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Day 3

Report of Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue Presented to Synod

The Report of the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue was received by members of General Synod this afternoon.

Proposing the report the Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows, encouraged Synod towards receptive ecumenism which involved looking at others with openness rather than prejudice.

He said that many areas found themselves under the umbrella of this commission including European affairs and interfaith issues. On the issue of Brexit, he said there would be issues and challenges for the church but reminded Synod the Church could transcend these. The moral case for Remain was not strongly put in the referendum, he suggested, and he encouraged the Church to gather up the fragments of remain.

Canon Gillian Wharton seconded the report which she said was evidence of how ecumenism had changed and it had gone from being a novelty to pray together to working together for a common purpose.

Geoffrey McMaster (Glendalough) highlighted the upcoming World Meeting of Families which takes place in Dublin in August when people from 102 countries will attend. The Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough will be involved in children’s, youths and women’s ministry. The Dublin & Glendalough Council for Mission is organising a stand on the theme “What does the Church of Ireland do for the family?”. Church of Ireland organisations promoting the family will be involved. It is a great opportunity for the Church of Ireland to be involved and encouraged anyone who wished to be involved to contact the Dublin and Glendalough Council for Mission.

Joanne Martin (Connor) spoke about the Interfaith group. She said she was aware of the importance of maintaining the distinctiveness of our faith and she was pleased that interfaith prayers would remain distinct and unique to the Christian faith while having respect and understanding for others. She said the proposed prayers are to be prepared as a response to a terrorist attack and asked for the interfaith guidelines to be made more widely available.

George Woodman (Connor) referred to Brexit and thanked the Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory for his remarks and agreed churches would face challenges. However, he said that less than a year out from Brexit people still had no idea of what they faced. He said there was xenophobia in the area, although not as much as in other areas. The churches have to be ready to stand with people who have come and made their homes here and contributed to our lives. He also said Churches needed to engage with the Council of Europe.

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