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- December, 2021 / Christmas Edition -

From the Editor:  
Making Christmas

Who would have thought that this year we would, once again, be compelled by a pandemic to re-make Christmas.

It is not what we are used to doing and it was not what we hoped to do.  Yet, there is an appropriateness to it that might be a lesson to carry forward into future Christmases in better times. 

Take the irony of the disposable facemask nativity. It initially looks glib, but if the nativity is truly a message of love and hope, then there is not glibness, but an appropriateness and great relevance.

Holiday air travel disrupted, limits on household gathering size, limits on table size at restaurants. Our holiday gathering will be smaller and many of them will be skipped over.  Sad, and yet strangely ironic when we stop to remember that we are commemorating a story whose setting was a manger because there was no room in the inn.

Perhaps in our adjustments to "make do" and cut back on our Christmas traditions and aspirations, it may be we are actually a little closer to Christmas in a spiritual sense. Just maybe in our slowing down and cutting back we will witness and even experience things that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Things like a greater outpouring of the small blessings in the little opportunities for sharing love and kindness.

I pray that we do.

Happy Christmas 
Neal Dunnigan, Editor

From the Minister:  A Christmas Message

At this time of the year, our minds cannot help but be drawn to a stable in Bethlehem some two thousand years ago. Those events, as outlined in the gospel accounts are for some articles of faith. For other a story that takes on a metaphoric meaning and for others they struggle to find their own interpretation somewhere in between. 

As Unitarians, many of us fall into the second or third category but this doesn’t mean we should ignore or worse dismiss the story of the stable. We are reminded that life has been around for a very long time, life with all its mod cons existed long before we did, and it survived in much harsher and unforgiving times than we now live in. 

Sometimes, we think we are the only people that time has ever known. 
We see in the stable the miracle of life, that first breath, the relief of a nervous and probably afraid young mother. We are with Mary and Joseph as like all new first -time parents, the enormity sinks in, the weight of responsibility is a weight we carry with joy and pleasure. We are with the new- born child, he has made his first and most arduous journey from the womb to take his place in the world, to realise potential, to be what life will desire him to be. It is a journey we have all made, a journey we have all shared, a journey we have all shared with a child born in a stable in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago.

That is the miracle, awe and wonder of life. That is Christmas.

I wish each of you, the happiest, merriest Christmas you can imagine. May peace be in your hearts and homes and may the innocence of a new-born baby touch and captivate your heart, even only for one day of the year!

Have a Happy and Holy Christmas and the very best for the New Year.

Rev Mike O Sullivan, Minister

Church Committee:  An End-of-Year Thank You

We want to thank all of you who helped get our church through a difficult 2021.

In particular, we want to specially thank the very small group of people who have sustained the church by their regular financial support. They have made the difference to kept our doors open and provided Rev Mike with the breathing room to adapt our ministry to offer blended on-line and in-person Sunday services.

Looking ahead to 2022, we have a lot of hope and excitement about the church and the programs which support its mission. A lot more than Sunday services happen at the church. Of course, to do those things we will need to get through the winter heating season and the costs associated with that. 

We also have the disadvantage that the various COVID-19 constraints have prevented us from renting the church hall during this extended pandemic and that was a financial hit. But however helpful that ancillary revenue stream might have been, the real sustaining support of the church must always be its members' and friends' contributions, rather than commercial endeavours.  All of us are the church and the the health of the church is only as good as our personal dedication and solidarity in financially sustaining our community. 

We invite you to become a regular donor to our church. Your regular donation really helps us to plan and manage our finances as it provides the church with a predictable and reliable monthly income. The people who donate this way tell us that it also helps them with their own houshold budgeting. There is an iDonate link at the end of this newsletter. Please consider setting up a regular monthly donation.

It is an honour to serve you and we wish each and every one of you, and all of your loved ones -

A very Happy Christmas and New Year 

From your Church Committee: 

  • Neal (Chairperson)
  • Colm (Treasurer)
  • Pearce (Secretary) 

A Christmas Greeting From Belfast

When I was a Trade Union Official with the Communications Workers Union I spent many a day at meetings in Cork City, which gave me a interesting insight into the culture of that fascinating city. I have preached on a number of occasions in the Unitarian Church and again this was an added experience of Cork. I like to think I know the City well but to be honest if you really want to know a place, you have to live there.

Which brings me to Belfast, a city I visited on numerous occasions and thought I knew well. But I was wrong and now that i have lived here for 16 years I know it as a different place than I could have imagined. 

Why am I telling you this because sometimes how we perceive a place is not the place at all, nor are the people the people we imagined.  I would never in my whole life, living in Dublin, have imagined living in Belfast, Minister of All Souls and then to be appointed to the position of Moderator of the Non Subscribing Presbyterians of Ireland (NSPCI), which includes our two Unitarian Churches in the Republic. It has been an amazing journey, which has endeared me to the city of Belfast. Hopefully, in the new year, I will have the opportunity to travel to Cork and share aspects of that journey with you. 

In the meantime may I wish Reverend Michael and the beloved Community of Cork Unitarian Church a wonderful Christmas, joyful and happy New Year. Keep the light shinning in your wonderful church as a glimmer of free religious thought and a welcoming sign to all, who arrive at your door. God Bless and Nollaig Shona.

Rev. Chris Hudson, MBE
Moderator NSPCI 


Deck The Halls... 

2021 has been such a difficult year, I thought we needed to do something together - At least that was Liesh's thinking when she stepped forward with an idea to brighten up the church for Christmas. With the annual church Christmas concert out of the question, there seemed to be something lacking, but Liesh had an idea to take Christmas back. Liesh's idea had four main parts.

  • First, members of the congregation would donate old ornaments and decorations - that way the results would inclusively reflect all of us at the church.  
  • Second, we would have a team of volunteers come in to collaboratively do the decorating - again more community participation.
  • Third, we would divide the church into different areas. each area would be decorated to represent a different expression of the Christmas experience. For example one area featured a traditional look, while another featured a winter wonderland, and another featured a children's perspective, etc. This helps us remember that the Christmas experience is different for each us and different at various times of our lives.
  • Fourth, we would  present at the  message of Peace on Earth, at the front door of the church,  in as many languages as we could find, preferably by personally asking people we know who are from other countries. Regardless of how we personally recognise Christmas, we all join in the common message underlying it all. And that message is for all the world.

The results were spot on and touched on our Cork Unitarian values in so many ways....just look:

Special thanks to Liesh, 
Bernice, Mary, Teresa, Neal and of course Sam.

Happy Christmas 

Prayer Circle 

Remember You Loves Ones This Holiday

How would you send a prayer request to the Prayer Circle?

  • Anyone wanting to ask for a prayer can send an E-Mail to: (this information is also on our church web site and Facebook page).
  • The request will be distributed once to the entire Circle at the next Prayer Circle mailout opportunity.
  • Please repeat your request as necessary and please send news of answered prayer.
  • There is no need to go into detail or name full names - remember, the email will go out far and wide. Please be wise in protecting your own and others' anonymity. 
  • If you have a need that is so personal you wish not to give any detail at all, that's fine. Just write that you request prayer for a special intention. Remember, God knows the details.

Would you like to join the Prayer Circle and pray for others?

  • Simply register as a Prayer Circle member by clicking here:
  • After you have joined, you will be on a mailing list and receive regular posts with prayer requests.
  • It will be your responsibility to keep private anything you learn from a prayer request out of respect.  Do not redistribute or forward the list.


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