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Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’

MindMatters Report

Today (Saturday) marks the beginning of a new year – a new calendar year that is for, of course, the Church’s new year began last November on Advent Sunday. But while the Church does not liturgically mark New Year for most of its members this is a significant day. A time for new beginnings and a time to, hopefully, banish from the mind the difficulties of the past.

However, that this is not a good time for all is emphasised by the release of  the Mindmatters COI summary research report.

The project, which was chaired by the Bishop of Meath & Kildare, the Most Revd Pat Storey, was made possible by a significant grant from one of the UK and Ireland’s largest grant–making charities, Allchurches Trust, and was fully supported by the Representative Church Body and the House of Bishops.

The baseline research phase of the project was undertaken by a team of external consultants and consisted of:

· A review of the literature on the role of Churches and other faith organisations in promoting positive mental health;

· Interviews with all 12 Church of Ireland Bishops ;

· An online survey, completed by 1,322 lay members of the Church of Ireland and 290 clergy, exploring awareness of and attitudes towards mental health among the Church community; and

· Focus group discussions with lay members, clergy and clergy spouses.

A youth sub–study commenced in winter 2021, the results of which will be reported on separately.

The findings show a need to prioritise four areas: promoting connections, reducing stigma, exploring the role of clergy and the supports and training that would be useful for them, and exploring the role of faith in promoting positive mental health.

Now that there is better understanding of the Church’s attitudes and awareness of mental health, the MindMatters COI team is developing its next steps.  With this in mind, it is going to roll out mental health awareness training in late January, with an invitation to apply for seed funding opening in late spring.

The summary report is available here and under the research tab of the project website: https://mindmatters.ireland.anglican.org

Another aspect of New Year is the appearance of reminders to renew annual subscriptions. In this context the Church of Ireland journal, Search, has been conducting a forensic examination of its subscription list and seriously overdue subscribers can expect to be contacted in the near future by the Hon. Treasurer,  Michael Denton.

One of the consequences of the Covid pandemic has been that the General Synod and the Dublin & Glendalough Diocesan Synod have been on–line for the last two years. Both were occasions on which Search had a stand at which subscribers regularly paid their subscriptions. This interruption in personal contact has led to a build–up in overdue subscriptions.

While Search is fortunate to receive financial support from the General Synod Royalties Fund and from the APCK, its subscription income is vital for the survival of the journal.

Subscribers are urged to begin the New Year by examining their bank statements and their consciences and then to contact Michael Denton at 10 Dun Emer Drive, Dublin D16 F788 or at subscriptions@searchjournal.ireland.anglican.org

For those who wish to begin the New Year with up to date contact details, the 2022 edition of the Church of Ireland Directory, complied by Christine Richardson and edited by Susan Hood, and including a desk diary and lectionary compiles by the Revd Ken Rue, is available for €18.50 from the on–line store at https://store.ireland.anglican.org

Church of Ireland Notes

Published in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times

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