Dear parishioners and friends,

You will probably have heard on the six o’clock news this evening, Friday 18 September, that Dublin has now been placed under Level 3 restrictions for the next three weeks beginning at 12 midnight tonight. Level 3 includes as part of its restrictions the closure of churches for public worship. Sadly this means that with immediate effect Monkstown church will not see any public worship for the next three weeks.

Following on from last week’s letter Olwen, our parish treasurer has reminded me to mention that our total for our Lenten jam jar appeal in aid of the schoolhouse did not include donations sent in via online banking. It looks like our total will therefore increase and as soon as a final figure is available we will let you know. Our appeal for the Storehouse in Crinken has also closed and hopefully a figure for that will be available by Sunday. The work of the Storehouse continued during the pandemic lockdown period and demand on its services were high. The small shed they have worked from in the church grounds is no longer fit for purpose and planning permission for a new building has been granted which will ensure the vital work of the Storehouse can continue into the future. As a parish we will continue to support the work of the Storehouse and we thank Anne Lee who acts as our liaison for this wonderful outreach and support project.

Usually at this time of the year our thoughts turn to Harvest Thanksgiving but alas our usual harvest festivities will not take place this year. In our service this week you will notice that I have included this year’s harvest readings, psalm and some prayers for your use in the week ahead and have also included an interesting reflection from All Hallows’ church in Leeds by Paul Magnall. It certainly will give us food for thought in the week ahead. On BBC 1 on Sunday 20 September there will be a harvest themed broadcast from Saddleworth. The Revd Kate Bottley visits a farm in Saddleworth on the Yorkshire / Lancashire border and interviews Aaron Moffat-Jackson and his wife Gemma, who tend sheep on a field next to their church and use their farm to educate others about care for God’s creation. Katie Piper visits a farm in Carmarthenshire to meet the Venerable Eileen Davis who has set up a helpline for farmers and in Trafford, the Revd John Hughes explains how his church has become a hub for green-fingered enthusiasts who are growing their own food. The hymns and songs in the programme were recorded before lockdown.

On a similar ‘green theme’ here in Monkstown you will have noticed a number of new flower containers around the village and two outside the Knox Hall. These were made by Seamus Cannon who writes a monthly article on heritage matters in Monkstown Voice. The planters are filled with bee friendly pollinator plants provided by Hobart and Mayes and were planted and paid for by the Tidy District committee. We thank the committee for all their hard work in the village and for donating two planters to the parish as part of that work. Our other green oasis is the garden of remembrance behind the church and we continue to thank Chris for all his work keeping it neat and tidy. The grass is looking really healthy due to his constant care over the past months and much of the new planting is maturing nicely. If anybody feels like donating daffodil or other Spring bulbs we will plant them in the flowerbeds around the church to add a little more Spring cheer to our surroundings!

Please continue to take care of yourselves and one another and contact me if you need me.

With love, prayers and my very best wishes,