Category : Church of Ireland

(Belfast Telegraph) Archbishop of Canterbury praises Northern Ireland’s peacemakers on Clonard visit

The Archbishop of Canterbury has paid a visit to Clonard Monastery along with more than 60 members of the Church of England clergy.

Archbishop Justin Welby visited the Belfast monastery yesterday as part of a private pilgrimage on peace and reconciliation.

The head of the Church of England, who was installed in the role in 2013 after less than two years as a bishop, was welcomed to Belfast by Fr Noel Kehoe, rector of Clonard.

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Posted in --Ireland, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Ireland, Rural/Town Life

(CEN) Irish Church leaders unite in support of families

Irish Church leaders issued a rare joint New Year’s message in support of the family, as Pope Francis prepares to take part in the Roman Catholic Church’s World Meeting of Families in the summer.

The Pope is taking part in the three-yearly meeting as part of his state visit to Ireland, and it prompted calls from Church leaders for new efforts to protect vulnerable families from hardship.

The joint message was signed by the Anglican Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Richard Clarke. He was joined by the Roman Catholic Primate of Ireland and Presbyterian, Methodist and Irish Council of Churches leaders.

They expressed their concern at the rising level of homelessness in Ireland, which they describe as “one of the most tragic and glaring symptoms of a broken system that is leaving too many people without adequate support.”

They said that in the Republic of Ireland one in three of those living in emergency accommodation is a child. And in Northern Ireland, families with more than two children are among those most at risk from the combination of welfare changes, cuts to services, and cuts to charities providing vital support to children and young people.

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Posted in --Ireland, Anthropology, Church of Ireland, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Other Denominations, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The Archbishop of Armagh’s Presidential Address at Armagh Diocesan Synod 2017

A third word is engagement. The word has a number of nuances, but here I mean – in effect – the opposite of disengagement. You and I are called to be committed to and involved in the life, the needs and the cares of the world around us. It is very easy for Christians to separate their religion from the everyday life of the world; it is also supremely dangerous. In what we know as the “high–priestly prayer”, that prayer of Our Lord in John’s Gospel, chapter 17, his prayer is that his followers will be fully in the world, in the darkness of the world as well as its joys. If we as disciples live only in a ghetto of our own making, we are actively shutting people out of the Church, and so we are shutting out Jesus Christ himself.

On the night of the terrible fire in the Grenfell Tower in London in June, the first people on the scene to bring help and comfort (other than the fire and police services) were men and women of local faith communities. I learnt more recently that there is a computerised system that ensures that when more than six fire appliances are called to a fire, or a terrorist outrage or any other disaster, the Salvation Army will automatically be called for help. They were there first on the night of the Grenfell fire, but very quickly local faith groups of every kind were combining to give shelter, food, blankets and just straightforward comfort to those who had escaped from the tower block. More movingly, by the next morning the west London synagogue had sent a huge consignment of clothes, food and other necessities to the local mosque. The faith response to Grenfell is, in Christian terms, not simply good neighbourliness, important though this undoubtedly is. It is the command of faith that if we are not engaged with the world around us – fully and even sacrificially – we have left Christ outside the door of our churches. How can we then expect anyone else outside our doors to take us seriously or wish to be part of us?

The fourth and final word may be the most unexpected, enchantment. We may associate enchantment with the world of Harry Potter or the novels of Philip Pullman, but that should perhaps teach us something. Even those, such as Pullman, who are deeply antagonistic to religious faith of any kind, realise that an immensely deep need in people is to be captivated by something beyond themselves. Enchantment comes from the idea of the entrancing song that can carry people to another place of wonder, a place beyond themselves. This is not about stunts or artificial trickery but about the magnetic love of Christ calling people out of themselves, their misery and fear and anger, towards his love.

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Posted in Church of Ireland

Anglican Oriental–Orthodox International Commission To Meet in Dublin, Ireland for the First Time

The Anglican Oriental–Orthodox International Commission will meet in Dublin from October 23 to 28 for the first time since its foundation. Hosted by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, who is one of the founding members, the Commission will consider two main items. The first is the completion of an agreed text on the Holy Spirit that will be linked with the mission of the Church. It is hoped that the agreed statement will be completed and signed by the two co–chairs in the course of the meeting. The second agenda item is an initial exploration of areas around “authority in the Church”.

This will be the sixth meeting of the Commission since its foundation in 2001. While in Dublin, members will attend St Maximous and St Domatius Coptic Orthodox Church in Drumcondra for prayers in the Coptic tradition.

They will also visit the Chester Beatty Library, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Marsh’s Library, the Book of Kells in Trinity College. They will attend Choral Evensong and a reception in Christ Church Cathedral hosted by Dean Dermot Dunne and a reception in the Mansion House to meet the Ardmhéara Bhaile Átha Cliath/Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha and leaders of other faiths in Ireland and members of inter faith groups.

“We look forward to welcoming the Anglican Oriental–Orthodox International Commission to Dublin and our hopes for this consultation are that the Commission might see that there is a spiritual core and a religious dynamic to Dublin historically and in lived actuality,” said Archbishop Michael Jackson.

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Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Church of Ireland, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church

Bishop of Clogher John McDowell’s Diocesan Synod Address

One of the principal tasks of a leader is to communicate reality to those who wish to take his or her lead, and the reality that I observe all around me, not just in Church but in every sphere of life, is a mood of impatience with other points of view, of an increasing narrowing of vision and of a drawing back from the sort of commitment that creates sustainable and worthwhile communities. It is hardly an exaggeration to call these developments the triumph of individualism and I sometimes think that the word “individual” should be banned from Christian conversations and replaced by a word like “person” to reflect the complexity and value which each of us has – what we share as much as what we need.

This individualism which is so prevalent in our world and sometimes in our parishes is the enemy of reasoned debate and very far from the spirit of Anglicanism. Over the past ten years or so a new and very revealing way of opening a conversation or a debate has entered into our way of talking. “Speaking as an X.” somebody will say, whatever X might be. Speaking say as a woman or speaking as a progressive or speaking as a traditionalist or speaking as a unionist or as a republican – whatever it might be. But the intention of that way of opening a conversation is not to engage in an equal conversation but to establish some sort of privileged position. “I am X and you are not, so you couldn’t possibly understand.” It is an attempt to set up a wall against questions and it turns conversations into an encounter about power. The winner of the argument won’t be the person who has the strongest reasons but the one who has the morally superior identity and can express the greatest outrage at being questioned.

The key word to look out for is “offended”. Other people’s arguments aren’t weak or illogical – they are offensive. What replaces argument is a series of taboos rather like in the old paganism where only a small number of people, like the Druids or the shamans, were permitted to speak on certain matters or do certain things but nobody else not of that caste could interfere. Propositions become pure or impure, not true or false. Ask any of your children who have been to university recently about the matters which people simply aren’t allowed to debate any more or the beliefs which are denigrated because they are outside a certain limited range of reference.

As you may have guessed by now I believe that the antidote to this strange perversion of the liberal spirit is the smallness and the diversity of the parish. It is what I meant when I said last year that the parish is the place where we create local significance in a globalised world.

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Posted in Church of Ireland, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(BBC) Belfast’s St Patrick’s Church ‘needs millions’ for restoration

St Patrick’s Church has been standing on Donegall Street in Belfast since 1877.
The building withstood the Belfast Blitz during World War Two and recovered from a catastrophic fire in 1995.
But its distinctive stone cladding exterior is now struggling to hold off the ravages of weather and time.
And millions of pounds will be required to carry out restoration work, according to the church administrator.

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Posted in Church of Ireland

Anglican church to be shared by both Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic parishes

Two different Christian denominations will be sharing the same place of worship during the next year in an example of neighbourliness and friendship.

When it was learned that St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan would be closed for a year for essential renovations, their church neighbours, St Maeldoid’s Church of Ireland parish at Muckno, Castleblayney, in Clogher Diocese, offered the use of their beautiful gothic–style building.

This generous gesture by the Select Vestry of St Maeldoid’s along with their rector, the Revd Neal Phair, and approved by the Bishop of Clogher, Right Revd John McDowell, was accepted by the Parish Priest of St Mary’s, Father Pat McHugh and his parishioners and from next Monday, 19th June, St Maeldoid’s Church will be used for both Church of Ireland services and Masses.

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Posted in Church of Ireland, Ecumenical Relations, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Bishop Paul Colton–Scottish Episcopal Church’s approach to same-sex Marriage may represent a Way Forward for Church of Ireland says

In this section of his Synod address, Bishop Colton said:

‘Change is signalled also by the decision two days ago, on Thursday, 8th June, of our sister Church in Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, to alter its canon on marriage by removing the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman. Clergy who wish to conduct same-sex marriages will have to opt in, and no priest is to be compelled to do so.’

‘As we saw at our own General Synod recently arising from a private members motion, there are many in the Church of Ireland who are anxious to debate such issues here too. Equally many are determined that this is not a matter which is up for debate at all. There is a debate, and, however tentatively, it has, in fact, started.’

‘That such things are open to debate in this Church has always been the case. If there had been no questioning or discourse, the Reformation itself would not have happened, nor would many other developments have unfolded over the centuries, in ministry, in liturgy and in belief, the most recent examples being our change in approach to suicide, to the marriage in church of divorcees, and also the ordination of women, and there are many others.’

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Posted in Church of Ireland, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Irish Times) Church of Ireland delegates defeat motion on public service for same-sex couples

Clergy and laity voted separately with 72 clergy opposing, 56 in support and nine abstaining. Of the laity 104 opposed, 90 were in support, and 15 abstained. The House of Bishops did not take part in the debate or vote as the motion was directed towards them.

Before that debate, and after four years of discussion without resolution, the church’s select committee on human sexuality recommended “that the bishops further examine the unresolved theological differences as represented in the select committee, with a view to making a proposal to facilitate a way forward”.

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Posted in Church of Ireland

Church of Ireland to debate Motion on Same-sex Relationships at its General Synod which begins Tomorrow

From here (Motion 12 on page 5):

PRIVATE MEMBER’S MOTION
Proposer: Dr Leo Kilroy
Seconder:
Rev Brian O’Rourke
Notwithstanding the diversity of conviction regarding human sexuality, and in order to maintain the unity of the Church of Ireland, the General Synod

A. Acknowledges the injury felt by members of the Church who enter into loving, committed and legally-recognised, same-sex relationships, due to the absence of provision for them to mark that key moment in their lives publicly and prayerfully in Church.
and

B. Respectfully requests the House of Bishops to investigate a means to develop sensitive, local pastoral arrangements for public prayer and thanksgiving with same-sex couples at these key moments in their lives, and to present their ideas to General Synod 2018, with a view to making proposals at General Synod 2019.

The development of any such pastoral arrangements should not infringe Canon 31 and the facilitation of such arrangements would not impair the communion between an individual
bishop or diocese with any other bishop or diocese of the Church of Ireland.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Ireland, Church of Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(BBC) Church of Ireland parish invites Elvis impersonator to lead the service

The Elvis-inspired service featured the rock’n roll hits Blue Suede Shoes, All Shook Up as well as gospel tracks Take My Hand Precious Lord and How Great Thou Art.

Upon seeing the church was packed to the rafters – and there actually were rafters – Reverend Hoey indicated that the church could maybe repeat the event, but change the theme.

“It’s proven so popular, who knows what’s next? Maybe Johnny Cash.”

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Posted in Church of Ireland, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Historic installation of Lay Canons in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast

History was made in St Anne’s Cathedral on Sunday January 15 when the Cathedral’s first Lay Canons were installed.

Mrs Myrtle Kerr and Mr Robert Kay were presented by the Archdeacons of Belfast and Down respectively and after the reading of the Mandate by the Cathedral Registrar, the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann, led each new Canon to their designated seat.

The appointment of Lay Canons to Church of Ireland Cathedrals only became possible in 2010. The Constitution allows St Anne’s Cathedral to appoint up to three Lay Canons from Connor Diocese and up to three from Down & Dromore Diocese. Mrs Kerr and Mr Kay are the first to be appointed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ireland, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry

(Irish Times) Celebrated dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral Victor Griffin dies

The death has taken place of the Very Reverend Victor Griffin, former dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Dean Griffin died in the early hours of Wednesday in Limavady, Co Derry, where he had been living in retirement.
Dean Griffin was involved with the anti-apartheid movement and protested at Lansdowne Road against a visiting Springboks rugby team. He also helped to organise the peace train to Northern Ireland. He was also part of the Dublin Crisis Conference when Dublin Corporation ”“ now Dublin City Council ”“ planned “to resettle the Liberties with large highways, with large office blocks and large car parks: the unholy trinity”. He was opposed to the idea, saying “it would all end in tears”. He later recalled that it did.
Dean Griffin was the author of a number of books including Anglican and Irish: What We Believe (1976), Mark of Protest (1993), Enough Religion to Make Us Hate (2002) and A Short Catechism of basic Church Teaching (2007).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal supports a response to the crisis in Yemen

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal is partnering with Christian Aid and Tearfund to respond to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Already one of the world’s poorest nations, it has been devastated by civil war, leaving 7,000 dead, 35,000 injured and millions without food and shelter.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Asia, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Church of Ireland, Defense, National Security, Military, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Yemen

Diocese of Down and Dromore in good heart for future ministry

The bishop noted some of the changes in society, but more particularly, in ministry and leadership, which had occurred since his consecration in 1997.
He compared figures from 1997”“2016 and encouraged Synod that the diocese was well positioned for the future with 300 people commissioned and licensed for the work of ministry on a diocesan level.
There continued to be opportunities for curates and a desire in the diocese to invest in fresh new ministries. This year the number of presbyters ordained was the second largest in 20 years and six individuals were likely to begin the Foundation year at CITI ”“ three in their twenties, two in their thirties, and one in their forties.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ireland, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

Stephen Trew–Armagh Archbishop calls for a mission audit. How does the church itself measure up?

On the fifth mark of mission I was very pleased to hear Archbishop say this,

“Care of the creation and our responsibility for it was something that became very real to me in Lusaka, where I heard of formerly inhabited islands in the dioceses of the southern Pacific that have disappeared beneath the ocean because of global warming.”

He encourages parishioners to act in simple ways for future and present generations.

But how does the Church of Ireland itself measure up to his call for an audit? How should it act in regards to climate justice and global warming? The Bishops’ Appeal does and excellent job but it is where the church’s money is invested that raises questions.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, Theology

'Applying the 5 marks of Mission'–The Archbishop of Armagh’s Presidential Address at Synod 2016

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, delivered his Presidential Synod Address at the 2016 Armagh Diocesan Synod in the Alexander Synod Hall, Church House, Armagh on Tuesday 18th October 2016. He spoke on the themes of applying the ”˜five marks of mission’ identified by the Anglican Communion: to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom; to teach, baptise and nurture new believers; to respond to human need by loving service; to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation; and to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth. Archbishop Clarke said: ”˜Every part of the worldwide Church has to work through them, work out the implications for their own setting, and then put them into practice,’ and continued: ”˜Proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom does not mean handing people a package, it means encouraging them to join with us on a journey ”¦ We are asking people to become, not “people like us”, but to become what we all strive to be, children of the Kingdom of God.’

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland

Archbishops of Armagh and Canterbury welcome Belfast parades agreement

From here:

In response to the news that an agreement has been reached in North Belfast in relation to contested parades, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, joined with the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, to express their support for this significant initiative:

“We have been aware that various people and groups have been working hard to reach an agreement which would bring to an end the parading stand-off in North Belfast, a part of the city which has borne economic hardship and carries a heavy legacy from the Troubles. The news of this agreement is to be warmly welcomed and we commend all who have taken risks and found a way to serve the common good in the journey towards a peaceful and reconciled future. Our prayers and continued support are with those who now carry responsibility for making it work.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Ireland, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(BBC) Belfast's St Anne's Cathedral: Catholic priest installed for first time

Catholic priest Fr Edward O’Donnell has been installed as an ecumenical canon at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.
He is one of three ecumenical canons appointed at the cathedral.
In his role at St Anne’s he can preach, lead prayers and read scripture. He can also assist at the cathedral’s traditional Black Santa Christmas collection for charity.
It is the first time in St Anne’s history that a Catholic priest has been appointed to such a role.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Ireland, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Bishop Paul Colton’s Address on the 250th Birthday of Bishop John Brinkley

Brinkley did attract many young clergy to Cloyne. During the winter of 1831”“32 the area was badly affected by famine and disease. There was a cholera outbreak in Cork City. A number of these young men died ”“ Thomas Walker, rector of Buttevant, died of Typhus; he was 29. Six weeks later his curate, Robert Disney died. Not far from here, the rector of Tallow, the 33 year old Henry Brougham died. On 7th July 1832 cholera reached Skibbereen on the same day as an anti”“tithe meeting. There was cholera in Schull too, and Castletownshend.

In the wider polity of society and State, in this period, burning questions were: the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts (1828), tithes and the tithe war (1831”“36), Catholic Emancipation (1829), the introduction of a system of national education in 1831 (Lord Stanley). In December 1834 at Bartlemy Cross near Rathcormac, for example, the Tithe Wars came to a head; up to 20 people were killed and many injured.

In Brinkley’s time, the very Diocese of which he was Bishop was under threat by the proposals of ecclesiastical reform. The Church Temporalities Act 1833 was seen by many, including such as John Keble, as imperiling the Church itself. It led to a highly symbolic confrontation between Church and State. After Brinkley’s death as current holder of the Bishopric, Cloyne would be united with Cork and Ross.

All these things happened during his time here.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Ireland

The Church of Ireland Release on St Anne’s Appointing a Roman Catholic Ecumenical Canon

Fr [Edward] O’Donnell will join Methodist Minister the Rev Ruth E Patterson, and Presbyterian Minister, the Rev Dr Ruth Patterson, to complete the Cathedral’s complement of three Ecumenical Canons.
Fr O’Donnell said he was surprised to learn from the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann, that the Cathedral Chapter had elected him as an Ecumenical Canon, adding that he was ”˜very pleased and happy to accept.’
“While this is a personal privilege for me, the honour is shared with all those who work quietly but persistently to improve and strengthen inter”“church relationships,” Fr O’Donnell said.
“I recognise that for St Anne’s Cathedral community, and for the Catholic community of Belfast, that this is a significant step, perhaps even historic, but more so, I recognise the generosity of the Dean and Chapter in inviting me, as a representative of the Roman Catholic Church, to be an Ecumenical Canon.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Ireland, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic, Theology

R Catholic priest named canon of Belfast Anglican cathedral in historic first

St Anne’s Cathedral has appointed a Roman Catholic priest as one of its canons for the first time.

Father Edward O’Donnell, parish priest of St Brigid’s in south Belfast, is now one of three “ecumenical canons” at the Church of Ireland cathedral.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Ireland, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Address by the Archbishop of Armagh at the Battle of the Somme Centenary Service

There is a wonderful moment in the final scene of Frank McGuinness’s iconic play, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching towards the Somme, when the young Ulster soldiers, about to go ”˜over the top’ on the morning of 1st July 1916, start discussing the rival merits of the rivers of Ulster ”“ the Lagan, the Foyle, the Bann. Then they suddenly realise that they are standing there near another river, the River Somme, and the discussion becomes more excited and excitable. One of the soldiers calls out that now the Somme is the Lagan, the Foyle, the Bann. This river, the Somme, is now theirs. The Somme has somehow become a river of Ulster.

Few images could more perfectly encapsulate that connectedness between the Somme and Ulster. For many people of that province, the Somme and Ulster have, for a hundred years, belonged together in the imagination of succeeding generations. This connectedness is something we celebrate today, but we do more.

The Somme, the Lagan, the Bann, the Foyle all need to recall what a river is, and what rivers are. They flow, they change, or they are no longer rivers but stagnant pools. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus reminds us that one can never step twice into the same river. It is not the same river because of the flow of water. We think of a river as forever the same and, in many respects, this may be so, but the river does not remain entirely the same. As we recall with thankfulness and even awe, those young men who, one hundred years ago, chose to join up and come to this place for what they believed was a righteous cause and where so many of them died, we do them no service if we do not relate them to today and to our hopes and prayers and aspirations for the future.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Europe, France, History

Bishop Harold Miller: 3 things to remember as we vote

First, we might well offer a prayer of thanksgiving that we live in a democratic society, where our vote really counts, and where we can freely and safely exercise it. A vote is a valuable commodity!
Second, we might well offer a prayer for wisdom, as we make our decision. This is the kind of decision usually delegated to Parliament alone. The referendum gives us a sense of the vital and life”“changing decisions with which we entrust our politicians, and on which we often comment from the safe distance of not having to make them ourselves. Now it is our turn.
Third, we might intercede with God that his sovereignty would reign above all other sovereignties in this knife”“edge of a vote.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Ireland, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Archbishop of Armagh’s Presidential Address at the Church of Ireland General Synod

As we now begin our work in synod, we are also approaching the Festival of Pentecost. And we would therefore do well to remind ourselves that all our planning and all our strategising is of little avail if we do not also place ourselves at the disposal of the Holy Spirit. Cardinal Leo Suenens, one of the great Roman Catholic proponents of the modern charismatic movement memorably commented that he would have liked to add a phrase to the creeds. Not only do we believe in the Holy Spirit, he suggested, but we should also express belief in ”˜the surprises of the Holy Spirit’. I might perhaps suggest an addition to Cardinal Suenens’ phrase. We should believe in the surprises of the Holy Spirit, and our belief should be as much in the surprises of the Holy Spirit that are unwelcome, as in those surprises that we might welcome! In the Church of Ireland, we are not keenly attuned to the possibility of surprises, not even welcome surprises. But if we truly believe in the Holy Spirit, we must believe in surprises, and certainly General Synod and our participation in this Synod can never be all about us, but rather centred and focussed on the glory of God.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(C of I) Reprint of Bp Harold Miller's Desire of Our Soul is now Available

It is not often that the Church of Ireland has a best seller but such was the demand for Bishop Harold Miller’s guide to the Book of Common Prayer, The Desire of Our Soul, that it sold out. And such has been the continuing demand for it that a reprint has been necessary. The reprint, with an attractive new cover, has just been released and is available from The Book Well online Christian bookshop.

The book is a companion to the Book of Common Prayer 2004. In this guide, Bishop Miller leads the reader through the different services in the Prayer Book, especially the ones newly introduced in 2004. He enables the reader to understand something of the meaning of the liturgies, the reason why they are as they are, and the way in which they can provide the people of God with words which can deepen both public and personal devotion.

The publication also includes a series of charts laying out the structure of many of the services, and a set of questions at the end of each chapter which m

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Book of Common Prayer, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church of Ireland, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

Irish Archbishop Jackson Issues Pastoral Letter on Proposed Diocesan Boundary Changes

Archbishop Michael Jackson has issued a Pastoral Letter which will be read out on Low Sunday, April 3, in every church in the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough.

The letter concerns the proposals being brought to the General Synod of the Church of Ireland in May by the Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures which, if agreed, would see six parishes from Glendalough being transferred to the Diocese of Meath and Kildare.

All clergy in Dublin and Glendalough have been sent the letter and they have been asked to read it in their churches and make it available to interested parties. They have also been asked, particularly in the parishes affected, to facilitate discussion on the proposal.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland

"The love that Jesus showed on the Cross: love that endures and that saves"

Think of Jesus. His words are few. He is exhausted and in pain. Two words however remain: a word of mercy to the criminal who repents; a word of fidelity, handing himself to his Father, his mission completed.

Lord we live in a world filled with words. Perhaps never in history have there been so many words: spoken, printed, electronically stored or moving invisibly. Help us to realise that few words are necessary. Empty words foster empty hearts. There are realities which do not need words. Give us Lord the words to ask for forgiveness, the words which touch those things in our hearts we would not want anyone to hear, but things that keep us entrapped in sinfulness and isolation. Give us words to forgive, to be generous and loving.Open our heart in mercy to those who long for freedom. Keep us faithful like Jesus to what we are called to, to what is most noble and good in our lives.

In a world where everything has a shelf-life and what we dislike can be quickly discarded, help us to learn that singular characteristic of God: being faithful. The events of Good Friday realise something that has been spoken of throughout the history of God’s encounter with his people. God remains faithful to his people, even when his people generation after generation fail him and fail him and betray him and betray him[.]
True goodness is not a passing emotion. It is not about feeling good. It is about being faithful to goodness when it is easy, when it is challenging, and even when it leads to our annihilation in the eyes of those who seek their only own interest.

Jesus dies. He breathes his last and that last is the same as the first words recorded about Jesus: “I must be about my Father’s business”; “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”.

Jesus humbles himself, he empties himself, and his love is so great that he empties himself even unto death, death on the Cross. But the Cross triumphs. His self-giving love is so complete that it brings new life, true live.

Lord help us to reject everything that is trivial and superficial. Give us the love that Jesus showed on the Cross: love that endures and that saves.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of Ireland, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Theology

A Joint Holy Week and Easter Message from the Archbishops of Armagh

As we again ponder, and ”˜pray with’, the events of the first Holy Week and Easter, we once more become aware of the enormity of God’s mercy to humankind. In the darkness of Calvary on Good Friday and in the celebration of Our Lord’s resurrection on Easter Day, we see both sides of Divine mercy. God is with us in the darkness of all human suffering and bewilderment, but God also holds out the hope of a new and wonderful dimension to human existence, both in this life and beyond this life. Herein is the miracle of that great mercy held out for us.

This year is a particular ”˜year of mercy’ in the Roman Catholic tradition, but for all Christian disciples ”“ of whatever tradition ”“ the heartbeat of the Beatitudes echoes through all true spiritual endeavour with its central message, ”˜Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.’ (Matthew 5.7)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week

Reform Ireland Letter to the Irish House of Bishops

..The letter from our bishops proposes to encourage mutual respect and attentiveness, but it communicates something quite different. It demonstrates two disturbing characteristics of our House of Bishops: (A) they make the Church of Ireland its own primary authority and source of unity and (B) they assume that our church’s teaching on the issue of human sexuality is liable, even certain, to change.

The Church as its Own Authority.

Our bishops make the Church of Ireland’s canons, rites, ceremonies and liturgies the primary and ultimate authority for our doctrinal and moral teaching. If this is true, the only barrier to a Church of Ireland minister conducting same-sex marriages is the canons and liturgy of the Church of Ireland. Their letter defends this approach by suggesting this matter is of ”˜expressly legal function’. The letter itself cannot sustain this tactic as it later calls us to ”˜offer service and leadership in the things of God.’

Our bishops propose the following arguments against the practice of same sex marriage in the Church of Ireland: the status of the current canons, the absence of liturgical resources, and restraint for the sake of other’s consciences. The primary authority of Anglican tradition is notably absent ”“ the letter neglects Scripture or any appeal to its’ authority.

Our bishops’ neglect of Scripture departs from the Church of Ireland’s stated principles in the preamble & declaration to our constitution and our historic reformed protestant doctrine contained in the BCP, articles, ordinal and homilies. The benefit of these Anglican documents is in their agreement with Scripture. Apart from their agreement with Scripture they have no Christian authority and cease to be identifiably Anglican.

The impediment to our support of, conducting of, or entry into so-called “same-sex marriage” is not our canons, liturgical resources, or others’ consciences, as our bishops propose. Our impediment is the clear and present word of God in Scripture from which our doctrine is derived. If Holy Scripture is not our bishops’ ultimate authority, then they have departed from the reformed Christian faith of which Anglicanism is a wonderful expression.

Rather than a call to canonical conformity and liturgical observance, we long for a call from our House of Bishops to proper Christian restraint that is obedience to our Lord’s word. To act without such restraint in this matter is not merely inviting division, it is open rebellion against Christ and a withdrawal from Christian life and doctrine, a wilful sinfulness that Scripture and our scriptural Anglican traditions meet with rebuke and discipline..

Read it all [with the cross references to the Bishops’ letter]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland