Bishop John McDowell ready to take up his new role as leader of the Church of Ireland

“There are obviously particularly challenges at the moment, what the church says to society and what it does for the society in which it is placed. You cannot pretend it doesn’t live in a political context. Politics is not something that just happens in Parliament. Democracies are places where political discussion or dialogue are about what we can do together or decisions which are deeply embedded. There are institutions which are recognisable bodies in civil society such as the business community, trade unions, voluntary sector and churches are one of those. I think they have their particular things to say and its perfectly legitimate for them to say it.

“The big imponderable at the moment is coronavirus and we have no idea how deeply that will affect the patterns of society. We could come out the other side of that challenge a changed society, with maybe small changes and maybe some very profound changes. Of course the other big external issue is Brexit which involves the relationships between the different regions within Ireland and the United Kingdom.

“I could be in both parts of that jurisdiction in one day praying for good governance for both of them and for their leaders,” he said.
In terms of reaching out to people in the Church of Ireland, the Archbishop-Elect recalled how a Northern Ireland Life and Times survey revealed around 45 per cent of people in Northern Ireland attend church at some point. He said the heyday for attending church was in the period from the late 19th Century to the period to the middle of the 1960s. But he thinks current attendance is “back to the old norm” with fewer people committed to regular churchgoing.

Read it all.


Posted in Church of Ireland