Category : –Ireland

R S Thomas’ The Coming for Holy Week

And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, A river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Holy Week, Language, Poetry & Literature

(CHI) Patrick the Saint

Despite his success as a missionary, Patrick was self-conscious, especially about his educational background. “I still blush and fear more than anything to have my lack of learning brought out into the open,” he wrote in his Confession. “For I am unable to explain my mind to learned people.”

Nevertheless, he gives thanks to God, “who stirred up me, a fool, from the midst of those who are considered wise and learned in the practice of the law as well as persuasive in their speech and in every other way and ahead of these others, inspired me who is so despised by the world.”

Over and over again, Patrick wrote that he was not worthy to be a bishop. He wasn’t the only one with doubts. At one point, his ecclesiastical elders in Britain sent a deputation to investigate his mission. A number of concerns were brought up, including a rash moment of (unspecified) sin from his youth.

His Confession, in fact, was written in response to this investigation. Reeling from accusations, Patrick drew strength from God: “Indeed he bore me up, though I was trampled underfoot in such a way. For although I was put down and shamed, not too much harm came to me.”

If Patrick was not confident about his own shortcomings, he held a deep sense of God’s intimate involvement in his life. “I have known God as my authority, for he knows all things even before they are done,” he wrote. “He would frequently forewarn me of many things by his divine response.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Patrick

Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Brigid of Kildare

Everliving God, we rejoice today in the fellowship of thy blessed servant Brigid, and we give thee thanks for her life of devoted service. Inspire us with life and light, and give us perseverance to serve thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(VM News) Archdeacon Mark Ireland–Now is Not The Time to Cut Clergy Posts!

In a recent book (Making New Disciples, 2015) Mike Booker and I quoted a remarkable statistic that 40% of fresh expressions of church are led by lay people with no formal training or authorisation. However potential lay ministers need clergy with time to recognise their gifts, encourage their vocation and invest in their training and development. As an incumbent a major part of my time was spent discipling individuals and growing new leaders, but when I focused on that I never worked myself out of a job. Instead, the church grew and I was as busy as ever!

What’s more, freezing recruitment of parish clergy doesn’t make sense in spiritual terms.

We have been praying and working for a 50% increase in vocations. Just when God seems to be answering our prayers and the number of vocations is increasing, we should be prayerfully trusting God to provide the finance to enable us to deploy these priests. What other organisation would go to the trouble and expense of recruiting and training new staff, only to tell them at the end of their trainee post that there was no job for them?

Freezing recruitment also stifles the work of the Holy Spirit by hampering the growth of fresh expressions of church. Church plants sometimes grow to the size where they can no longer be sustained by volunteers. This is exactly the time when bold investment is needed to help the congregation transition to a paid priest. Such posts have potential to become self-supporting in time. However, if dioceses do not release funds at this point to pay a stipendiary priest the growth that the Spirit has given is I believe stifled and decline follows.

And it doesn’t make sense on financial grounds.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Harriet Monsell

Gracious God, who didst lead thy servant Harriet Monsell through grief to a new vocation; grant that we, inspired by her example, may grow in the life of prayer and the work of service, so that in all our sorrows and in all our joys, thy presence may evermore increase among us, and that our lives may be so ordered as to reveal the mind of Christ, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History, England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer

(Christian History Magazine) Patrick the Saint

Despite his success as a missionary, Patrick was self-conscious, especially about his educational background. “I still blush and fear more than anything to have my lack of learning brought out into the open,” he wrote in his Confession. “For I am unable to explain my mind to learned people.”

Nevertheless, he gives thanks to God, “who stirred up me, a fool, from the midst of those who are considered wise and learned in the practice of the law as well as persuasive in their speech and in every other way and ahead of these others, inspired me who is so despised by the world.”

Over and over again, Patrick wrote that he was not worthy to be a bishop. He wasn’t the only one with doubts. At one point, his ecclesiastical elders in Britain sent a deputation to investigate his mission. A number of concerns were brought up, including a rash moment of (unspecified) sin from his youth.

His Confession, in fact, was written in response to this investigation. Reeling from accusations, Patrick drew strength from God: “Indeed he bore me up, though I was trampled underfoot in such a way. For although I was put down and shamed, not too much harm came to me.”

If Patrick was not confident about his own shortcomings, he held a deep sense of God’s intimate involvement in his life. “I have known God as my authority, for he knows all things even before they are done,” he wrote. “He would frequently forewarn me of many things by his divine response.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Patrick

Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Brigid of Kildare

Everliving God, we rejoice today in the fellowship of thy blessed servant Brigid, and we give thee thanks for her life of devoted service. Inspire us with life and light, and give us perseverance to serve thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(BBC) Coronavirus: The priest treating patients during crisis

Belfast man Christopher Gault left medicine to join the priesthood in 2014.

With the outbreak of coronavirus, he returned to work as a doctor for six weeks on the front line in Belfast’s Mater hospital.

Read it all (video availablealso).

Posted in --Ireland, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained

(Belfast Telegraph) Religious leaders call limited reopening for Northern Ireland’s churches a sign of hope

Religious leaders have welcomed the announcement that churches can reopen for private prayer as lockdown restrictions ease.

Drive-in services will also be permitted, providing social distancing is maintained and those attending do not get out of their cars.

The leaders of the Church of Ireland, Methodist Church in Ireland, Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Irish Council of Churches all expressed their appreciation for the careful preparation that preceded the announcement, which included consultation with them.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Christian History Magazine) Patrick the Saint

Despite his success as a missionary, Patrick was self-conscious, especially about his educational background. “I still blush and fear more than anything to have my lack of learning brought out into the open,” he wrote in his Confession. “For I am unable to explain my mind to learned people.”

Nevertheless, he gives thanks to God, “who stirred up me, a fool, from the midst of those who are considered wise and learned in the practice of the law as well as persuasive in their speech and in every other way and ahead of these others, inspired me who is so despised by the world.”

Over and over again, Patrick wrote that he was not worthy to be a bishop. He wasn’t the only one with doubts. At one point, his ecclesiastical elders in Britain sent a deputation to investigate his mission. A number of concerns were brought up, including a rash moment of (unspecified) sin from his youth.

His Confession, in fact, was written in response to this investigation. Reeling from accusations, Patrick drew strength from God: “Indeed he bore me up, though I was trampled underfoot in such a way. For although I was put down and shamed, not too much harm came to me.”

If Patrick was not confident about his own shortcomings, he held a deep sense of God’s intimate involvement in his life. “I have known God as my authority, for he knows all things even before they are done,” he wrote. “He would frequently forewarn me of many things by his divine response.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History

(C of I) Archbishop Michael Jackson–A Prayer in the Time of the Coronavirus

Posted in --Ireland, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Spirituality/Prayer

Church of Ireland Guidance in relation to the Coronavirus Threat: Communion in One Kind and No passing of the Peace

2. Physical interaction during services, including the Sign of Peace, should be suspended. Clergy may choose to give the congregation permission to carry out an alternative Sign of Peace that does not involve hand contact (e.g. a smile, nod or bow) if so wished. Shaking hands on greeting and departure at religious services/gatherings should be suspended. Observe good hand and general hygiene – thorough hand–washing with soap or sanitisers and disposal of tissues.

3. Stay at home if you feel ill and display influenza–like symptoms. The symptoms to be aware of in the case of the coronavirus include cough, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, and fever. Do not come to church services until you feel well.

4. The Church’s duty of care extends to members of the clergy. If you have influenza–type symptoms, do not call the clergy for pastoral visitation. Pastoral support for parishioners who are unable to attend church services should be provided by telephone or online (e.g. Skype).

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church of Ireland, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Brigid of Kildare

Everliving God, we rejoice today in the fellowship of thy blessed servant Brigid, and we give thee thanks for her life of devoted service. Inspire us with life and light, and give us perseverance to serve thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

The November/December 2019 edition of the Eco-Congregation Ireland newsletter is out

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church of Ireland, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(CNN) Meet Belfast’s ‘dementia-friendly barber’

In his home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Lenny White gathers up his supplies for the day: a red, white and blue striped barber pole, hair clippers and a table-top jukebox — all the makings of a pop-up barbershop, catered to a very special group of clients.

White is known as the “dementia-friendly barber.” Along with his assistant, Jonathan Wray, he visits care homes across Northern Ireland to cut the hair of men living with dementia.

“When these men come into the room,” White said, “they think they are coming into the barbershop, which they really are. It is Lenny’s Barbershop, but it’s not on the Main Street. It’s in their living accommodations in the care home setting.”

White accomplishes that feeling by replicating a traditional barbershop, down to the music playing on the jukebox, from Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to Elvis Presley.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship

(Belfast Telegraph) Largest Northern Ireland churches insist same-sex weddings won’t be held in places of worship

None of the largest Churches in Northern Ireland have said they are prepared to carry out same-sex marriages.

The Church of Ireland, Methodist Church of Ireland and Presbyterian Church in Ireland all stated that they will only celebrate marriages between a man and a woman.

The Catholic Church expressed its concerns at the “redefinition” of marriage, but did not comment directly on whether it would hold same-sex wedding ceremonies on its properties.

The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster did not reply when approached for comment, although it has previously expressed its opposition to same-sex marriage.

However, All Souls Church, a non-subscribing Presbyterian Church based in south Belfast, confirmed it will provide the opportunity for same-sex couples to have their marriage solemnised.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Ireland, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

Bishops’ intervention set to extend gambling protections across the UK

Gambling rules in Northern Ireland could be brought into line with tighter standards in the rest of the UK following an intervention by the Church of England.

An amendment tabled in the House of Lords by the Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, opening the way for possible alignment in gambling regulation between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain has been accepted by the Government.

The amendment adds gambling legislation to a number of areas on which the Government would be required to produce a report by September as part of moves to restore the devolved executive in Northern Ireland.

The Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, who spoke to the amendment in the House of Lords, told peers that the current inconsistency meant that reforms introduced in mainland Britain – such as the cap on the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) – do not apply in Northern Ireland.

“The anomalies and confusions abound,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Politics in General

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Patrick

Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(Tablet) Laity must defend the faith not wait for bishops to ‘get their act together’, says Rod Dreher in Ireland

Best-selling author and conservative thinker Rod Dreher has urged the Irish laity not to passively wait for their bishops to “get their act together” but to speak out and defend the faith themselves.

In an address at University Church in Dublin, hosted by the Iona Institute and the Notre Dame Newman Centre for Faith and Reason, the author of ‘The Benedict Option’ told a crowd of 350 that Catholics in Ireland that he knew “from bitter experience that the institutions of the Catholic Church cannot be relied on to teach, defend, and evangelise for the faith”.

The popular blogger and editor at ‘The American Conservative’, who is author of several books, told The Tablet that it would be “a fatal mistake to sit back and wait for them [the bishops] to get their acts together”.

“Pray that they do but in the meantime faithful Catholics must catechise themselves and their children. They must act themselves to deepen their experience of faith through prayer, the sacraments, Bible reading, and embracing spiritual disciplines.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, England / UK, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Happy Boxing Day to all Blog Readers!

Posted in --Ireland, --Scotland, --Wales, Australia / NZ, Blogging & the Internet, Canada, Christmas, England / UK

Irish Times exit poll projects Ireland has voted by landslide to repeal Eighth Amendment

Ireland has voted by a landslide margin to change the constitution so that abortion can be legalised, according to an exit poll conducted for The Irish Times by Ipsos/MRBI.

The poll suggests that the margin of victory for the Yes side in the referendum will be 68 per cent to 32 per cent – a stunning victory for the Yes side after a long and often divisive campaign.

More than 4,500 voters were interviewed by Ipsos/MRBI as they left polling stations on Friday. Sampling began at 7am and was conducted at 160 locations across every constituency throughout the day. The margin of error is estimated at +/- 1.5 per cent.

Counting of votes begins on Saturday morning at 9am with an official result expected to be declared in the afternoon.

However, the size of the victory predicted by the exit poll leaves little doubt that, whatever the final count figures, the constitutional ban on abortion, inserted in a referendum in 1983, is set to be repealed.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Archbishop of Armagh’s Presidential Address to the General Synod of the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland

But then, in the culture in which we live, we must strive also for what I would term as real “agility” as a Church community. A phrase coined by a great humanist writer of our era, Zygmund Baumann, shortly before his death, was ‘liquid modernity’. By this, Baumann meant that we are living in a time when there seems to be no permanence – no solid ground – beneath our feet as a society. Whether economically, culturally, politically or socially, we have lost any sense of solidity, of certainty, of permanence. This is undoubtedly a major factor in the rise of a toxic and aggressive populism that is threatening everything in the world around us that we have long taken for granted. People grasp for old certainties even when these are unattainable and even pernicious. It is fascinating that another writer who spoke in similar terms about the erosion of the foundations of everything we take as a given in
terms of proper societal norms, was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writing in Germany at the outset of the Second World War. To that, we should surely pay serious heed.

But, as Christian disciples living in liquid modernity, what are we to do; in the words of the psalmist, “What can the righteous do?” They must, first and most importantly, recall the solid foundations on which we are to rely in any place and time – in the words of the traditional prayer for the work of the General Synod, that we may “evermore hold fast and abide in the Apostolic and true Catholic faith”. But we must also be ready to think carefully and critically about everything around us, and indeed about ourselves. The political philosopher Hannah Arendt, best remembered for her phrase, ‘the banality of evil’, also warned us that human stupidity is often not a lack of intelligence, but rather an unwillingness to think critically. And in this sense, stupidity is also a primary source of evil in the world. If we are to think critically and analytically, then we must be able to act with agility in a world where the certainties around us have dissolved into liquid, and herein lies the challenge. We must seek to balance the folly of imagining that the latest whim is a panacea for every issue we have to face (when it may actually be plain daft), with the careful and necessary analysis of the new idea which may take such a length of time to process that, by the time we make a decision, we will be so far behind the proverbial curve that we might as well not bother putting it into effect.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church of Ireland, Religion & Culture

Statement from the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Good, on the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment in Ireland

Unquestionably, the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment raises a number of complex questions: should abortion be dealt with in the Constitution or by way of government legislation; should the fact that hundreds of Irish women already leave the state every year to procure abortions influence our response; does the fact that many terminations are already taking place in Ireland (using unregulated pills) mean abortion should be made legal; and how should Ireland’s record of failure in the care of women and children – for example in the mother and baby homes – affect the way we vote?

Often, in the past, the protection of vulnerable women and children in Ireland left a lot to be desired, but legislating now to allow the lives of the most defenceless among us to be terminated is not the answer.

Past wrongs would be better addressed by providing better pastoral care in future for women, their partners and their families; by improving support services; and by investing more in medical and mental health services. We must be compassionate in responding to those for whom pregnancy is unwelcome or traumatic, and must seek to offer a positive alternative to abortion.

The Archbishops of the Church of Ireland have stated that “unrestricted access to abortion in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, or indeed at any stage, is not an ethical position we can accept.” Nevertheless, our tradition is concerned to ensure provision for terminations in – hopefully – rare circumstances and in a safe medical setting.

People differ on where the line should be drawn….

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church of Ireland, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Gafcon) Bringing the true gospel of Jesus Christ to Ireland

The Church of Ireland is also setting aside the founding documents of the Anglican church.

In 1999 the General Synod decided to precede the Thirty-Nine Articles with a “declaration” – used to distance the church from its historic confessional foundation. [2]

In 2004, the Book of Common Prayer was replaced with a new prayer book as the standard for Anglican doctrine and practice.

Such partings from traditional forms have also been accompanied by departures from scriptural teaching on moral issues.

In the recent referendum in the Republic of Ireland, two Church of Ireland bishops publicly supported the “Yes” campaign for same-sex marriage. [3]   A subsequent pastoral letter from the bishops gave advice to clergy seeking to enter into same-sex marriage.  Such clergy were not directed to the clear teaching of scripture but to, “think carefully about the response of others” because it is “contrary to what the Church of Ireland currently practices.” [4]

Faithful Anglicans recognise such language.  It is the language of departure from obedience the word of the Almighty God!  It is accompanied by the denial of other doctrines – the uniqueness of Christ, the atonement, human sinfulness…

In the meantime, many live in ignorance of the glorious saving gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

 

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Ireland, GAFCON

The Real St. Patrick for his Feast Day

Patrick was 16 years old in about the year 405, when he was captured in a raid and became a slave in what was still radically pagan Ireland. Far from home, he clung to the religion he had ignored as a teenager. Even though his grandfather had been a priest, and his father a town councilor, Patrick “knew not the true God.” But forced to tend his master’s sheep in Ireland, he spent his six years of bondage mainly in prayer. He escaped at the suggestion of a dream and returned home.

Patrick was in his mid-40s when he returned to Ireland.

Read it all and for the ambitious there is a lot more there.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Patrick

Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

Archbishops of Armagh to reflect on ministry and legacy of Saint Patrick at Armagh annual lecture

On Friday 16 March, the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day, the two Archbishops of Armagh, Archbishop Eamon Martin and Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke will join together to host the annual Saint Patrick’s Lecture at at 11.00 am in the Market Place Theatre in Armagh.

At the lecture the Archbishops will reflect on ministry and legacy of our National Patron, Saint Patrick. Following the lecture, UTV presenter Sarah Clarke will host a discussion with the Archbishops on the words of Saint Patrick, and how his message still resonates and holds relevance for many of the challenges faced by people today.

Reflecting on the life of our National Patron ahead of the event, Archbishop Martin said, ‘Saint Patrick, himself a migrant, was called to serve and bring God to a people far from his home. I encourage the faithful at this time to pray for migrants, and all who struggle to live and integrate into new cultures, at home and abroad, arising from displacement and poverty.’

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History, Church of Ireland, Ecumenical Relations, Roman Catholic

Bishop Michael Burrows of Cashel Ferns and Ossory reflects on recent changes in legislation in reference to Good Friday

It is a truism to say that we live amid the challenges, opportunities and sometimes confusions of a rapidly changing Ireland. While I can get my mind round some of the more obvious and dramatic changes, it is the little things that occasionally pull one up. I have to confess I felt a little twinge of regret when the small piece of legislation allowing for the opening of licensed premises on Good Friday passed rapidly through both Dáil and Seanad.

Thus ended a symbol of public homage to the atmosphere of Good Friday which had been upheld by law since the 1920s. In a changing and more pluralist society this moment no doubt was bound to come. Yet both parliamentary speeches and media coverage seemed almost to delight in pouring scorn on a tradition deemed to be senseless, antediluvian, and an inhibition to spending by tourists.

The Christian religion cannot any longer prescribe how people out in the public square behave on its own days of special holiness; that indeed is clear. But, as the ‘secular’ Good Friday becomes just like the opening day of any other holiday weekend, there are one or two babies that are being thrown out with the proverbial bath water. It was good to have a day when the nation was reminded of its inseparable and dependent relationship with alcohol – in this land we apparently cannot celebrate, commiserate or even relax without it. I say this as someone who is certainly not a Puritan in these matters, and who is constantly aware that when we make Eucharist we drink from a common celebratory cup of wine. Secondly, there was something precious about the silence of the streets on a Good Friday evening – no shouting and mirth at closing time, no raucous singing drifting over the garden wall. It is good for people to experience an atmosphere of corporate silence sometimes, to be challenged to reflect, to eschew the escapism often associated with unending noise.

But this year it will be changed utterly. Or will it? Christian people will still day by day observe the Week of weeks, knowing that the way in which Holy Week is kept is a kind of barometer of the spiritual state of our individual and parochial lives. Perhaps, as the rest of the world seems to be fleeing from any sense that Holy Week is special, we are challenged all the more to witness to the uniqueness and the profound relevance of these saving events.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Alcohol/Drinking, Church of Ireland, Holy Week, Religion & Culture