Monday, August 13, 2012

Preaching Away: Coolbuck

Most Sundays, I have the joy and delight of preaching in my own parish church at Aghavea. You'll have to ask my parishioners if they have the joy and delight of listening to me! Occasionally, though, there are opportunities to discover and preach in other churches, and yesterday afternoon was a special one.

This is the little church at Coolbuck, in the parish of Lisbellaw. There's a service here each Sunday afternoon at 3pm (fortnightly in the summer months). It's also not very big, as you might have noticed.

Coolbuck Interior

The parish website provides some more details:

"Coolbuck Mountain Church is a chapel of ease lying within the Parish of Lisbellaw. Early records of the church were lost with other parish records in the fire in Dublin in 1922

According to the Griffith Valuation in 1862 a new schoolhouse was to be added to their records. It is believed that the Ford family built it as a school and handed it over to the landlord JGV Porter to be used as a church.

The stonemason was John Johnston who lived nearby in Coolbuck; the agreed price for the building including the boundary wall was eight pounds.

John Johnston was married in the Parish of Derryvullen South to a local girl, Margaret Rinchey of nearby Mountdrum and they had a large family. Many of their children moved to Australia and three of them became ministers in the church. Their grandson was the Stationmaster in Lisbellaw and on the day of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II the family left Lisbellaw by train to start a new life in Australia.

After the First World War services were held monthly and Harvest Services held annually by the light of the tilley lamps. Rev JJ St Ledger opened the church on a weekly basis when he came to the parish in 1958 and this practice still continues. As such, we believe Coolbuck to be Ireland's smallest church building regularly used for public worship.

The electricity was brought to Coolbuck in 1995 with money raised at a Miniature Olde World Flower Festival.

One of the highlights for many in the parish and beyond is the First Communion of Christmas at Coolbuck on Christmas Eve.

The first funeral service was held here in 1979.
Our first baptism was a double baptism in 1971.
Our first Wedding was in December 2005."

Preacher's View

This is the preacher's point of view, with twenty-four souls gathered yesterday, the small, intimate church provides great acoustics for singing, and no amplification required for preaching.

The Lord's Table

With thanks to the Rector, Bryan Kerr for inviting me to lead and preach at Coolbuck yesterday afternoon.

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