A CORKMAN became the first person from the Rebel County to be ordained a Minister at the Trinity Presbyterian Church Cork since the church was built in 1861.
Richie Cronin became Reverend Cronin following his Ordination, Installation and Induction on Saturday.
Born in Donoughmore, Mr Cronin went to St Lachtains primary school before attending Carmelite College in Castlemartyr. He was actually part of the last class there before it closed down.
He said he is thrilled at his appointment.
“When I started training to become a minister I knew that most of the churches were in the north and I’d likely end up there.
“When I found out that Cork would be available around the time I was finishing, I set my heart on applying for it first,” he added.
“Being the first Corkman to hold the position is kind of cool alright but it’s the message, not the messenger that counts. “No doubt, I’ll be able to translate the gospel message better than someone from outside given that I’m a local but we’ll see how it goes,” he laughed.
Reverend Cronin was baptised Roman Catholic and attended Mass until his late teens.
“I credit this with giving me a grounding in the basics of Christian religion,” he said.
However, he admits himself that he did not take a traditional route to joining the church.
“I made a number of bad and sinful choices and ended up having little faith in life and certainly none in God,” he said.
“One night whilst taking drugs I had a profound and disturbing religious experience that led me to question everything I had previously understood about God and life,” he revealed.
“Long story short, I started reading the bible and went looking for a church and over a few years I settled on a Presbyterian one in Dun Laoghaire.
It was there that Mr Cronin found a passion and interest in talking to people about Jesus and the gospel.
“After a while, I realised that this wasn’t just an expression of my new faith but a deeper desire to do it full time,” he said.
“I applied to be a minister and eventually, my wife, kids and I moved to Belfast to study in 2013.”
He completed his studies in September 2017.
Mr Cronin said he is looking forward to taking up his new role, adding that it is an interesting time to be a Christian.
“We’re either seen as oppressive, suspicious, odd, or irrelevant,” he said.
“This is a great position to be in as it means the great obstacle of been-there-done-that is gone and we can present the Gospel of Jesus and have it heard as something that is new to most ears.
“It’s also a great time to be a Presbyterian,” he added.
“Usually that’s a word associated with an extreme aesthetic and dour tight depressives — nothing could be further from the truth.
“Presbyterianism is about taking great joy and comfort in knowing God is in control — Calvin himself said that.
“At a time when things are in upheaval to have a solid God of who you can sure of His love for you, is a great thing.
“Presbyterianism for me is like spiritual cocaine. I’d rather a few lines of Calvin any day,” he added.