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New book from Bishop of Connor

The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, recently launched his latest book, The Jewel in the Mess, at the Spectrum Centre in north Belfast where the guest speakers were the Rev Dr Heather Morris, General Secretary, Home Mission Department of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and Professor David Jones, Pro–Vice Chancellor, Education and Students at Queen’s University, Belfast.

This is the Bishop’s third book, and was written during a sabbatical he took in the early part of 2018. In it Bishop Alan, who has been Bishop of Connor since June 2007, examines how his years of leadership in the church caused him to lose sight of the original awe that called him to his faith. The book explores how through his struggle with depression and his diagnosis with prostate cancer, he has come to find the message of Jesus in the difficult, dark and chaotic parts of life. He pares faith back to its core beliefs, before the bureaucracy, to Jesus, with his messy, humble and human beginning, who blessed the people around him. Using examples of biblical stories and examining the ways in which God shows himself in our ordinary lives, this book centres on Jesus while incorporating the complicated corners of life that Bishop Alan visited during his sabbatical, such as the mission centres of Church Army UK and Ireland.

Publishers Columba Press describe The Jewel in the Mess as a very personal book which looks at the idea of God without the institutions and hierarchy. The book instead refocuses on the figure of Jesus at the heart of the Bible. Bishop Alan’s previous two books – Fulfilment and Frustration (2000) and Shadows on a Journey (2011) – were also published by Columba.

The Jewel in the Mess can be ordered from Columba Press on 00 353 (1) 687 4096 or email sales@columba.ie and is also available from The Book Well (www.thebookwell.co.uk).

Trinity College Chapel Choir will be in Lisbon this weekend where they will present a concert of at the cathedral of Santa Maria Maior. Tomorrow (Sunday) morning the choir will sing at the Eucharist at St Paul’s cathedral of the Lusitanian Church. This church has close connections with the Church of Ireland. From the beginning it had a Council of Bishops presided over by William Plunkett, Bishop of Meath. The celebrant will be Bishop Jorge Pina Cabral who visited Trinity College several years ago. Dr Kerry Houston will present greetings to Bishop Jorge from the Archbishop of Dublin.

In Dublin this afternoon from 2–4pm, ‘Once Upon a Time in Christ Church…’ will feature visual art storyteller Jean Ryan on an imaginative story–telling walking tour between Christ Church cathedral and the National Gallery of Ireland. Immerse yourself in a story which influenced an Irish artist and discover the link between these two iconic places. Normal cathedral admission applies and the tour best suits over 12s. Please book your place at 

A Christian Aid service will be broadcast tomorrow morning (Sunday) on RTE 1 television at 11am and RTE Radio 1 Extra.  Participants will include parishioners from Clondalkin and Rathcoole, Co Dublin.

There will be a trumpet and organ recital by Dearbhla Nolan and Simon Harden at Monkstown parish church, Co, Dublin, next Tuesday, 21 May, at 1pm.  The programme will include works by Vivaldi, Handel and Franck.

On Wednesday the Archbishop of Dublin will be in Edinburgh where he will attend the 4 Nations’ Faith and Order Consultation which continues until Friday.

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Church of Ireland Notes

Published weekly in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times