Summer edition of SEARCH now out
The COVID 19 emergency has taken over every aspect of our lives since mid–March – personal, commercial, educational and, in the church, spiritual, sacramental and relational. Can live–streamed or recorded worship and pastoral visiting by telephone fill parishioners’ needs? While it seems impossible, this is all we have for now. The larger question of how this will affect the church of the future will be considered at a later date. For now, Robin Eames offers his thoughts on the crisis, while Aonghus Mayes and Daniel Nuzum write on how they have been meeting the challenge in parish and hospital chaplaincy respectively.
But there are deeper questions than these. Where is God in all this? How does it relate to the intensifying climate crisis? Will the human race survive? What happens next? Jacob Erickson of TCD is addressing such issues in his research and shares the fruit with us.
From the future to the past: the development of ordination and ministry training in the C of I since the 1960s has been remarkable, every decade bringing new initiatives. Only a small part of the story was told in last year’s Irish Anglicanism 1969–2019; in this issue Áine Hyland gives a fuller picture of its evolution and its leadership.
Not only training, but the nature and conditions of ministry in the Church themselves continue to require constant attention and improvement. If the Gospel is to be communicated and lived out in an inspiring manner, each decade will bring new challenges or intensify old ones. One such challenge in recent years has been the amount of clergy breakdown in the face of increasing secularisation and administrative overload. Psychotherapist Sue Phillips offers some helpful thoughts in this connection, noting the lack of effective counseling structures to help maintain clergy wellbeing.
Another challenge, an overdue one made more urgent in the face of declining numbers of clergy, is that of encouraging and enabling ‘every member ministry’ in the churches. In this, the Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church have been moving forward on slightly different paths, which hopefully can enrich one another. David Godfrey and Maria Murphy, from overlapping church communities in West Dublin, share their experience and hopes for an increasingly lively ‘ministry of all believers’.
And the Brexit challenges remain ever present. In this issue Kenneth Milne outlines what they mean for the Church of Ireland and urges us to keep ourselves informed and active in this area.
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