Statement re: Covid-19 & Parish Activities

Statement re: Covid-19 & Parish Activities

Statement from Staff Team 

Re: Covid-19 & Parish Activities 

Dear Parishioners

As parish staff team we have been working hard to ensure that our response to the Corona Virus is both sensible and pastoral. 

Services this Sunday 

9.30 am – Holy Communion  in St. Peters Church Carrigrohane 

11am  – St. Senan’s Church – Reflective Service 

Our Associate Minister Robert & Michael Kenning will be experimenting with a live stream from the Carraig Centre in Ballincollig which will begin at 11am during which we will have a contemporary service of the Word. Do check out for more details.  This will be online only!

Other things going ahead  this week 

11am Tuesday 17th March St. Patricks Day – Holy Communion in Blarney Church. 

Wednesday 18th March – Gatherings in all our churches for prayer & fasting


Please read on for more information

Bishop Paul yesterday circulated  a pastoral letter based upon the current  advice from HSE and to which we have points to implement locally.  As a parish we have been carefully considering all points in this letter together with our own risk assessments. What follows are our decisions based upon both 

Church of Ireland Bishops General Advice – available here 

Bishop Paul’s Pastoral Advice – available here

In light of the news that all indoor gatherings above 100 people are to be suspended, that schools etc are to be closed we as a parish leadership team are being cautious about what we are providing during this period of time. 

While most of our services attract a much lower number of participants than this 100  limit – we have identified a potential risk when it comes to suitable ‘social distancing’ in some of our activities prompting some unfortunate but necessary cancellations. 

 Social distancing aims, through a variety of means, to decrease or interrupt the spread of COVID-19. It does this by minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals. Social distancing is keeping a 2m (6ft) space between you and other people. You should not shake hands or make close contact where possible.

We are treading a line between ministry being provided and also the risk to participants being minimised. 

Therefore we are still planning on  gathering in some of our churches this sunday – all of which will have sufficient hand hygiene solutions whether this be hand sanitizer and/or washing facilities. We would also want to ensure that parishioners are enabled to make sensible decisions especially if you fall into one of the vulnerable groups. If this applies to you please consider the risk and make your own decisions about attendance. 

We would also encourage you If you are displaying the symptoms please do not come to church – it is important that we care for one another during this difficult time. 

This information will be reviewed on a weekly basis – please do watch our website for details. 

Services this Sunday 

9.30 am – Holy Communion  in St. Peters Church Carrigrohane 

11am  – St. Senan’s Church – Reflective Service 

Our Associate Minister Robert will be experimenting with a live stream from the Carraig Centre in Ballincollig which will begin at 11am during which we will have a contemporary service of the Word. Do check out for more details. this will be on online only

Other things going ahead  this week 

11am Tuesday 17th March St. Patricks Day – Holy Communion in Blarney Church. 

Wednesday 18th March – Gatherings in all our churches for prayer & fasting – Please see attachment 

Cancellations this week and until further notice 

  • Sunday –  Sunday AM – usually held in the  parish centre, Lighthouse Messy Church, Sunday PM
  • Monday – St. Patrick’s eve Concert in Blarney church
  • Friday – Sparks Toddler group  and April Gunn’s meal in Blarney. 
  • Glow, Glow MAX 
  • Bandon Youth Trip – Cheques and cash will be returned in due course 
  • YMCA have cancelled their activities in Blarney Church. 

Online Meetings 

We do have the facilities available for on-line meetings to happen if this is required by any of our groups 


Leaders of Each of the groups in the parish will need make their own decisions about the risks involved – but the advice from the clergy team is not to meet due to the risks of social distancing or to use online meetings

What’s still going ahead & what’s changing & why

What’s been cancelledWhat’s Still happeningWhy cancel ?Why go ahead?
Friday 13th March Toddlers
Risk assessment with  Team Leaders
Sunday 15th March Sunday AM Lighthouse Messy Church
Sunday PM 
9.30 Holy Communion (St. Peter’s) 
11am – Reflective Service in Inniscarra
11am – Experiment of an Online Service of the Word live from the Carraig Centre (online only)
Uncertain numbers and risk assessment of social distancing – Sunday AM  in parish centre
Hands on nature of Lighthouse and kids risk groups 
St. Peters & Inniscarra
Good Hygiene, low risk of hand contact & social distancing for both St. Peter’s and St. Senan’s 
Low numbers normal 
Monday 16th March Community Choir Concert
Numbers >100 
Tuesday 17th March 
11am Blarney Church St. Patricks day Service 
Good Hygiene potential, social distancing potential 
Wednesday 18th March YMCA groups Prayer & Fasting in the parish Schools are off Good Hygiene potential, social distancing potential 
Friday 20th March April Gunn’s Fundraising Meal 

Potential of vulnerable groups being present and also social distance potential.

We will make a statement for the following week next Friday Morning. 

Until then please do keep an eye on our website and social media  for updates and also possible online meetings

In all of this please be sensible and be calm 

This morning we received this and has helped clarify why we are cancelling Sunday AM, Lighthouse and Toddler groups. 

Message from consultant respiratory paediatrician at Cork University Hospital. 

I hope you all stay safe during this difficult time . The children will get through this no problem . Paediatric hospitals are empty in Italy at present after 3 weeks of school closure as the usual viruses stopped circulating . Remember with corona, children are vectors not victims . In most epidemics young children are the transmitters . Therefore for school closure to be effective it’s *really important* that the kids aren’t mixing with other kids while out of school. They will give it to each other and silently pass it on to our loved ones. What we do know now will contribute to how this develops in Cork. Avoid situations that the children will interact . If the community respond to this it will shut it down more than anything we do in hospital . From my experiences in the hospital this last week I would say that corona virus is closer to all of us than we realise and the degrees of separation for all of us is getting narrower . I’m not that good at social media but if this could be shared as widely as possible with parents in Cork it will help. This message needs to go viral to stop the virus .

If we as clergy can provide pastoral support please do let us know. 

Ian, Robert,  Matt & Katie. 

Advice for the parish about the novel coronavirus (Covid-19)

Advice for the parish about the novel coronavirus (Covid-19)

The following advisory guidelines have been issued for the Church of Ireland’s response regarding the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) reflect previous advice provided by the Church as a response to pandemic flu.

These guidelines will be followed in all of our churches in the parish from this Sunday.

1. Follow all public health guidance provided by state authorities – Health Protection Surveillance Centre in the Republic of Ireland (

2. Physical interaction during services, including the Sign of Peace, will be suspended. Shaking hands on greeting and departure at religious services/gatherings will be suspended. Observe good hand and general hygiene – thorough hand-washing with soap or sanitisers and disposal of tissues.

3. Stay at home if you feel ill and display influenza-like symptoms. The symptoms to be aware of in the case of the coronavirus include cough, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, and fever. Do not come to church services until you feel well.

4. The Church’s duty of care extends to members of the clergy. If you have influenza-type symptoms, do not call the clergy for pastoral visitation. Pastoral support for parishioners who are unable to attend church services should be provided by telephone or online (e.g. Skype).

5. Everyone administering Holy Communion should wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand gel before beginning.

Holy Communion should be administered only in one kind (bread) and placed into the hands only and not onto the tongue.

Only the celebrant should drink from the chalice. Holy Communion is normally received in both kinds separately – bread and wine – but may be received in either kind, and those who are incapable of receiving the sacrament are to be assured that they are by faith partakers of the body and blood of Christ and of the benefits He conveys to us by them (Book of Common Prayer, p.440). Intinction should be avoided.

Guidance for religious services has been provided by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

Any further guidance for either jurisdiction will be circulated as and when available. Please feel free to share this post widely with anyone for whom it may be helpful.

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

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, 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