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, part of the Church of Ireland, 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.

Article first appeared on Diocesan Newsblog