Crinken Welcomes New Minister as Tom O’Brien Embraces Full Time Ministry
“Depend on one another like family because together we are strong.” This is the message of a current advertising campaign featuring the Irish Rugby World Cup team. But it was also the message to the people of Crinken as they welcomed their new Minister yesterday evening (Thursday August 31).
Canon Tom O’Brien was introduced as Minister in Charge of St James’s, Crinken, by Archbishop Michael Jackson before a full congregation which included Tom’s wife Daniella and their daughter Tara Rose, who represented the rest of their family at the service. There were also former colleagues from the Health Service Executive in attendance along with members of Tom and Daniella’s families, friends and local public representatives.
Last night’s service represented a huge change for Tom and his family as he enters full time ministry after 30 years of service with the HSE and moves to the south side of Dublin after many years living on the north side.
The sermon was preached by the Revd Suzanne Harris, Rector of Castlemacadam, Ballinatone and Aughrim and joint Diocesan Director of Ordinands with Tom. She highlighted Tom’s many qualities including his ability to relate to people, his deep faith, his heart for God, his preaching, his trustworthiness, his honesty and ability to speak his mind, among others.
She said that his ministry over the last 30 years had been with the HSE in the areas of addiction, mental health and palliative care, areas which were often left at the back of the queue. But she pointed out that the Gospel reading [Luke 4] said that Jesus came to proclaim the good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind and freedom for the oppressed. She said that Tom would continue to reach out to those in need and provide an opportunity for all to connect with God.
It was part of God’s purpose and plan to bring Tom to Crinken at this time, the preacher said. However, she said that this was not a one man job and must be a collaborative ministry. Suzanne pointed out that Crinken already had a vibrant ministry team and one only had to drive down the road from St James’s Church to seek the number of new houses being built in the area and the mission field that existed.
“The new Vodafone ad for the Rugby World Cup shows a young Andy Farrell telling the boys of his team to rely on each other and to depend on one another like a family because ‘together we are strong’. This is the same for Crinken. As a collective, as a family of God, they will rely on each other and rely on God,” she said.
Speaking after the service, Archbishop Jackson said that there was something positively unique in what the community of Crinken did in terms of encouraging people in service and belonging. “Tom is entering a world where change and development are what they do and Tom and Daniella will embrace that,” he said. He thanked the Trustees for the work they do at Crinken and for their oversight. He also paid tribute to Tom’s predecessor Trevor and the Stevenson family for their contribution to Crinken.
Tom paid tribute to his former colleagues in the HSE and said that it was a great place to work. He had always been happy working in the area of mental health and addiction and had always intended his ministry to be part time. “But as I travelled around I got the sense that God wasn’t done with me,” he commented explaining what he had learned while serving in Holmpatrick, Howth, Kill O’ the Grange and Raheny and Coolock. “We looked at the world and thought it’s awful what’s going on and it’s getting worse. But hour hope is with God… Crinken is a place of positivity and we felt a calling to Crinken,” he added. He thanked Daniella and his family for their support in making the decision.
On behalf of the Trustees, Basil Good thanked the Archbishop for his support and Suzanne for her inspirational words. He said it was a great day Crinken and added that they were encouraged and optimistic for the future in which the city was growing around the church. “We have a responsibility to share the message of God with those around us and God is with us as we do this,” he said. He welcomed Daniella and the rest of the O’Brien family to Crinken.