Churches to hold special services to mark Refugees Week


St Finbarr's Church Carrickmacross.

Special services are being held in churches in the Carrickmacross Group this Sunday, 13 June to mark the beginning of Refugee Week.

Earlier this year St Finbarr’s was signed up as a Church of Sanctuary making the following pledge: 'We the Select Vestry of St Finbarr’s Church of Ireland, Carrickmacross wish to affirm our support for the Places of Sanctuary movement and our desire to work towards achieving ‘Church of Sanctuary’ designation. We will seek to develop and embed in our Parish a culture of welcome and hospitality towards asylum seekers and refugees in our own community and across our island. While we recognise that this will be a process of growth and learning within our particular situation, we state our commitment to the following general principles:
• Offering a positive vision of a culture of welcome and hospitality to all;
• Creating opportunities for relationships of friendship and solidarity between local people
and those seeking sanctuary;
• Recognising and encouraging partnership and network development across localities;
• Identifying opportunities for working on common cause issues within and across
• Celebrating and promoting the welcome and contribution of people seeking sanctuary;
• Engaging people seeking sanctuary in decision making processes at all levels and in all
• Promoting understanding of asylum and refugee issues, especially by enabling refugee voices to be heard directly.

Revd Colin McConaghie.

Revd McConaghie explained that prior to the closure of churches due to the pandemic the local Church of Ireland churches in the area had begun to make connections with local asylum seekers and refugees with a number of those who had recently arrived in Ireland attending the churches in both Carrickmacross and Magheracloone.

'The churches hope to make those connections once more as restrictions ease as part of their mission to create a church where all are truly welcomed regardless of class, race, colour of skin, sexual orientation or gender.'

Rev Colin McConaghie explained how the church members have a real passion for serving our local community and all who live here.

“A key message of the Gospel is that of welcome and hospitality. Jesus often went against popular thinking to reach out beyond ethnic background or standing in society. As a group of churches we feel called to serve our community and to be a church were all are openly welcomed in God’s love. It is important to know that those people who have moved to this are wherever they are from are welcomed and they can become a part of our community,” he said.

The special services for sanctuary Sunday take place on Sunday in St Finbarr’s at 10.30am (also live on their Facebook Page), St Molua’s, Magheracloone at 12noon and St Patrick’s Ardragh at 1.15pm. Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions continue to be in place.