Bishop Paul Colton’s Monthly Letter for July to the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

Each month, Bishop Paul Colton writes a short one page letter as a foreword to the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Magazine.

As the letter for the July edition of the Magazine relates to the reopening of church buildings for worship as and from 29th June, the Bishop is publishing that letter online in advance.

Here is his letter in the July edition of the magazine:

I broke a tooth yesterday. I was really glad it didn’t happen during the strict ‘lockdown’ period.  So I phoned my dentist.  His dental nurse chatted me through it and then it came to making an appointment.  Some things had changed.  We made the appointment for Monday coming (I’m writing on Saturday, 13th June don’t forget).  Then  she went through a long checklist with me: a health check, signs and symptoms of CoronaVirus.  All was well.  Then I got my instructions – ‘Do not come in.  Wait in the car outside until I phone you.  That’ll be a while after the last person has left.  And wear a mask.  See you Monday!’

We are all adjusting, and, for the foreseeable future, this CoronaVirus will affect the way we live and go about our business. Church too! The HSE has produced lots of resources for this time. They are all available online.  Google ‘HSE Covid-19 resources’.   The headline on ‘Stay Safe Protect’ – the first of the posters – is twofold.  First, it says ‘Stay Safe’ (this has become the common parting greeting for many people).  The second part of that is ‘Protect Each Other’  I wonder if this part of the message has really taken root with everyone?

‘Protect each other’ – this should come as first nature to us as Christians for whom ‘Love God – Love your neighbour’ is our core principle.  Jesus told us that everything we are and do hangs on these.  This was his answer to the question ‘which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ (Matthew 22.36-40)  Many of the things we are being asked or required to do now are for the sake of other people.

We are looking forward to the reopening over time of our church buildings.  As we do so there are regulations and protocols that we must keep.  But we should want to keep them, not only because they are about staying safe, but because, perhaps even more than ourselves, other people in our community may need our protection. Your clergy and select vestries are busy getting ready. Because some people are at risk, we may not have the same team of lay volunteers or clergy to keep things going.  We need to understand this and  to be patient.  We need to understand that church-going will not be the way it always was, for a time.

Most of all, may I make one strong plea?  Please do not come to church (not something you usually hear a bishop saying)  – if you or anyone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone who has in the previous 14 days.

Stay Safe.  Protect Each Other.

✞ Paul Cork:

Posted in Bishop, Bishop's Monthly Letter

It’s Diocesan ‘Synod’ Day 2020 in Cork, Cloyne and Ross

Saturday, 13th June 2020 is in the diary as the day for this year’s Diocesan Synod of the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.  ‘Synod’ is rooted in the idea of gathering and meeting. But that, of course, cannot happen this year.

So instead?

You are invited to take a 30 minute break and to join us anytime today or in coming days for today’s Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan ‘Synod’ – a gathering and celebration.

You will see many people you know, perhaps even yourself, and catch up with what we are doing here in this part of the Church.

Yes, a ‘synod’ – well, sort  of – in just 30 minutes and you can view it, as has been said, anytime today or in coming days on our YouTube Channel

To view the 2020 Diocesan ‘Synod’ and celebration

Click  Here

The Cathedral Church of Saint Colman, Cloyne and the Round Tower. © Cathal Noonan. Thank you for permission to use this photograph.


Posted in Bishop, Carraig Centre, Cathedral, Cathedral Choir, CDYC, Chaplaincies, Charities in the Diocese, Charting A Future With Confidence, Children's Ministry, Christian Aid, Church in Society, Church of Ireland, Church Online, Churches in Cork, Clergy, Contemporary Issues, Cork, Cork Person of the Year Awards, Cork Three Faiths Forum, Diocesan Secretary, Diocesan Synod, Diocesan Youth Officer, Diocese, Eco Congregation, Ecumenism, Environmental Issues, Five Marks of Mission, Fresh Expressions, Guild of Lay Ministry, ICICYMA, Labyrinth, Mission to Seafarers, People from Cork, People from the Diocese, World Aid and Development, Youth Work

Prayer in Preparation for Re-opening Church Buildings ~ Archdeacon Adrian Wilkinson

The Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, who celebrated the silver jubilee of his ordination as  a priest on Saint Columba’s Day, 9th June, has written a  prayer for his parish and for use in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and  Ross.

It is for use as preparations are made for the reopening of church buildings.

It is now shared more widely as others may like to use it.  Here it is:


Creator God, 

not limited by time or space; 

your Son worshipped in synagogue and Temple, 

and your Spirit came in power on the disciples as they met in the Upper Room. 

By that same Spirit, 

guide us as we prepare to reopen the churches in this parish/diocese. 

May they be places of safety, 

where all feel your welcome, experience your love and are equipped in your service. 

We pray for those who through age or vulnerability will continue to worship at home, 

that together we may all rejoice in your goodness and know your blessing, 

until we can offer unceasing praise in your heavenly kingdom,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.




Archdeacon Adrian Wilkinson

Posted in Archdeacon, Church Services, Churches in Cork, Clergy, Cork, Corona Virus, COVID-19, Liturgy, Prayers

Five Online Singing Classes for Schools from Cork Diocesan Church Music Scheme

The Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Church Music Scheme is funded by the Diocesan Board of Education, the City of Cork Church School Board, the Diocesan Council with further support from Ashton School. Recently the Scheme received a generous donation of €30,000 given in memory of Avril Watters.  The Scheme is run by the music department at Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork and provides support for the development of music in primary and secondary schools, as well as in parishes across the Diocese.

A large component of the Scheme involves weekly and monthly visits to schools.  Primary schools further from the city are brought together for several joint workshops each year centred on the towns of Skibbereen and Bandon.

The latest development during the current school closures is a one week programme of videos made by Director of Music, Peter Stobart.

Peter said:

In order to bring some music into the lockdown lives of the children in our Diocesan Primary Schools, I have created a series of five short videos to be watched from home, one for each day of the week. They are all different and include warm-up songs, some with actions, tongue twisters, and each one ends with a hymn. Whilst nothing beats communal singing, this is an attempt to keep spirits up and to bring some of what would normally happen in school into the home.

The videos were released at the end of May ‘Diocesan Church Music Scheme’ playlist on the Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral’s YouTube channel: click HERE

Here are the links to the five lessons:

Monday – click HERE

Tuesday – click HERE

Wednesday – click HERE

Thursday – click HERE

Friday – click HERE

Posted in Cathedral, Children's Ministry, Church Music, Diocesan Church Music Scheme, Diocese, Education, Schools in the Diocese, Youth Work

Cork, Cloyne and Ross Prepares for Reopening of Church Buildings

For the last month, since the publication by the Irish Government of the Return to Work Safely Protocol, consultations have been taking place in the Church of Ireland United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross about the implementation of the Protocol in readiness for the reopening of church buildings.  Clergy have been busy evaluating church buildings in terms of the implications of social/physical distancing. They’ve also initiated discussions informally with select vestries (parish committees) and parishioners.

Throughout the CoronaVirus Crisis parishes, chaplaincies and clergy have been finding new and innovative ways, alongside traditional communication methods, of keeping the worship of the Church faithful and vibrant. During this time too, in parallel, Bishop Paul Colton and the clergy have been keeping in touch with regular coffee and chat meetings using ZOOM when, inevitably, the discussion would orientate towards planning for the future and for reopening.

The publication of the Government’s Protocol, public discourse about when church buildings might reopen and then, last week, the publication of the Church of Ireland’s Return to In-Church Worship Protocols have focussed minds on the process.  The Government’s announcement on Friday, 5th June contracting the phases in the ‘Roadmap’ has really spurred everyone on.

In his letter to the Diocese published at the start of June, but written on 13th May, Bishop Colton wrote:

The Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business signals that places of worship can re-open from 20th July, subject to the public health situation between now and then.  Re-opening isn’t as straightforward as it sounds because ‘the new normal’ will be different.  It will include social distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene – in Church too!

‘It just shows how things change rapidly in these times,’ says Bishop Colton. ‘On Friday last 5th June the timetable changed and we are now aiming for reopening on 29th June where that is possible in local situations.’

Two clergy meetings were held on Friday, 5th June to look in a preliminary way at the Church of Ireland Protocol and follow-up questions were identified. Bishop Colton has consolidated the Protocol into a checklist with suggestions for parishes.

Bishop Colton said:

This is now with local parishes for collaboration and implementation by local communities working together.  The announcement of a new timetable is something that should bring us joyjoy that Government tells us that the public health indicators to date justify this change of approach, and joy that we will be able to meet in Church together again as the people of God.

When the Taoiseach made his announcement he said ‘We also want places of worship to resume services again, with precautions.’  These precautions are embodied in the Protocol the Church of Ireland has now published.  We need to be attentive to them for everyone’s well-being and safety.  It is not a race between parishes to get buildings open. In some parts of the Diocese this may need more time to get ready and that is fine.  Also, practicalities and logistics mean that when buildings do reopen it will not be ‘business as usual’.  There are a host of things to put in place and to get used to, and this means it may be wise, in parishes where there are many church buildings, to open them step by step, progressively.

Online induction training is currently being organised, in the first instance, under the Bishop’s Continuing Ministerial Education programme, in partnership with an outside provider, for Covid-19 ‘Back to Work’ induction training for clergy, readers, and employees of parishes.  Training for volunteers will follow.  The Church of Ireland Protocol also signals that further guidance is in preparation concerning Holy Communion, Holy Baptism, Funerals, and the weekday opening of churches for private prayer.

Andy Jeffers with this father the Rev. Cliff Jeffers during one of the online services from Fanlobbus (Dunmanway, County Cork) during the Covid-19 restrictions. Telling the Good News as well as bringing community together were their goals including weekly interviews with parishioners who were living abroad and themed photos from local parishioners.

Posted in Announcements, Bishop, church buildings, Church in Society, Church of Ireland, Church Services, Contemporary Issues, Cork, Corona Virus, COVID-19, Diocese, Voluntary Work, ZOOM