Bishop Kenneth joined Islanders for the annual Ecumenical carol Service in Kingstown, Valentia Island. He writes ‘It was standing room only again for what much be one of the earliest church Carol Services of the year on Valentia Island, off the coast of Kerry. This annual event took place this year on 5th December. Now in its 34th year in St John’s Church of Ireland church, singing was led by the choir for the island Roman Catholic Church and an ad hoc orchestra including harp, violin, fifes and guitar provided the music. Archdeacon Simon Lumby led the service, and Bishop Kenneth pronounced the Blessing. The congregation included islanders and many former island residents who return for this annual occasion. Afterwards the local hostelry welcomed the congregation to mulled wine and mince pies.’
St John the Baptist Church dates from the 19th century and today is open during the summer months to cater for the many visitors who now visit the island. It is part of the Kenmare Group of parishes, and is actually the Westernmost Protestant church in Europe. (Ok, forget about the Azores. No need to be pedantic. Ed.)
As part of his trip, Bishop Kenneth also visited St Michael, Waterville (the second most Westerly. etc, etc, etc) to inspect the wonderful renovation work being performed jointly with the wider Community. Churchwarden Derek Noble and local Architect Albert Walsh were delighted to highlight the newly-revealed oak roofing beams.