December 2020 at the Dublin Unitarian Church

“I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.
A magical thing. And sweet to remember.
We are nearer to Spring than we were in September.
I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.”

Oliver Herford

Greetings from Dublin Unitarian Church.  

It has been a month of increasing hope.  Two new vaccines, a positive and decisive (if still contested) outcome in the US presidential election, the seeds of Advent and the approaching Christmas season beginning to take root, and the relaxation of restrictions a few days ago.  We hope that you are staying calm and positive in your own little bubble wherever you are.

Our Zoom services continue for now but our managing committee are examining the best ways of reopening in the near future in as safe, efficient and as positive a manner as possible – no plan has been cemented at time of writing but ideas are being examined and a plan  is expected soon – this will be advertised via our Facebook, Twitter and webpages.

Thanks are sent out as always to our hard-working group of people, both managing the church and the small group of dedicated volunteers looking after the Zoom feeds and email communications so that everybody – long-standing friends and newcomers – can feel included.  Their work is important and we are pleased to say that, despite the closing of the physical building, the church is very much open.  Stay calm, stay positive, stay at home as much as possible.

We still provide two services a week, currently both online; a Sunday morning service at 11am, usually led by our minister, Rev. Bridget Spain but featuring members of the congregation, special guests or friends to give Bridget a much deserved break.  Also, our Service of Reflection is uploaded each Wednesday morning, led by Pam McCarthy.

If you would like to join the Sunday service live online, click here to go to Zoom to attend the service, but not until after 10.50 on any particular Sunday morning.  All are welcome.  You will be muted on arrival to assist with the clean broadcast of the service.  You are asked to remain muted for the duration of the service.  You are also welcome to switch off your video at this time. Just don’t forget to turn it back on (and unmute) for Virtual Coffee.  It will follow immediately and seamlessly after the service. We are taking all feedback about the Zoom broadcasts and acting on it to hopefully create a comfortable listening experience for the service – thank you for your support.

13th December would and should have been our annual carol service. This, by necessity, has to be different this year.  Choral singing is not safe in a congregational setting and we are used to large numbers at that service in particular.  This year, we will share our service online with the ministers and congregations of 4th Universalist Society of New York (who we previously shared a service with at the end of May) and Cork Unitarian Church.  Rev. Spain, along with Rev. Schuyler Vogel (NYC) and Rev. Mike O’Sullivan (Cork) will guide us through music and readings contributed by members of all three churches.  All are welcome.  Due to the time-difference between here and New York City, this service will be at 4pm and will take the place of our usual Sunday service.  Entry to this service will be via the 4thU Zoom portal which can be accessed on the homepage at www.4thu.org

There will definitely be a service on Christmas Day – either online or in the church.  More details over the coming weeks.

A recording of all Sunday services is uploaded to the website in the days after each service.  We also have podcasts of each Sunday service on the I-Tunes Music Store.  Search for Dublin Unitarian Church

Services for December
Sundays at 11am (except 13th December)

6th December – Advent, A Time Of Hope And Expectation – Monica Cremins

13th – Joint Online Service of Carols, Readings & Holiday Music
in association with 4th Universalist Society of New York City
and Cork Unitarian Church
Led by Rev. Bridget Spain, Rev. Schuyler Vogel
& Rev. Mike O’Sullivan
4pm (note time)
Access via www.4thu.org – link to Zoom service on their homepage.

20th – Jingle Bells – Rory Delany
Friday 25th – Christmas Day – Rev. Bridget Spain
27th – Service of Favourite Readings – Rev. Bridget Spain

We are also pleased to present an ongoing series of short services of worship and reflection, usually led by Bridget punctuated by recordings of the reflections, music and prayers from our Sunday and Wednesday lunchtime services.  As all services in the church are curtailed for now, it makes our outreach via these daily short reflections even more important.  Thanks go out to Pam who now records her Wednesday service for us at home so that we can still enjoy it. You can find them all on a page dedicated to Services of Reflection (formally Daily Services).

Services in November were taken by Rev. Bridget Spain, Elaine Harris and Aidan O’Driscoll and we thank them and the readers and contributors at these services – Mary O’Brien, Peter White, Sheila Hanley, Máire Bacon & Josh Johnston,   You can hear podcasts and full recordings relating to all these services at our Recordings page or via the podcasts at the I-Tunes Music Store.

Tony Brady has moved his Mindfulness Meditations group to Zoom – if you’re interested in being part of this, please make contact and your details will be forwarded to Tony.

The Book Club is still running on the last Wednesday of every month thanks to Zoom software and they are always happy to meet new people.  This month (30th December at 7pm) they are meeting to discuss Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.  Contact us here if you would like to get involved.

The December edition of our monthly magazine Oscailt is now out and is posted on the church website (as well as via that link there).

Assuming things settle down, we will begin to think about booking concerts sometime in the new year for 2021.  The church is a gorgeous building and a beautiful acoustic for music.  It is particularly suited to classical and acoustic music but there is scope for other forms of music too.  Before the first lockdown, we enjoyed a run of about 10 years of concerts after this use was started to raise funds for the Organ Restoration Project.  We look forward to hearing the music in the church again.

We also have a newly re-invigorated Facebook page where we post links to all the services as they are uploaded as well as news of developments as they relate to our worship.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we are posting online readings – essays, poems, articles, online resources, quotes – that might help you through this hard time, not unlike the quote at the top of this email.  On a Saturday, we are posting links to music to calm and inspire.  If you would like to suggest examples of either “readings” or music to be found online that have moved you, please email email hidden; JavaScript is required

Wishing you a safe and calm Christmas season and a hopeful and restful New Year.

Best wishes,

Dublin Unitarian Church
112 St. Stephen’s Green West
Dublin 2
IRELAND

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