Historic day in Maynooth

13.2.2023 | Moderator, Church in Society, Church Life, Presbytery Tour, Mission, Presbytery News

Presbyterian Moderator, Right Reverend Dr John Kirkpatrick, took part in his final engagement of his Presbytery of Dublin and Munster yesterday afternoon when he joined members of Maynooth Community Church (MCC), one of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's newest congregations, for an historic moment in the life of the County Kildare congregation and the all-Ireland denomination itself, when he officially turned the first sod for their first purpose-built church.

Its first service of the new church took place in September 2003, four years later in November 2007 it was formally constituted as a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, with Rev Dr Keith McCrory as its inaugural minister. Over the years the church has met in Maynooth Post Primary School, the Adult Education Centre of Kildare and Wicklow Education Board and, most recently the premises of the Irish secondary school, Gaelcholáiste Mhaigh Nuad.

Nearly 20 years on since it first opened its doors, Dr McCrory leads a worshipping community of some 53 families with around 140 people coming under the care of the congregation. “To get to today has been a long journey in which God has been incredibly faithful. We are very excited, and amazed, to reach this milestone in the story of our congregation and feel such gratitude to God, and to all who have made our building project possible,” Dr McCrory said.

The €4.5 million new build is on a 3.2 acre greenfield site at the heart of Maynooth, opposite the new Tesco shopping park, where several new housing developments have been built in recent years. While Sunday marked the ceremonial beginning, it is hoped that the developer will be on site in the next few weeks. With a worship space for 220 people, a welcome area, kitchen, prayer room, three kids rooms, a room for counselling and a board room, Dr McCrory said that he hopes the new church building will be open in time for Easter next year.

“We are really looking forward to having a more permanent base along with a much greater capacity for gathering and ministry. Maynooth town is rapidly expanding in population and we are struggling to keep up with the additional social space needed to enable healthy community development. We are hopeful that our new facility will also provide some contribution to this much needed physical resource,” he said.

“Our building has been designed to maximise both its immediate use and its capacity to be further developed, so hopefully this is just the beginning. Our architect, Judith Hamilton, and her team at Knox and Markwell, have done a wonderful job. We are really looking forward to seeing all our dreaming and discussing begin to take shape on our site, and we are really pleased that the Moderator could be with us today to do the honours,” Dr McCrory continued.

“Churches are, of course, about people, not buildings, but we hope that our project will prove to be a wonderful blessing to those in our congregation and beyond. Our prayer is that in the years to come, our new meeting place will enable many to discover they are cherished by the God who created them, and come to know Him who has loved them and given His life for them.” Dr McCrory said.

With guests in attendance from Dáil Éireann, Kildare County Council and Maynooth Community Council, as well as many other friends of MCC from the PCI and local community, after a time of worship and prayer Dr Kirkpatrick turned the first sod and planted a young oak tree.

Speaking after having taken part in the ceremonial turning, Dr Kirkpatrick said, “This has been a long week, but a very blessed week for Joan and me, as we have toured the Presbytery of Dublin and Munster. Throughout our travels we have met some wonderful inspirational people and witnessed just a small portion of what God is doing in this part of Ireland. To have come from preaching this morning in our newest congregation in Donabate to having the honour of turning the first sod in PCI’s second youngest this afternoon is a real privilege.”

The Moderator continued, “Just as this oak tree will grow and flourish, it is my prayer for this young gospel community that it will experience the favour and kindness of God. At the same time, it is also my prayer that it will grow in love, both within and for the community here in Maynooth, so that many in the future come to experience the life changing grace of God.”


Photos (1) The Moderator breaking the ground at the church site along with Rev Dr Keith McCrory, Minister of Maynooth Community Church (2) Dr McCrory addressing the guests at the MCC ground breaking and (3) Laurene Barry, chair of the MCC Project Team (far right), along with Dr Kirkpatrick, members of our MCC design team, and representatives from Kildare County Council and our local elected representatives. 

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