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uk Saturday, April 5, 2014 NEWSLETTER
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Kia Picantos
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roots that go back many cen-
It draws its name, from
the foundation of a monas-
tery at Cambos or Camus, on
the river Bann, by St. Com-
gal, in 580. Camus means
bend or curve, of course re-
ferring to the river Bann, at
this point.
Around 1172, the Cister-
cian Order founded an Ab-
bey at Macosquin, two miles
southwest of Coleraine. The
name Macosquin is derived
from the Gaelic “Meaghcos-
gain” meaning “Plain of the
conquest.” The name sug-
gests that tribal warfare had
taken place at some time
in this area. The Abbey was
known, according to Cis-
tercian records, as “Beatae
Marie Clarafonte” meaning
t Mary’s Church is
situated in the heart
of the village of Ma-
cosquin. The site
has been a place of
Christian worship, witness,
teaching and pastoral care
since monastic setlements
were founded here in the 6th
and 12th centuries.
We are ofen intrigued
to know how parishes de-
rive their name. The name
Camus-Juxta-Bann suggests
the abbey of “Blessed Mary of
the clear spring.”
Afer periods of Gaelic
unrest and widespread law-
lessness by 1539 the Abbey
had fallen into a state of di-
lapidation. By the end of the
century the building was in a
ruinous condi-
tion when the
Plantation of
Ulster began to
take place.
The lands
vacated by the
Gaelic chiefans were given
by King James I to English
and Scotish setlers. The
lands in Co.Coleraine later
renamed Co. Londonderry,
ruled by the O’Cahans were
given to the London Compa-
nies. In 1609 the Merchant
Taylors Guild obtained those
lands comprising of the par-
ishes of Camus and Macos-
Throughout the early
1600s the Plantation of Ul-
ster was taking place. A large
portion of Co Londonderry
was given to the London
who were to
build towns
on the Bann
and the Foyle.
There were
12 main com-
panies, most of whom had a
group of smaller companies
with them.
The London Companies,
Merchant Taylors had setled
in Macosquin and “offered
to built a faire Church upon
the ruins of ye Abbey.” Hav-
ing performed their offer
Transforming community and radiating Christ
Church Focus this week takes us to the Co Londonderry village of Macosquin. Situated on the A54, three miles south of Coleraine and
six miles north of Kilrea, it is the centre of the Church of Ireland Parish of Camus-Juxta-Bann. The parish is part of the diocese of
Derry and Raphoe. A walk through its history will show it has deep Christian roots that produce living faith to this day.
the parishes of Camus and
Macosquin were united thus
bringing an end to worship
at Camus.
Records of 1622 note that
the parish church, provided
by the Merchant Taylors,
was consecrated as the Par-
ish Church of Camus and
Macosquin by the Bishop of
Derry, George Downham.
This was the beginning of
the Church in Macosquin.
The North wall of the present
Church includes part of the
north wall of the Abbey. The
foundations of the Celtic
church or monastery may
still be traced in Camus old
In the churchyard directly
behind and in line with the
present day church, the out-
line of what remains of the
Abbey can clearly be seen.
The remains of what was the
North and South walls and
the Eastern wall of the an-
cient building stands about
three feet high.
Ancient Christian
churches exist because of
the vision and commitment
of previous generations. But
what of the present day vi-
sion of parishioners in this
centuries old parish - what
fruit does it aim to bear?
Transforming Commu-
nity Radiating Christ has
been the vision of the diocese
of Derry and Raphoe since
2009. These four words de-
scribe a driving aspiration
– for parishes motivated by
Christian faith to serve their
local communities.
Camus-Juxta-Bann has
It draws its name,
from the foundation
of a monastery at
beauty of
Parishioners continue to grow
in awareness and interest in
developing their own part in
looking afer their church and
their practical involvement.
A growing team of volun-
teers, some of whom are re-
tired have found a new interest
in the church grounds and is
undertaking many of the out-
standing maintenance tasks.
Visitors to the church, the par-
ish halls and the well-main-
tained graveyard are much
impressed and appreciative
of their efforts.
There has been a complete
refurbishment of the Minor
Hall and the building of an at-
tractive glazed entrance foyer
that links it to the church. This
invites passers-by to come in-
to the building which is now
open every day, not only to ex-
perience the beauty and qui-
etness for private prayer, but
into a place where people can
meet socially throughout the
week, and experience some
of the things which the
church has to offer in addi-
tion to regular worship.
lThe Minor Hall now offers
a venue for up to 48 elderly
people to enjoy a regular af-
fordable lunch once a week,
and an extra dozen who en-
joy a meals on wheels serv-
ice. It is a meeting place not
only for church members
and a thriving Children’s
Sunday Club, but many oth-
er community groups. It has
a computer suite with eight
terminals that can be used
for regular IT courses or as
an internet cafe. The senior
citizens lunches cater for up
to 48 each week. In recent
years we have been develop-
ing our minstry to senior citi-
zens and primary school age
children with some success.
l An underlying purpose in
developing the new facili-
ties was to make the church
have an appeal and relevance
to teenagers and younger
adults, encouraging them to
become involved, not only in
social or recreational activi-
ties but in the worship and
more spiritual aspects of the
life of this faith community
in Macosquin.
lThe current focus on the
age group 18 - 45 is rooted in
the findings of the Church of
25 Saturday, April 5, 2014 NEWSLETTER
A place for
all generations
The number of children
who are actively involved
in the church has dou-
bled, adult attendance has
increased, and far from
being a ‘dying church’ the
average age of worship-
pers has decreased no-
There is great warmth
of fellowship in church
services and in our other
activities. Some people
even claim that the church
has become their ‘second
Part of the continuing
plans for growth include
consulting with parents of
This is to develop their
ideas of making worship
and parish life more teen-
age friendly, so that they
will also feel the church is
their spiritual home.
Transforming community and radiating Christ
St Mary’sChurchinMacosquin
been commited to the dioc-
esan vision since its incep-
tion. Denis Waitley says,
“Learn from the past, set
vivid, detailed goals for the
future, and live in the only
moment of time over which
you have any control: now”.
Transforming Community
Radiating Christ has been
a catalyst for parishioners
in Macosquin to develop
initiatives that engage with
members of their local com-
munity and help to create a
fresh dynamic parish iden-
Mike Roemmele is rector
of the Parish and has recent-
ly been installed as a Canon
of St Columb’s Cathedral in
Londonderry. In response to
the diocesan vision he camu-
juxta-bannset up a parish de-
velopment team. Afer much
reflection and discussion it
identified clear objectives
that included: making best
use of parish buildings and
other resources; engaging
with other churches and the
wider community; and im-
proving outreach to individ-
uals and families who have
litle or no connection with
the church.
With the three princi-
ples constantly in mind
this ancient parish seeks
growth, both in the depth of
its Christian life as well as
engagement with the wider
community. It aims to be
‘The church in the communi-
ty,’ serving Christ within the
parish and wider area.
Ireland national census in No-
vember 2013 which revealed
that 30 per cent of our wor-
shipping parishioners are in
this category, many of them
recent arrivals in the parish
and newcomers to the wor-
shipping congregation. As
they become increasingly in-
volved it is becoming evident
that they are the best suited to
develop the church’s mission
to the teenage community and
their young adult parents in
the neighbourhood.
Talking of his parish Canon
Mike Roemmele says: “One of
its strengths has always been
the loyalty of its members,
both to the church and to each
other. They care for and sup-
port one another in time of
need, and in old age”.
He continued: “Develop-
ing this feature of the parish
identity at a time when new-
comers are moving into the ar-
ea and integrating them into
the worshipping community
through the pastoral care of its
lay members is another impor-
tant aspect of the future work
of the parish which has great
potential and will help to en-
sure the growth of the church
in years to come”.
It would appear that the
ancient roots in Camus-Jux-
ta-Bann continue to bear good
(LtoR) Canon
mele, Dean
- onoccasion
of MikeandHa-
St Columb’s
Cathedral in