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Day 2

Report of Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue highlights network of relationships

The importance of the Church of Ireland’s relationships with other Anglican Churches and Churches of other traditions as well as increasingly with other faith communities was highlighted in the report of the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue which was presented to General Synod on Thursday evening (September 30).

Proposing the report, Bishop Kenneth Kearon said: “In one of its prayers, the Book of Common Prayer enjoins us ‘to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions.’ I believe that the significant effort we have put into participation in ecumenical dialogue shows that we are taking that prayer seriously. The outward manifestation of this lies in the heavy theological and ecclesiological documents typical of such dialogues. These outline a framework within which the more local engagement can and does take place. At the personal and practical level ecumenical relationships with our Roman Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran neighbours are a world away from where they were say 50 or 100 years ago”.

Bishop Kearon noted the welcome development of engagement with the networks of the Anglican Communion. The chosen Networks – The Safe Church, Environmental, Peace and Justice, Family and Women’s Networks – were relevant to our own life, and are areas of engagement where other Anglican Churches expect a contribution from the Church of Ireland, he stated.

He added that interfaith engagement was important in improving understanding but also in easing tensions at local level around issues such as interfaith marriage or new arrivals with a different faith background.

Brexit implications continued to be monitored by the European Affairs Working Group, he said, pointing out that the Church is now in a unique position, having members in the EU and outside the EU at the same time.

The report was seconded by Cate Turner.

Speaking to the report, Bishop Andrew Forster, paid tribute to Dr Nicola Brady, general secretary of the Irish Council of Churches who is moving to Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. He said that the ICC’s loss was CTBI’s gain. He noted that two of the lead strands in ICC and CTBI were to do with racial justice. That is an issue the Church of Ireland has been slow to grasp the nettle on, he said and added that he was pleased to hear of the research commissioned by the Archbishop of Armagh as mentioned in his Presidential Address.

The following have been elected to serve on the Commission: Dr Kenneth Milne, Mr Glenn Moore Ms Cate Turner, Rev Canon Dr Daniel Nuzum, Rev Canon Elaine Murray, Rev Canon Patrick Comerford, Rev Cathy Hallissey, Rev David White, Rev Suzanne Cousins, The Archbishop of Dublin, The Bishop of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory, The Bishop of Derry & Raphoe, another bishop to be nominated by the House of Bishops, and the Very Rev Niall Sloane.

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