Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Raheny's Loss

Rev. Jim Carroll
Rector of All Saints' Raheny

Raheny's loss, on this occasion, will be nobody's gain except maybe for Jim and his family. And I'll bet they will miss Raheny as much as Raheny will miss them.

Jim has been Rector here for the last 21 years and is enormously popular, not just within his own religious congregation, but throughout the village and its catchment area, and also in Coolock which is part of the Raheny Church of Ireland parish.

He has been privileged with a fine house and an absolutely magnificent church.

The church has, however, needed significant renovations to the roof and belfry, and the heritage status of the building has called for work of the highest standard. This led to a serious funding drive, to which the Roman Catholic parishes of Raheny and Killester contributed. The peak of this activity was surely the bible reading marathon on the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible.

After keeping the parish, and Raheny at large, informed of progress in the fundraising, the appeal sign has now been converted into the thank you sign above. The money was raised, the roof was fixed and the bell is now ringing again.

The Church of Ireland Parish Newsletter has come out with a special issue covering Jim's period in Raheny and his imminent departure. I'm told that Andrea has done a marvellous job on it and the proof of this and of Jim's popularity is that the entire issue has now run out. I'll come back to it here when I get my hands on a (hard or virtual) copy.

Jim and Valerie's departure also rates a column and a half over two issues of the Raheny News (21 & 28/4/2013). The issue of 28/4/2013 also led with a headline item on the fundraising described above.

My own contact with this church is relatively recent and dates from my (now departed) 90 year old cousin from Cill Éanna across the road filling me in on one aspect of Jim's colourful background. I later ended up more or less accidentally taking part in the first King James marathon. Some time after that episode I was run off church grounds by the BBC who I was informed were making a film about Jack the Ripper inside in the church. Dramatic stuff, but it turned out to be not quite so dramatic. Full marks to Jim, though, for getting involved in this interesting enterprise. By way of a parting shot, in the closing months of his ministry, he gave us Martin Luther, in a compelling reminder of the this heretic's continuing relevance to modern Christianity.

He took his last service at 10am on Sunday (28/4/2013), and what a memorable service it was. The church was packed to overflowing - standing room only, and the mutual involvement between Jim and Valerie on the one hand and the community/congregation on the other was celebrated in great style.

I think it is probably the only Protestant service I have ever been at, but I don't expect ever to be at one which surpasses it. It was a fitting tribute to Jim and Valerie's dedication to their congregation over 21 years (and in deference to Jim I had better make some effort to give Jesus a mention!).

Jim's last stand: a last look at the church notice with his name "up in lights".

Time to call in the painters.

Update - November 2013

And the painters came and went. And the parish awaits its new Rector.


Dot said...

I've been reading your blog since I lived in Ballybrack and found you through Ian Poulton. I've been wondering recently what your Raheny connection is, especially since I've moved into this area. I had thought you were a Killiney resident, but you obviously spend plenty of time around Raheny. I was also at Jim's farewell service on Sunday (singing in the choir), and I took part in the second Bible marathon, in 2012.

Dot said...

Actually, given you are wrestling Greyhound, you clearly are in the Dublin City Council area and presumably Raheny. But since Ian linked to you as a Ballybrack blogger that's the bracket I had you in. Ignore me; I am clearly quite dim...

Póló said...

Hi Dot

I had you down too as Ballybrack/Killiney. Had been to your blog way back, again via Ian Poulton.

I lived in Ballybrack from 1954 to 1975 when I moved to Raheny.

I have never actually met Ian, though we have corresponded online. I did some work on local history in the area in the early 1970s, and though I am now in Raheny, my local history interest remains in the Ballybrack/Killiney rather than the Raheny area.

I only got to know Jim Carroll in recent times, despite his being in Raheny for the last 21 years - nearly, but not quite, as long as myself.

If you are still interested in the Ballybrack/Killiney area, I have a fair amount of historical stuff up on line, and, as for Raheny, I recently did an index page to stuff I had up there.

The Ballybrack historical stuff is mainly here, here and here.

And my Raheny index page is here.