SEARCH Journal

A death knell for small rural churches? Confronting isolation

THIS ARTICLE began its life just as the new Diocese of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe was born. (I’m writing this in Advent, so you’ll forgive the natal flavour). The bishops of the former Dioceses of Tuam et al and Limerick et al both retired on the same day thus giving birth of our new Diocese on 1st December 2021.

We now have a diocese that stretches from the Cork/Kerry border in the south to the middle of Co Sligo in the north, skirting Co Roscommon and reaching into Co Laois. Our diocese now covers 2⁄3 of the Wild Atlantic Way. IT comprises some 90 churches of which nearly 1⁄3 are along the western coast of Ireland. Many of our churches are small and some are seasonal; all the way from St John, Knightstown, on Valentia Island to St Thomas, Dugort, on Achill Island and beyond. So where better to look for signs of possible futures for the small rural church with its small congregation and its small income?

* Full article available in printed copies.

Simon Lumby|Lumby

Simon J Lumby

is Archdeacon of Limerick.