Protestant Church attendences up in Derry’s west bank…

Those of you who lived through the 350 + comments on the latest Londonderry name change thread may be relieved to hear that in some respects things are changing in respect to confidence in the city. The Derry Journal reports an upbeat assessment from Canon Bill McNee, rector of the newly enlarged Christ Church parish:

“We are, I believe, now reaping the benefits of this with a growing congregation on the cityside. I think it is important to stress that there will be
no closure of churches because of the amalgamation. No churches are closing in the city – worship will continue in all of them.”

Canon McNee acknowledged that, during the ‘Troubles’, Protestants – including many Church of Ireland members – relocated from the cityside to the Waterside.

“However, the whole atmosphere has now changed,” he said. “The fear factor is gone. People who were once frightened to come to the cityside to worship are now returning. It is my hope that this represents the first steps in the re-emergence of a vibrant Protestant community on the west bank. Because, in all truth, until this happens, the city remains incomplete.

“Granted, it may take some time – many years, perhaps – to return to what existed in the city pre-1969, but it is my firm belief that Church of Ireland people have a key role to play in debating the shape and content of this shared future.”

It’s an exact expression of the kind of Protestant optimism the paper called for earlier in the summer.

  • barneyben

    No mention of “disgrace” this time round. Is it the case, Mick, that republicans can only ever disgrace themselves, all good news must be credited elsewhere?

  • Mick Fealty

    BB,

    What ‘good news’ is missing?

  • Briso

    “However, the whole atmosphere has now changed,” he said. “The fear factor is gone. People who were once frightened to come to the cityside to worship are now returning.”

    I’m glad to hear that, and thanks for posting the thread.

    Barneyben, while I take your point about the difference in the two threads, it’s worth noting that modern Derry does not equal Republicans.

  • The Third Policeman

    True Biso but then in the last thread when we discussed Derry’s disgrace many were quick to say that modern Derry did equal Republicans.

  • Dawkins

    Mick,

    Love the somewhat provocative use of “west bank” :0)

    Something tells me another marathon has begun….

  • Mick Fealty

    TTP,

    Very true. But you’ll find if you read that thread through that I was very explicitly not amongst their number.

  • Nevin

    Mixed messages coming from the CoI:

    “The reorganisation, revealed this week, leaves just three Church of Ireland parishes on the west bank with Church leaders acknowledging that the move is down to falling congregation numbers.”

  • Briso

    Been away have you Nevin?

  • Nevin

    Been busy with family history, including the initiation of a NALIL blog, Briso. I seldom go away; I sometimes imagine I’m a tourist in the Kingdom of Moyle instead.

  • Mrs Pongo

    How magnanimous of the Derry Journal, who invariably ditch the name Londonderry in all their reporting in favour of a euphemism.

  • Turgon

    I am not trying to be difficult but as far as I can see the lnk shows CoI attendances are up. Whilst that is welcome it does not necessarily mean the total number of Protestant church attendees are up on the west bank let alone the total Protestant population.

  • confused

    How is increased affiliation with religion a welcome development in Northern Ireland? Shouldn’t we be trying to discourage this kind of thing?

  • another_pleb

    Agree with Turgon. How many of the new attendees are disaffected catholics?

    By the way, I thought the West-Bank was in Palestine.

  • How many of the new attendees are disaffected catholics?

    Speaking as a ‘disaffected catholic’ member of the CofI, I’d guess a few but probably not as many as in some of the more upmarket Belfast parishes; and definitely not as many as in Dublin. I’d also wonder how many were immigrants be it from Africa, Eastern Europe or indeed England.

    I really confused this English guy who goes to our church yesterday when I told him I wasn’t a ‘Prod’, let alone a ‘guilty Prod’ as he suggested I was.

  • Dawkins

    Sammy Morse,

    As a matter of interest, what made you turn away from the RC Church? Was it the paedophile priests scandals or would you rather not say?

    But what did you mean when you told that chap you aren’t a “Prod”? Guess you don’t much like the abbr.

  • Outsider

    [you’ve been red carded – take the hint and leave it for a fortnight – moderator]

  • Mick Fealty

    Outsider,

    I understand you were red carded for a fortnight.

    Can you please read this post, which explains the rules governing such breaches, and then come back when your sin binning is over?

  • Outsider

    [you’ve been red carded – take the hint and leave it for a fortnight – moderator]

  • Dawkins

    Outsider,

    “Surely most immigrants are Catholic.”

    That’s what I thought too. Perhaps Sammy will enlighten us by and by.

  • As a matter of interest, what made you turn away from the RC Church? Was it the paedophile priests scandals or would you rather not say?

    Nothing to do with paedophile priests nor actually would I say I turned away from anything. It was a combination of a; no papacy, b; less official homophobia (although when you scratch the surface Catholicism isn’t as bad nor the CofI as good as they appear from the outside), c; better music, d; better preaching. That having been said, it wasn’t a hissy fiot, flounce-out-the-door sort of conversion. There are lots of good things about Catholicism just the overall package doesn’t quite add up for me.

    But what did you mean when you told that chap you aren’t a “Prod”? Guess you don’t much like the abbr.

    The word has two meanings in NI, and neither apply to me. Theologically I’m not a Protestant, and culturally I’m not an Ulster-Prod.

    Surely most immigrants are Catholic.

    Most African immigrants are from quite strongly Protestant countries (or the Protestant parts of qutie strongly Muslim ones), most Latvians are Protestants. A lot of Eastern Europeans are neither Catholic nor Protestant but Orthodox, although of the two purportedly largest groups, the Poles are of course overwhelmingly Catholic, the Lithuanians mainly so, unless they’re ethnic Russians when of course they aren’t!

  • kensei

    “The word has two meanings in NI, and neither apply to me. Theologically I’m not a Protestant, and culturally I’m not an Ulster-Prod.”

    To translate: what he means is that Anglicans are actually just yellow pack Catholics. Or Tesco Blue and White pack in modern parlance.

    😉

  • páid

    Good to see Prods gaining confidence in Londonderry.
    Go maith le feiceáil go bhfuil lucht Phratastúnaigh sásta le bheith i nDoire.

  • sammaguire

    “Surely most immigrants are Catholic.”

    Posted by Outsider on Sep 10, 2007 @ 11:05 PM

    A bit of a change since the early 1600s…

  • Dawkins

    Thanks for the heads-up, Sammy. I must say I always thought that historically a Protestant was part of a protest against the Church of Rome. Not then.

    Páid, am I correct in thinking that’s a direct Irish translation of the first line?

  • Briso

    I see, so this thread sys there are more Protestants going to church on the west bank of the Foyle, but they’re probably the wrong sort of Prods. Have I got it?

  • Prince Eoghan

    Briso.

    Would these ‘wrong sort of Prods’ be Derry’s secret shame?’

    >>#I read the rules, besides my red card was unjustified and I appealed it.
    Posted by Outsider on Sep 10, 2007 @ 11:34 PM<< ROFL!!!!!!! Exactly what I assumed the other day, yet you denied it over many posts. Like every other liar........Your pants are on fire!!!!!!!!

  • To translate: what he means is that Anglicans are actually just yellow pack Catholics.

    Miiiaow. I’ll bring you a saucer of milk over now, darling.

    I think the point I was making was that Anglicanism is a diverse body of people with different takes on life, of whom some could not by any stretch of the imagination be called Protestants while others, including the vast majority of C of I people, should be.

    BTW Ken, I’m surprised you can remember yellow pack stuff I’d have thought you were too young for all that.

    I see, so this thread sys there are more Protestants going to church on the west bank of the Foyle, but they’re probably the wrong sort of Prods. Have I got it?

    “The system regrets to inform you that your city is unmixed due to having the wrong sort of Prod in your churches.”

    I don’t honestly know whether or not they’re the “right” or “wrong” sort of Prods (your term, not mine) as I haven’t been to church in Derry for about 7 or 8 years.

    I’m personally dubious about any increase in the ‘ethnically Protestant’ population in the West Bank because the demographics of the Protestant community in the Culmore Road and the Northland Road would indicate that most of them will be dead in 10 years, whereas the Fountain seems to be being slowly smothered by combination of isolation, attacks by Catholic scumbags and the NIHE rehousing Protestant scumbags from Nelly Drive and Irish Street there. I’d love to be proven wrong and to see any evidence that there was any increase in the number of young Prods making their homes on the Derryside, showing that this country is not on an inevitable slippery slope to a form of self-selected apartheid. I just haven’t seen any yet.

    But if the increase is because of converts and immigrants, this would also be a good thing not only because the Church of Ireland should take over the universe (joke) but my experience in living in London for many years was that the churches were the main place where people of different cultures and backgrounds mixed together as friends and equals.

    PS – Briso, I still don’t see what is wrong with having two official names.

  • Briso

    Sammy
    >I don’t honestly know whether or not they’re the “right” or “wrong” sort of Prods (your term, not mine) as I haven’t been to church in Derry for about 7 or 8 years.

    I know, they’re the right sort. I haven’t been to church in Derry for 7 or 8 years, but there is no wrong sort.

    >PS – Briso, I still don’t see what is wrong with having two official names.

    Well, when Gregory or Willie propose it, we can talk about it. Remember, DCC proposed naming the walled city Londonderry and the city itself Derry, so their position is not absolutist on this matter.

  • Mick Fealty

    Outsider:

    You have not appealed it with me.

    PE:

    You fancy joining him on the bench?

  • another_pleb

    I should perhaps, in the interests of balance, point out that there could also be disaffected mormons, methodists, presbytarians, scientologists and rastafarians showing up for Sunday services.

    As an interesting asside, a charming young “christian” girl once told me that all catholics were going to hell and so were anglicans too as they were “almost as bad.”

  • Dawkins

    Oh dear, it’s angelic riverdancing on pinheads time again.

  • I know, they’re the right sort. I haven’t been to church in Derry for 7 or 8 years, but there is no wrong sort.

    I was taking the piss mate.

    Well, when Gregory or Willie propose it, we can talk about it. Remember, DCC proposed naming the walled city Londonderry and the city itself Derry, so their position is not absolutist on this matter.

    You seem to be suggesting that Gregory and Willie being eejits (undoubtedly true in Gergory’s case, I think less so in the case of Willie) is a reason for the leadership of nationalism and republicanism in the City not to back a perfectly reasonable compromise. If Willie and Gregory want to be eejits let them be eejits; but if they refused a proposal like this they would like like dopey, intransigent, bigots and you would have the moral high ground. If they accepted it then it would be a historic compromise that would do much to cement the idea of a shared Derry. Either way you win. What is the problem?

  • a charming young “christian” girl once told me that all catholics were going to hell and so were anglicans too as they were “almost as bad.”

    Nah, we’re much, much worse. 😉

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>PE:

    You fancy joining him on the bench?<< Mick. Have I done something wrong? I am not usually paranoid but you do seem intent on banning me.

  • Briso

    Posted by Sammy Morse on Sep 11, 2007 @ 11:56 AM
    I was taking the piss mate.

    I know, but you also said “I’m personally dubious about any increase in the ‘ethnically Protestant’ population in the West Bank because the demographics …[perfectly valid stuff snipped] I’d love to be proven wrong and to see any evidence that there was any increase in the number of young Prods making their homes on the Derryside, showing that this country is not on an inevitable slippery slope to a form of self-selected apartheid. I just haven’t seen any yet. ” Ethnically Protestant? What is that supposed to mean? And these young Prods, must they be ethnically Protestant too? This reminds me of the PSNI Polish recruitment threads, where various people complained about the wrong sort of Catholic being employed. It’s not that that is necessarily wrong, but let’s spit out what we’re talking about here. Who do you want to see moving into the west bank, unionists or Protestants? The original thread and this one are dealing with the religious identifier, not the political one.

    BTW, I read what you said about immigrants, I know you’re perfectly fair-minded, this is not an attack on you! I’m just trying to work out what precisely DCC has to do, and how success would be measured.

    You seem to be suggesting that Gregory and Willie being eejits (undoubtedly true in Gergory’s case, I think less so in the case of Willie) is a reason for the leadership of nationalism and republicanism in the City not to back a perfectly reasonable compromise.

    DCC has suggested a reasonable compromise. Unionists in the city haven’t proposed anything, presumably on the perfectly reasonable basis that they are happy with the status quo and are working from there. I don’t think their tactics are wise, but I certainly don’t support imagining a proposal they might make and then arguing with myself over it!

  • Rory

    Not all Anglicans are destined for Hell. Only the lot known as “frocks” or “the smells and bells mob”, to which I suppose Sammy aligns himself, the “happy clappies” have all the required perpetual ignorance and intolerance to ensure entrance.

  • Mick Fealty

    PE:

    If I really wanted to ban you I would have done it by now. Go back and read your own contributions, then I’ll be happy to answer specific question, if you still don’t get it.

  • Prince Eoghan

    I notice that prevarication seems to be cool these days but since you have warned me, and I have asked what the warning is for.

    Would you be so kind as to specifically point out what is wrong with my contributions?

    >>If I really wanted to ban you I would have done it by now.<< Lol. Still can't help feeling that you have an itchy trigger finger pointed in my direction.

  • Mick Fealty

    PE:

    ROFL!!!!!!! Exactly what I assumed the other day, yet you denied it over many posts.

    Like every other liar……..Your pants are on fire!!!!!!!!

    Ball?

  • slug

    Talking of expanding protestantism in majority Catholic areas, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has recently started up a new congregation in Maynooth – one of only two new PCI churches in the Republic since the war.

    This new congregation was set up because the PCI congregation nearby in Lucan had grown beyond capacity.

    Irish language enthuaiasts may note that that the Maynooth presbyterian congregation has opted to put a little splattering of Gaelic Irish on its website:

    Manooth PCI.

    A sign of just how different attitudes are between Northern Ireland and the Republic!

  • Fraggle

    *sigh*

    if only all protestants could be like those ones in Maynooth…

  • Prince Eoghan

    Veritas Mick, honest!

    I jokingly asked him the other day on another thread about how he got on with his sending off, if he had appealed it etc. He subsequently denied it and even had a go at me inferring that I was a liar, I provided proof and even then he denied it. Thus when he admitted it above…..

    Alright maybe I should have used the word fibber, same thing though!

  • slug

    Actually, looking again at that Maynooth Presbyterian Church website, I wonder if they are using Gaelic Irish word for Presbyterian to HIDE the fact they are presbyterians ?!?

  • Mick Fealty

    Here’s the rub Prince:

    “Alright maybe I should have used the word fibber, same thing though!”

    The point is not that you called him ‘a liar’, it’s that you don’t seem even vaguely interested in looking for ‘the ball’, never mind playing it.

    I don’t care about what actual language you use, it only matters that you have something to add to the debate.

    If you don’t, then you are not compelled to say anything. If don’t and you do insist on contributing, then we inevitably get this kind of ‘barfly’ drivel that hasn’t got the least little thing to do with determining ‘the price of a loaf of bread’.

    Engaged argument and sharing of insight can be both important and useful. But this barfly nonsense is invariably petty, mean spirited and, worst of all, highly soporific.

  • Prince Eoghan

    I get what you are saying, however on this occasion the man was the ball as we are talking about individual yellow/red cards. I’m not going to labour the point, it probably was petty of me, but just couldn’t resist putting in my two bob’s worth after his absolute denial the other day.

    I will try my best to keep my two bob’s worth for more relevant drivel.

  • Mick Fealty

    If it’s relevant, it (hopefully) won’t qualify as drivel.

  • Outsider

    [you’ve been red carded – take the hint and leave it for a fortnight – moderator]

  • páid

    Dawkins,

    Yes. Although whether Doire is a ‘direct translation’ of Londonderry is a possible 500 post thread.

    I’m still taking the chill pills by the way. 🙂

  • Briso
  • foreign correspondent

    Fair play to the Presbyterian Church for putting the Irish-language version of the church´s title on that website. Ironically, many many semi-official bodies in the Republic can´t be bothered doing even that much.