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Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’

Spring issue of Search

The spring issue of the Church of Ireland journal, Search, edited by Canon Ginnie Kennerley will shortly drop through the letter boxes of subscribers.

This year brings the beginning of what promised to be a long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland under the terms of the Irish Church Act of 1869. An article by Dr Ian d’Alton, a member of the Church of Ireland Centenaries Working Group, considers if disestablishment turned out to be an ‘unmitigated blessing’.

Of more immediate concern is the matter of the future membership of the House of Bishops: how upcoming elections will shape the common life of the Church. The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe is unlikely to be the only bishop retiring in the next couple of years, so the responsibility of the electoral colleges is a heavy one. Hoping to help the electors, four senior members of the Church ponder the outstanding qualities which are needed for a bishop. A cautionary tale, by Professor Alan Ford, centred on Bishop Richard Hanson of Clogher follows, illustrates the need to consider episcopal character and context carefully.

In two of the above articles, the desirability of another woman bishop is mentioned explicitly and it is taken for granted in a third. In Dean Susan Green’s article, ‘Do you see this Woman?’, the handicaps suffered by many women clergy are carefully considered and helpful statistical information offered. Although the Church of Ireland was three years ahead of England in ordaining women, there are now higher percentages of women serving in dioceses throughout the Church of England. This article assesses the reasons and suggests a way forward.

Bishop Michael Burrows continues the theme with some thoughts on the challenges facing ministry today – challenges to be presented by Dr David Hewlett and taken up and discussed by experienced and thoughtful speakers in the Search Colloquium ‘Developing Ministry’ on 30 March in Trinity College, Dublin.

Finally there are two refreshingly different articles. Dr Robin Stockitt, Rector of Donagheady in the diocese of Derry, whose recent work centres on the radical quality of shame in Christian life, reflects on the power of names to shame, while a longstanding member of the Dublin City Interfaith Forum, Swami Purnananda of the Eire Vedants Society, looks at the peaceful purpose of the DCIFF and the progress it has made in Dublin over the past two decades.

Today (Saturday) the Church’s Ministry of Healing will hold a day retreat of silence, peace, nurture and healing in St Patrick’s church, Dalkey, from 9.30am until 4pm, led by Dr Iva Beranek and Carol Casey. Both facilitators will lead a session of simple prayer practice, on the Welcoming Prayer, on Wednesday at 1.05pm in the Inter Faith Centre, DCU Glasnevin Campus. This event will mark one month since the death of DCU staff member, the Revd Robert Lawson.

Tomorrow (Sunday) the GFS Diocesan Festival Service will be held in St Patrick’s cathedral, Armagh, while in Killucan one of Ireland’s lesser known saints, St Etchen, will be remembered at the parish church’s patronal festival. Killucan is part of the Mullingar group of parishes where the rector is Canon Alastair Graham.

On Friday evening at 7.30pm in St Patrick’s church, Enniskerry, the Archbishop of Dublin will institute the Revd Cathy Hallissey to the incumbency of Powerscourt and Kilbride in succession to the Ven Ricky Rountree who has retired from the stipendiary ministry. Ms Hallissey, who was ordained in 2014, has been curate of Taney since 2015.