Four New Churches of Sanctuary to be recognised
Places of Sanctuary Ireland will be recognising four new Churches of Sanctuary in the coming weeks.
In a wonderful showing of ecumenical solidarity, four churches of different denominations spread right across the island are being recognised as Churches of Sanctuary during the four-week period of Advent, the season of preparation within the church year leading up to the celebration of Christmas. The four churches are:
- Methodist Centenary Church, Dublin (27 November)
- Tullamore Presbyterian Church, Co Offaly (4 December)
- Carrigaline Union of Parishes, Co Cork (11 December)
- Parish of Clane and Rathcoffey, Co Kildare (18 December)
While each church will be marking the receipt of its Church of Sanctuary designation locally, all four will be united under the theme ‘No Room at the Inn’, in recognition of the serious strain on availability of accommodation and other services for refugees and those seeking international protection in Ireland.
The Revd Elaine Murray, Rector of the Carrigaline Union of Parishes shares, “We are delighted that we are to receive Church of Sanctuary status on 11th December. We really hope that our parish journey will continue under the guidance of the Places of Sanctuary movement and that our efforts will make even a small difference in the lives of people seeking sanctuary in Ireland”.
Fr. Paul O’Boyle, Parish Priest of Clane and Rathcoffey Parish, writes, “We are delighted to receive the Place of Sanctuary recognition. Our parish faith community welcomed a family of five from Syria through the Community Sponsorship Programme three years ago and more recently we welcomed an extended Ukrainian family of nine to live in our Parish Hall. We are pleased to accompany and support these fine people at this time of great need for them as we respond to the challenge posed by Jesus: ‘Who is my neighbour?’”.
All four of the churches will be using a prayer prepared by the Sanctuary in Faith Stream to highlight the ‘No Room at the Inn’ theme, as part of their individual recognition services, and others wishing to use the prayer during the Advent season are welcome to do so:
God of our journeys,
you called Abraham and Sarah to journey with you,
you led your people Israel to journey from slavery to freedom,
in Christ you journeyed from your heavenly throne
to take on flesh and dwell with your children.
You came as the Son of Man:
born in a crowded town, with no room at the inn,
living your vocation with nowhere to lay your head,
and being laid to rest in a borrowed tomb.
God with us:
we confess that our society does not always offer a welcome to the last and the least,
for this we repent and ask forgiveness;
we acknowledge the work of your Spirit within us
empowering us to open our hearts, our homes, and our communities
to those who have come to us seeking sanctuary;
for this grace we give you thanks.
God of the nations,
we pray that you will continue to work in us:
that in the words of our lips
and the actions of our lives
we may faithfully do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before you.
We offer this and all our prayers in the name of Christ. Amen.
For information on how to become part of the Sanctuary in Faith Stream please visit: https://ireland.cityofsanctuary.org/sanctuary-in-faith