Celebration of Creation as Canon George Butler Retires
“I have treasured and cherished the good community we have…”
Parishioners of Castlemacadam, Ballinatone and Aughrim gathered yesterday (Sunday July 29) to bid a fond farewell to their Rector of almost 23 and a half years. Canon George Butler is retiring after many years of service to and with the Glendalough parish.
Canon Butler’s final service took place outdoors in the beautiful rural surroundings of Ballinatone Churchyard for the annual animal blessing service. Not only was he joined by his wife Shirley, family members and parishioners from all three churches, but dogs of all sorts and sizes. Animals present, along with those in the wild, were blessed and there were prayers for creation.
Among the hymns celebrating creation, was the Makem and Clancy classic ‘A Place in the Choir’ sung by Canon Butler and his son Andrew with Andrew’s wife Helen Gubbins on the keyboard. This, the Rector declared, was a great start to his professional singing career.
In his sermon, Canon Butler said that the service, which has taken place in Ballinatone for about 20 years, was not just about cats, dogs, cows and sheep but the whole of creation and a call to remember our part in looking after the environment for all who come after us.
He thanked his parishioners for all they had done through the years. “Thank you all for your support. I have really treasured and cherished the good community we have in the whole group of parishes,” he commented. “I have had a great many privileges in my life and one of them has been serving in this group of parishes. I’ve been with you through the good and the bad times and I hope that you’ve found that I’ve been of some little help and that you have appreciated the privilege I’ve had being there with you.”
He said the parishioners had been very good to both himself and Shirley at times when they needed support and this should not be taken for granted. “You have lived and shown Christian concern. It’s about looking after each other in good times and bad and living out the Gospel. So a big thank you for your warm welcome and for keeping us and supporting me in my ministry,” he added.
He thanked his wife for her support and said they had worked as a team. He also paid tribute to his family for their encouragement.
Ballinatone church warden, Mark Galvin, wished Canon Butler well as he and Shirley embarked on the next chapter of their lives. He, Alan Pierce, Parish Reader and church warden in Aughrim, and Varan Radford, parishioner in Ballinatone made a presentation to George while Shirley was presented with a bouquet of flowers. Parishioners enjoyed lunch afterwards in the parish hall.