The Reverend Darren McCallig, Church of Ireland chaplain and dean of residence, is to leave Trinity after seven years as chaplain. He is moving to Copenhagen where he will be chaplain of the English-speaking Anglican Church in the city. His wife Annilese has been working in Denmark for the past couple of years where she is head of the Danish National Opera.
“I have loved my seven years here in Trinity,” McCallig told Trinity News. “It’s an extraordinary privilege to work in such a beautiful and stimulating environment. We are also very lucky to have an historic 18th century chapel and a fabulous chapel choir.”
He mentioned the establishment of an Irish language choral evensong during Seachtain na Gaeilge, a Rainbow Week service, a candlelit Advent service, and the holding of evensong with simultaneous interpretation into Irish sign language as some of the highlights of his time as chaplain.
“A large part of my job is subversion – in the best sense of the word,” McCallig told Trinity News. “Sadly, many of the loudest voices in Christianity – and religion in general – are those who present faith in simplistic, exclusivist and unimaginative ways.”
He said that the “excessive deference” towards clergy and the churches in recent Irish history was “very unhealthy” and “masked all kinds of appalling behaviour.”
“Things have changed and are still changing in Ireland. Some of that change is good and some of it is not so good. But we cannot go back to the ‘good old days’ because as we now know, those days were anything but good.”
McCallig said that he has worked with Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, to “present a Christianity which is spacious and inclusive,” welcoming Hindu, Jewish and Muslim guests to chapel. “I don’t know what the founders of Trinity College would have thought about such developments, but I believe they are essential for building understanding and co-operation between people of different faiths.”
He said that numbers attending services have increased in recent years. “Even in what is, in many ways, an increasingly secular environment, many people – both staff and students – are searching for a faith which is intellectually credible and spiritually satisfying.”
McCallig’s final Sunday Service as chaplain will be on the morning of the 7th of December at 10.45am. It will be the final Sunday of the “By the Book” series and McCallig will be talking about his hero Desmond Tutu and his book, God is Not a Christian. A farewell reception will take place afterwards in the Exam Hall, attended by the Provost, to which all are welcome.
Photo: Darren McCallig, far right, with the Rt Rev Trevor Williams, Bishop of Limerick, and the Revd Mervyn Kingston of Changing Attitude Ireland, far left. changingattitutudeireland.org