Dean of St Patrick’s reflects on Launch Service for Pioneer Ministry
“It is a real privilege and honour for us in Saint Patrick’s that the launch of Pioneer Ministry has taken place here in the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland.
“There has been a church on this site for over a thousand years, and of course Saint Patrick is believed to have baptized early Christians on this site in the 5th century, but our Church, and all her dioceses, has its own story, or stories, to tell – and that is what makes history special, exciting, and interesting.
“It is said that to visit, to listen, and to learn about Saint Patrick’s is ‘to stroll through the centuries of Irish history’. As we do just that, there is a whole host of instances of how the Church in this ancient place has responded to change in the Church, and in Ireland, for example, at the time of the English Reformation, during the Williamite wars, at Disestablishment, at Partition, and at scores of other times as well.
“What is important is that it was the privilege of those ministering, and serving, here at those times in history, to respond, and to accommodate, and to interpret change, and new methods, new ways of thinking – and in so doing, to serve God and his people.
“I’m pleased that through those processes, Saint Patrick’s, as the national cathedral, is able to accommodate occasions of significance for the wider Church, nationally, for the all–Ireland Church.
“That this service should be held on a day when the Gospel readings for the morning speaks encouragingly to us to be as salt, and light, in reaching out to those with little or no connection to the Church is surely both acutely timely and significant. As we seek to worship God here, where the prayers and praised of countless generations have been offered, it is our prayer that this service will have been a time of great blessing, and that many will find, and be drawn closer to, the Lord, as he reveals new and different ways in serving him.”