Candleholders - Camus-Juxta-Bann

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Left - The new candleholders for the Holy Table are presented by the Churchwardens Mary Campbell and Pearl Mullan for dedication
during the Carol Service on 21 December 2014
Right - Designer Cara Murphy with the Rector and Lorna Doherty

The Advent Message is the prophetic promise of Light coming into the darkness of the world, which was fulfilled in the Incarnation. by the Birth of Jesus, the Word made flesh, described in the Prologue to St John’s Gospel in these words, ‘And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never extinguished it.’
Throughout the Christian world this Scriptural truth is represented by the light of candles shining in worship on Altars (Holy Tables)  in the sanctuaries of  Churches. The Gospel candle, seen by the congregation on the left, represents the light of Christ enlightening worshippers through the good news of the Gospel.  The Epistle  candle on the other side of the table signifies our commission to take the light of Christ out into the world.
Some months ago, having received a gift  for this purpose, the Select Vestry commissioned Cara Murphy of the University of Ulster Art College in Belfast to design candle holders for St Mary’s Church in Macosquin. Her previous commissions for the Church of Ireland have included silver candle holders for the altar in the Regimental chapel of St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast and more recently,  for St Columb’s Cathedral in Londonderry.

Her design for the altar candle holders in this church has been inspired by features of the building, and its character as a community.  The bases are natural stones, engraved with the symbol of the ‘Camus Rose,’ representing our ancient foundation as the spiritual home of a small Cistercian community of monks in the 12th century and subsequent history as an English Plantation Church, consecrated in 1620, but also the rock of faith,  on which Jesus told Peter that he would  build his church..  
Rising from each stone and carrying the pattens on which the candles sit are three brass supports, reminding us that the  faith of the church is our belief in the tri-une God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who gives himself to us in the Sacrament of Holy Communion and  offered to us from a similar patten as, ‘the Bread of Life.’.

The brass pattens are engraved with the following texts:

Below the Gospel candle,‘I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’  John 8:12.  

Below the Epistle candle, ‘ Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’  Matthew 5:16.

Surrounding the candles are stalks of wheat , a concept drawn from the carvings of sheaves of corn on the reredos behind the altar.
They too rise from the rock of faith on which the church is built, but also represent us, as a worshipping  community, gathered around the Light of Christ.  Some stalks are mature with ears of corn, and ripe for harvest. Others are immature and not yet productive.  Some reach inwards towards the Christ who enlightens them, others reach out to  the world around us.

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