Lent at Kilwaughter and St Patrick’s, Cairncastle, with All Saints, Craigyhill

Monday April 10th 2023

Parishioners from Kilwaughter and St Patrick’s, Cairncastle, with All Saints, Craigyhill at the Day Retreat in Drumalis.

During Lent, the Parish of Kilwaughter and St Patrick’s, Cairncastle, with All Saints, Craigyhill, reintroduced the midweek Holy Communion service in All Saints on a Wednesday morning, followed by a refreshments.

This is one of a number of initiatives in the parish, which also include a craft club and a parish day retreat, with a vision of growing, healthy churches. [Photo Album below]

The rector, the Rev Arlene Moore, said the seeds for the new ‘Knit and Natter, Craft and Chatter’ Club were sown soon after she was introduced as Priest-in-Charge last November.

“On the first Sunday after my service of Introduction I spoke a little bit about my faith journey and using some objects as visual aids I shared something of my hobbies and interests. Not long after this one lady in the congregation asked me if I’d ever start a craft club. My reply was ‘I’ll start one, if you come!’ 

“A couple of weeks later, a lady from the other parish approached me with carrier bags full of various craft kits and materials and asked me if I could use these at all. Another person gifted me some wool and so, finally taking the hint from the Lord, I decided to extend the fellowship time after the mid-week Holy Communion to allow for anyone that was interested to come along to knit and natter, craft and chatter.”

To date, more than 70 bonnets have been knit or crocheted for premature babies in the neonatal unit of Antrim Area Hospital, along with dozens of pairs of bootees, some baby blankets and adult hats, benefiting the homeless, those who visit the Mission to Seafarers and the Baby Basics project.

“The knitting needles are still going strong, and more things are literally flying off the hook week by week,” added Arlene.

“In St Patrick’s, Cairncastle, the Lent initiative took the form of an evening group called ‘Lectio in Lent’ where we spent time together exploring various methods of prayer as well as the traditional ancient monastic practise of lectio divina.  Those who attended faithfully were most encouraging and at present we are considering how this might be developed beyond Lent as well.”  (See comments at the end of this article).

Arlene said that when the idea of a parish day retreat was floated, the initial response was very positive. Fourteen people signed up to spend the Saturday between St Patrick’s Day and Mothering Sunday in the beautiful surroundings of Drumalis Retreat and Conference Centre in Larne.

“Many of those who came along had never been to Drumalis before, never mind participated in a led spiritual retreat, so in many ways this was stepping out in faith into the unknown,” Arlene said.

“The day was divided up into three main sessions looking in turn at the three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness as aspects of challenges to his identity and applying them to our own lives under the themes of appetite, ambition and approval.

“There were interactive stations designed to reinforce the main points of each session, teaching input where we even learned NT Greek, opportunities for worship, as well as personal space and reflection, a Biblical scavenger hunt, great food, and lots of hilarity along the way.”

She continued: “We ended the day with a celebration of Holy Communion just in perfect time to allow the rugby fans to get home before the start of the match!

“Yet again the feedback from the day was very positive we hope to offer another retreat in future and/or perhaps a social away day now that appetites have been well and truly whetted.”

On Palm Sunday, an enthusiastic team of children’s ministry helpers worked hard to enable Messy Church to start up afresh post-covid. Those who came had fun making Palm Sunday and Easter themed crafts, icing Easter egg biscuits, playing games, hunting for Easter eggs, singing songs and hearing the story of Holy Week.

Plans are now underway for a Messy Coronation next month!

“It has been wonderful watching how God is at work among his people in Craigyhill and Cairncastle this Lent,” said Arlene. “Watch this space as we plan to grow more over the summer with both social and spiritual activity ideas in the pipeline.”  


  • ‘Lectio Divina – an intriguing additional way to pray and to commune with God – it certainly opened my eyes and ears in a most positive way’
  • ‘Having had the opportunity to experience the trailer for Lectio Divina directed by Rev Arlene Moore I eagerly await the first season. Arlene expertly guided us through the process of reading Holy Scripture in a way that enabled us to begin to explore the possibility of meeting the Lord through reflection, prayer and contemplation. Resources used included our own life’s journey, Bible verses, music and art. I particularly enjoyed the simplicity of less talking and more listening. Just resting in the Word (Ps 1v2).’
  • ‘Thank you for the wonderful Lectio. I have absolutely loved it and it has given me so much to think about and many (many) ways in which to do that.’
  • ‘The series of Lectio Lent talks were absolutely wonderful. So enlightening about very different ways we can learn to pray and reflect on how God is speaking to us.’

Our photo gallery features the Day Retreat in Drumalis, Palm Sunday Messy Church and the fantastic work of the craft group.

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