Rev. Jim Carroll
Rector of All Saints' Raheny
Raheny's loss, on this occasion, will be nobody's gain except maybe for Jim and his family. And I'll bet they will miss Raheny as much as Raheny will miss them.
Jim has been Rector here for the last 21 years and is enormously popular, not just within his own religious congregation, but throughout the village and its catchment area, and also in Coolock which is part of the Raheny Church of Ireland parish.
He has been privileged with a fine house and an absolutely magnificent church.
The church has, however, needed significant renovations to the roof and belfry, and the heritage status of the building has called for work of the highest standard. This led to a serious funding drive, to which the Roman Catholic parishes of Raheny and Killester contributed. The peak of this activity was surely the bible reading marathon on the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible.
After keeping the parish, and Raheny at large, informed of progress in the fundraising, the appeal sign has now been converted into the thank you sign above. The money was raised, the roof was fixed and the bell is now ringing again.
The Church of Ireland Parish Newsletter has come out with a special issue covering Jim's period in Raheny and his imminent departure. I'm told that Andrea has done a marvellous job on it and the proof of this and of Jim's popularity is that the entire issue has now run out. I'll come back to it here when I get my hands on a (hard or virtual) copy.
Jim and Valerie's departure also rates a column and a half over two issues of the Raheny News (21 & 28/4/2013). The issue of 28/4/2013 also led with a headline item on the fundraising described above.
My own contact with this church is relatively recent and dates from my (now departed) 90 year old cousin from Cill Éanna across the road filling me in on one aspect of Jim's colourful background. I later ended up more or less accidentally taking part in the first King James marathon. Some time after that episode I was run off church grounds by the BBC who I was informed were making a film about Jack the Ripper inside in the church. Dramatic stuff, but it turned out to be not quite so dramatic. Full marks to Jim, though, for getting involved in this interesting enterprise. By way of a parting shot, in the closing months of his ministry, he gave us Martin Luther, in a compelling reminder of the this heretic's continuing relevance to modern Christianity.
He took his last service at 10am on Sunday (28/4/2013), and what a memorable service it was. The church was packed to overflowing - standing room only, and the mutual involvement between Jim and Valerie on the one hand and the community/congregation on the other was celebrated in great style.
I think it is probably the only Protestant service I have ever been at, but I don't expect ever to be at one which surpasses it. It was a fitting tribute to Jim and Valerie's dedication to their congregation over 21 years (and in deference to Jim I had better make some effort to give Jesus a mention!).
Jim's last stand: a last look at the church notice with his name "up in lights".
Time to call in the painters.
And the painters came and went. And the parish awaits its new Rector.