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- September, 2021 -

From the Editor:  
Autumn  Greetings

The incremental lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions gave relief for the end of summer and we progress into the fall with continued cautious relaxation.  We are cautioned against claiming "victory" as this was not a game to be thought of as over when time ends, nor was it even one of those few iconic battles whose conclusion marks the end of a war.  The notion of "victory" hints at the false comfort of dualistic thinking.

Maybe a better term than "victory" would be "success". We set goals, made plans, marshalled resources, applied organised effort, and achieved our objectives - overall, we have been, and are being, successful.  

That may be a better way to look at it for two reasons.
  • First - It puts things in a more useful perspective. The virus is not dead or extinct, we have simply marginalised its effects to the point where we can co-exist with it. The virus was neither evil nor an enemy; it was simply dangerous and a serious problem.
  • Second - that mind shift allows us to make better use of the lessons that we may have learned from the pandemic.  Lessons about: us all working together, heroic efforts of a few complemented by the compliance of the great majority, listening to the wisdom of science, and balancing the need for action with the need to care for ourselves daily.
We go on to face other problems - as individuals, in our families, in our church community, and as a society.  Those problems will generally require orchestrated efforts leading to successful solutions, rather than simple victories. Through our COVID-19 efforts, we have demonstrated the capacity that we have to be successful when we act together - with thoughtfulness, coordination, and commitment.   

Peace, and blessings
Neal Dunnigan, Editor

From the Minister:  Spring  - Aspirations & Realisations of  Hope & Joy 

Last Tuesday ( Sept 8th) a plane touched down at Dublin Airport. On board were Irelands Para Olympians returning from the Para Olympic games which had just ended in Tokyo. The returning athletes carried home an impressive haul of medals; four gold, two silver and one bronze.

 Of course, not every athlete that went to Japan came home with a medal, but does that matter? Well just ask the proud family members and friends who gathered to welcome home their heroes. Ask the Aer Lingus crew and staff who gave them a guard of honour.

 We live in a world where winning and success are becoming more ever the goals to strive for and sadly in an era of media stars and social influencers, success id often tied into job status, earnings, image and sadly it seems ever more increasingly the food you eat!

 Life is not a competition, not a race to be won. It is not about climbing over anybody that gets in my way to achieve my goals, not about winning at any cost. It is as I mentioned during service ( Sept 5th ) about having a wider perspective and a deeper resolve. That’s the race, that’s the journey and that is the winning!

( Rev ) Mike O’ Sullivan, Minister


Our New Church Website - Followup 

You might remember from our prior issue that we were looking for feedback on our new website of Cork Unitarian Church -  Six individuals stepped forward to answer our questioner and provide us with feedback. 

Here is what we learned...

1) We asked our reviewers to rate the look touch and feel of the website based on these characteristics:

  • Aesthetics (overall look)
  • Content
  • Navigation and Content Organisation
  • Ease of use

2) We asked our reviewers to rate the relevancy of the web site and how they thought it communicates and resonates with:

  • Church members and friends
  • The general public

3) Some comments from our reviewers:

  • The website is beautiful, but some parts appear to be broken.
  • everything flows very easily. Menus are great. The font is easy to read too. Content is basic and clear, not overly verbose. Great job!!!!
  • The website was really slow. Kind of had a delay when you clicked on things. Also I suggest using larger print. Otherwise a great start!
  • The website is clear, the content is good, well organised/indexed and well written/interesting (there are 'plain english' websites and guides available, but I think the info is well pitched and clear/coherent). The text is a little small (have you looked at guides for visually impaired for web design? You can do alt text on pictures and also they might give some guidance on the best font and text size) Some of the design can look a bit amateur - that's fine - but you could improve by giving photos a border, or not using really obvious stock pics. The logos/symbols are all fine, but a a border on them might be tidier? Possibly the plain white background might also make things look too simplistic? It's not a website for printing so a colour tint might help? Also have you checked to see if the site works well on both laptop and smart phone? And have you used embedded hypertext words for searching within the website infrastructure?

We thank our reviewers for their thoughtful efforts and we will be taking their guidance into consideration as we maintain and evolve our church web presence.

Best regards,
The Ministry Development Team


Some of you may be aware that the Irish Charity Regulator maintains an official registry of charities. Any member of the public can validate the church’s listing at this link

Less well know is a world-wide organisation called Tech Soup and its Irish affiliate Enclude.IE 

Enclude’s purpose is to enable non-profit organisations to improve the impact of their work and give better service to more people through the systematic and innovative use of technology. Tech Soup / Enclude acts as a clearing house the philanthropic contributions of large technology companies including Adobe, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. By registering Cork Unitarian Church with Enclude, the church becomes know as a legitimate charity that is eligible for certain technology discounts and donations.

Our “shopping” spree at Enclude has enabled us to acquire a free subscription to Google Workspace. This Google offering is a bundle of their various tools, some of which you may already have used. There are a couple of things which make this offering special from the church’s perspective:
  1. It is cloud based - We do not need any dedicated software or hardware. We can access it from anywhere. Backup and security are managed for us.
  2. It is designed and optimised to run modern small businesses spread over multiple locations.
  3. The various Google tools are organised under an account structure to facilitate collaboration.  So interactions with the tools are under the unified management of the church’s Workspace account.

Some of the tools bundled into Google Workspace include:
  • G-Mail - E-Mail (enhanced to work with our E-Mail domain)
  • Google Groups - A modern version of a bulletin board or list-serve where groups can be set up to interact on discussion topics (i.e. threads) via group E-Mails or web pages.
  • Google Meet - a lot like Zoom
  • Google Calendar - a shared calendar for tracking common events
  • Google Drive - Shared cloud storage
  • Google Docs - Collaborative word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations
  • Google Jamboard - A virtual whiteboard application for better virtual meetings
  • Google Keep - A virtual and sharable “sticky pad” to catch and share ideas
  • Google Tasks - Manage to-do lists
  • Google Classroom - Design and hold on-line classes
….and many more

Most of our members already interact with the church via our social media tools like Facebook or our web site. All of that will stay the same. Initially Workspace will be used behind the scenes.

For example, one of our first tasks is to organise our inventory of church electronic documentation including: governance documents, meeting minutes, and financial statements. Not a big impact to most church members, but a major help to the minister and the members of the Management Team and the Ministry Development Team. Our Google Drive will become the authoritative source for all of the church’s operational documents and the people who need to use them will be assured of finding the correct version of all of the information at hand. This will also be a significant aid to onboarding new members to these volunteer teams. 

One part of this that will be more publicly visible in October is YouTube. The recognition of our church as a "brand account" by Google will allow the church to set up a proper YouTube presence (i.e. channel). This will provide us with enhanced capabilities to share the streaming of our weekly services and also developed and share other video content.  You can see a preview of our new YouTube channel at: Unitarian Church - Cork.

Looking out into 2022, another example is that we are planning to use the Google Classroom tool as we develop training programs for volunteers (like the management team and lay liturgy leadership) and also for personal spiritual development.

Although a lot of this may appear new-fangled to us, it is all common practice in Ireland's contemporary business community.  Also,  the underlying principles of church stewardship remain constant:
Make the best use of the resources available for the good of the ministry.

Peace and blessings
Neal Dunnigan, Editor


On our church web site we have a video of parody song called:
Some of the lines poke fun at the perceived tendency of Unitarians to talk, rather than do.
  • We’re full of fine ideas that should fill our church’s empty pews…
  • I serve on ten committees - none of which accomplish anything…
  • I formulate agendas and discuss them with the best of them, but don’t ask me to implement, I leave that to the rest of them
If those digs were not at least a little bit true, they would not be so funny. So how do we avoid becoming realisations of our own comic caricature?  

We have already started. A few months ago, we developed vision and mission statements, as well as a set of values. These are helping us to articulate who we are as a church community. They also help us in making decisions about how we go about doing things. The next step beyond knowing who we are is knowing where we are going. This is where planning comes in.

Over the next several months, the church will be working on a 3-5 Year Plan. This will allow us to set priorities, goals, and approaches to adapt to the future. The plan will address a number of areas like:

The Congregation:
  • Are we properly serving our people?
  • Are we reaching out to people who would benefit by knowing about us?
  • Are we helping people to grow in their faith?
  • Are we training people for leadership?
  • Training
Our Ministries:
  • On-line ministry direction
  • Sunday Service Quality
  • Other Services
  • Social justice efforts
  • Interfaith efforts
  • Service to the larger Cork community
  • Management practices
  • Technology infrastructure
  • Building and facilities
  • Fundraising
These are just some of the initial ideas that are going into the preparation for the planning process.

A lot of the staff work for this will be done by the minister, the management team, and the ministry development team. However, there will also be volunteer opportunities for involvement on different aspects of the plan as we get to those sections. Most important, there will be reports on progress and opportunity for feedback from the the congregation as parts of the plan are drafted.

Maybe you have some ideas, wishes, or preferences. While we will be having feedback session throughout the process, you don't have to wait. You can send your thoughts to 

Let's do it.

Ministry Development Team


Prayer Circle

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.


Be a Part of All of Our 
Ministries Through Your Financial Contribution

Here is the link to make that kind of blessing:  Thank you for your support and generosity.
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