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Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’

Autumn Issue of SEARCH

Reflection on the legacy of the Reformation continues in the autumn issue of the Church of Ireland journal, SEARCH. The Revd Kevin Conroy writes on our interpretation of the diaconate as an ‘inviolate’ order of ministry and Professor Steven Ellis considers on Morning Prayer as the most favoured Sunday morning service in Church of Ireland parishes.

The way we continue to respond to the changes and challenges in the society around us is another aspect of reflection on the Reformation, and in this area there are three important contributions. The last of these is addressed by Professor Andrew Mayes in relation to Ancient Israel, mining the Old Testament texts to show the successive self–identities of Israel as tribal brotherhood, monarchy and dispersed People of God and showing how each was an essential shift in response to historical and sociological change. While Andrew Mayes contends that ‘there is no ideology without conflict of ideology’, Rev Dr Lesley Carroll, now Deputy Chief Commissioner at the Equality Commission NI, brings the matter of competing identities into the present. Considering how easily the virtue of loyalty can turn toxic where communities vie for dominance, she looks at the conflict experience of countries as diverse as Rwanda, Bosnia and Canada, and challenges the churches to lead the competing communities of Northern Ireland into mutual respect and cooperation. On a larger canvas, that of the Anglican Communion, former ACC officer, Canon Philip Groves analyses GAFCON’s challenge to the Communion and concludes that it cannot be described as an appropriate development of Anglican or biblical principle, however sincere its motivation. He calls us all to continue to ‘journey together in honest conversation, in faith, hope, and love, as we seek to … further the reign of God’.

Finally, looking in another way to the future of the Church, Jacqui Wilkinson shares the fruits of her recent research into primary school children’s attitudes to Christianity, arguing that encouragement to prayer must be a prime value for teachers and Christian parents alike.

The Reformation theme continues today (Saturday) when the Archbishop of Dublin will speak at a conference in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, marking the fifth Centenary of Martin Luther’s Reformation. His subject will be ‘Is the Reformation still to happen’. Reformation 500 is also a theme of the Cork, Cloyne & Ross Clergy Conference which begins in Ballylickey on Monday. The guest speaker will be the Revd Dr Jan Eckerdal who is a Canon Theologian in the Diocese of Strangais in the Church of Sweden.

Tomorrow (Sunday) morning the Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Revd Martin Nyaboho, will preach in St Fin Barre’s cathedral, Cork, through the Bishops’ Appeal and Christian Aid who are working with the Anglican Church in Burundi on a maize production programme. In Christ Church, Dun Laoghaire, the Bishop of Meath & Kildare will preach at the Harvest Festival.

On Tuesday afternoon the Dublin and Glendalough Retired Clergy Fellowship will meet in the Glenageary Church Centre for a Celebration of Holy Communion followed by a discussion introduced by Canon Desmond Sinnamon on the subject ‘Inter faith encounter’. In the evening the Dublin & Glendalough Diocesan Synod will meet in Taney Parish Centre.

In St Mary’s cathedral, Limerick, the lunchtime recital will be given by Stuart O’Sullivan (piano), who will play Beethoven’s famous Moonlight Sonata, together with music by Chopin and Mendelssohn. The Archbishop of Dublin will travel to Copenhagen where he will attend, preach at and co–chair the Porvoo Primates meeting.