It was a strangely emotional experience to be back in the parish this evening where I was priest from 2002-2009. During my time as rector of Holy Trinity, Crosshaven, Co. Cork the parish embarked on a very ambitious restoration and conservation programme of their beautiful church which was designed and built between 1866-1868 by the word renowned architect William Burges. This church is a gem. As part of the overall restoration of the church the parish replaced a former Pipe Organ which had reached the end of its days by commissioning a brand new mechanical action pipe organ which was built by the Dutch organ builder Henk van Eeken and installed a few weeks ago. Mark Duley, Organ Consultant for the project gave inspirational leadership to the parish throughout this project. The Bishop blessed the new organ tonight, something which I guess is a rare thing these days.
It took a long time to get to tonight and it was a sense of real sadness for me that this project was not finished by the time I felt called to pastures new in healthcare ministry in 2009. It was something that I felt I left unfinished and if i'm honest left me with a level of guilt -until tonight.
I was graciously invited to preach at the service of dedication this evening by my successor to whom great credit is due for bringing the project to its completion. I loved my time in that parish and it will forever hold special memories for me as a priest. I had profound moments in my ministry there with the most wonderful people. In the words of the Bishop "...[they] have done a beautiful thing for God..." in seeing this project through to completion. I don't think however that the locals realise yet the immense significance of this project in terms of its contribution to the musical world not just in Cork but in Ireland. It looks stunning and is faithful to the sheer brilliance and genius of William Burges. I was immensely proud of the parishioners for having the courage to see this project through to completion and it was a real joy to be there this evening.
In my sermon I reflected on primary role of the Pipe Organ in shaping and allowing God's Spirit to infuse the beauty of worship and how it has the capacity to bring us to that deep place and experience of God. I had many such experiences in this parish and indeed in Nohoval Parish Church which is the second of the two churches which makes up the parish grouping of Templebreedy. I described the Pipe Organ as holding the breadth of the human condition within it. It brings out the very best in terms of what is possible when we work together creating the most beautiful and rich harmony but strangely -as in life- the same processes can bring about dischord and the pain of shrill when we do not work together. Both are held together and are in many ways inseparable parts of the reality of being human.
I wish the parish of Templebreedy every blessing as they continue to make music and offer the very best of it in their worship to God week by week. They are fortunate to have such dedication in their Director of Music and their beautiful Templebreedy Children's Choir and of course their Priest Isobel Jackson. Ad multos annos.