Report of Council for Mission presented to General Synod
The report of the Council for Mission was presented to General Synod meeting in Belfast today (Thursday May 5).
Proposing the report, the chairperson the Revd Tim Wright, commended the committee which he said was full of some of the most passionate and committed members of the Church. He pointed out that membership is drawn from each of the dioceses, the House of Bishops, the Theological Institute, Mission Agencies and ecumenical partners.
He regretted that some dioceses had not taken up their seats and so were not represented on the committee. “This is an opportunity to influence the mission and ministry of the Church in both Provinces, from Mizen to Malin, in urban, rural, suburban and dormitory towns. These are exciting and important times for the Church on this island and here we have the ability for foster best practice, share good ideas and encourage one another,” he said.
He said that over the years much of the focus of the Council for Mission’s work had been the Five Marks of Mission: Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform and Treasure. He highlighted a series of short videos the council had produced on the Five Marks and said that two were launched this year. Members of Synod viewed a video on Discipleship.
He said that the council had been encouraged by the development of Pioneer Ministry, youth and children’s work, resources for online church and discipleship. He added that they had been greatly helped by some of the resources coming from the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough.
Mr Wright said that this is an exciting time for mission in Ireland. He observed that Ireland, North and South, was changing as it comes out of two difficult years. There have been new opportunities to tell the greatest story ever told, teach the faith in new ways and to tend the grieving, sick and dying.
“Across the world the Church is growing. Here in Ireland there are green shoots of growth and the Council exists to help the Church be the Church. Sisters and brothers, God is at work,” he stated.
Speaking to the report Archbishop Michael Jackson (Dublin and Glendalough) shared a diocesan initiative on the Five Marks of Mission – Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform and Treasure which derived from a Jesuit educator David Tuohy who worked with the diocese on their Come&C project. He shared a project, Living Faith, Living History, which enabled young people to become historians, journalists and researchers of the churches in their parishes. It was launched in Christ Church Cathedral by Ida Milne and the diocese was delighted to be able to give a full voice to the children who worked with their teachers on the project. This is published as an online book and a paper book.
The Revd Adam Pullen (Raphoe) commended the work of the Council for Mission and collaboration across mission agencies and the dioceses. He encouraged parishes and clergy to reach out for encouragement and support. “You need not do this on your own. There are others who will stand with you,” he said.
Laura Bagnall (Meath and Kildare) said that every participant at Synod contributed to the work of the Church. She said the focus needed to be on the church community and building the health of the flock. She pointed out that the study of theology appeared to be completely academic. She said she liked to keep it simple so the study of theology must include the study of all of God’s word with the Holy Bible as the main reference. She said that the Church of Ireland would be more effective if there was greater focus on studying the entire Bible “We can serve God better when we know God better,” she said. She added that every servant of God must be led to truly know the Holy Spirit. She said that the Bible could only be understood through the Holy Spirit.
The following were elected to the Council for Mission as General Synod representatives: Rev Tim Wright, Rev Colin McConaghie and Rev Isaac Hannah.