diocese of Easton in The Episcopal Church (USA).

The Diocese of Lichfield already has a partnership link with the Nordkirche Lutheran Church in Northern Germany who on Friday (31 January) reaffirmed their commitment to that link in the wake of Brexit.

Clergy and lay people of the Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross following a lunch hosted by Dr Paul Colton for the Bishop of Lichfield, Dr Michael Ipgrave.

Posted in Anglicanism, Announcements, Bishop, BREXIT, Contemporary Issues, Five Marks of Mission, Ireland, Links, Partnership

Youth of Cork, Cloyne and Ross Share their Video at Church of Ireland Youth Forum

Five young people from Cork, Cloyne and Ross joined Diocesan Youth Officer, Hilda Connolly, at the third and final of the Church of Ireland’s Youth Forum meetings on 25th January, in City North Hotel in Dublin.  The young people were from the parishes of Mallow, Carrigaline, Kilgariffe, Fanlobbus and Rosscarbery.

Before the Forum, each Diocese was asked to produce and submit a video focusing on “What young people want from the church?”

The young people from Cork rose to the challenge and put a great piece together.  Here it is:

The Forum was organized by the Church of Ireland Youth Department (CIYD) and was facilitated by Nic and Sally Sheppard of Church Army.  Simon Henry, Steve Grasham and Barbara Swann from CIYD always put a lot of work into this event.

This year Bishop Storey, who is chairperson for CIYD, opened the day with a passage from Galatians chapter 2 vs 20: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”  She encouraged everyone to live their best life.

The theme for the day was Ministry and Mission and was made up of debates, icebreakers, discussions and activities.

Some questions that were put to the group were “Where and how did Jesus minister to people?” and “What were the key elements of the ministry of Jesus?”. Plus many many more discussion type questions.  The groups were then asked to look at some examples which they personally find teaches them something about the way they live their lives and how they should be with other people.

The day closed with Steve Grasham leading worship.

Even though it was initially a 3 year project, the Cork group are very disappointed that it is over!  They absolutely loved attending this yearly event and made the most out of each year.

It is a great event to bring some of the youth from all the dioceses together to not just be part of the learning and the teachings of the day but to encourage the teens to meet people outside of their own areas and to build connections.

Fingers-crossed CIYD will continue on with something along the same lines for next year!


Posted in CDYC, Diocese, Youth Work