|Friday 17th June 2011|
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Church and community unite to give thanks for refurbishment of Derry Cathedral
Leaders across the community, from Church and State, joined together on St Columba's Day last week at a special service of thanksgiving and dedication in St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry, to mark the completion of the Cathedral's£3.6m, 18-month programme of refurbishment and renovation.
Speaking at the service, the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, the Rt Revd Ken Good, described the Cathedral as "a place in which there is a rich legacy, a deep sense of history and a strong awareness of tradition".
The recent appointment of Mary McArdle as a special adviser at Stormont was insensitive not only because she had a part in the 1984 murder of the 23-year-old Mary Travers but also because Mary Travers was so brutally attacked coming with her parents, precisely, from Mass. The sanctity of the moment at which her young life was so cruelly taken only gives the sin yet more depth. Mary McArdle has now described the killing of Mary Travers as a tragic mistake and has said that she regrets that it happened, yet her appointment has highlighted again the issue of coming to terms with the past in Northern Ireland.
Last Sunday, Denis Bradley and the Revd Lesley Carroll - of the former Consultative Group on the Past (CGP) - appeared on the BBC's Sunday Sequence programme. Lesley Carroll said that society had let the CGP's report “sit there” and plainly stated that if she were doing the CGP report again, she would not do anything differently. For his part, Mr Bradley said that increasingly people were now discussing the subject in a more “rational” manner.
Contrary to Lesley Carroll's view, society has not simply shelved the CGP report. It has rejected it. Nor was she correct to indicate that the CGP report has yet to be properly debated and that the debate which did take place was on the recognition payment proposal rather than the whole of the report.
In fact, the CGP report has been considered very carefully indeed, in its totality, by political parties, Churches and individual groups and people. The Northern Ireland Office ran a whole public consultation on it, and has published the results. Then again, for Mr Bradley to suggest that people had not been sufficiently rational in their consideration of the CGP report is simply an affront to the public. Both former CGP members came across on the programme rather as spoilt children who had not got their way. They should have paid more attention to the responses to the NIO's consultation on the CGP's recommendations and, indeed, to the “Advice to Government” of the Commission for Victims and Survivors in its Dealing with the Past document, upon which we commented very favourably in our issue of 9th July last year.
It is good that former terrorists have left violence behind and have embraced the peace process and democracy. Yet they should never expect people in the rest of society, who have been very magnanimous towards them, to accept that there was ever anything right, reasonable or justified about their acts of terror. We must strive for a reconciled and shared future that is not based on a disingenuous re-writing of history but on the values of decency, democracy and genuine concern for the welfare of every person.
UPDATE: A statement from the Gazette in relation to this Editorial can be found here (20/6/11)
Co. Armagh church celebrates 150th anniversary
Archbishop Alan Harper and the Revd Derek Dunn are pictured following the anniversary thanksgiving service in St Mary’s, Drumbanagher, with (from left) Richard McCabe, rector’s churchwarden; Joan Close; and Andrew Halliday, acting people’s churchwarden.
A service of thanksgiving was held recently in A St Mary's parish church, Drumbanagher, Diocese of Armagh, to mark the completion of an extensive programme of renovation and restoration.
The programme - which took place over a number of months - included the construction of a disabled access and extensive work on the church8s spire and exterior.
‘Prayer for our land' celebrates 20th anniversary
There will be a special day of prayer for Ireland - on the theme of "Revival - the real hope for this land"- in St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast, on Saturday 25th June, from 10.30am to 3.30pm.
In a press release to publicise the event, the organisers - the interdenominational Divine Healing Ministries - say that, in recent times, there has been much to encourage people in Ireland, citing in particular last month's visit of Queen Elizabeth to the Republic of Ireland, when "some political commentators were expressing amazement at how quickly the peace process has moved forward".
Archbishop of Dublin pays tribute to Brian Lenihan
The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, has expressed his sympathy to the Lenihan family on the death of the former Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan TD.
Dr Jackson said he wanted "to honour the courage of someone who battled gracefully and faithfully with cancer", adding that Mr Lenihan had done so "while neglecting none of his arduous and complex political duties".
Diocese of Down ordinations
The Revd Jack Kinkead and the Revd Lynne Gibson are pictured in St Finnian’s parish church, Cregagh, East Belfast, Diocese of Down, following their ordination to the priesthood, accompanied by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt Revd Harold Miller. (Photo: Bill Christie)
Community group unveils peaceline anti-racism mural
The Open Hands community group, set up by the former committee of St Luke's church, Belfast, Diocese of Connor, recently unveiled an anti-racism mural beside Belfast's "peaceline".
The group - based in St Luke's, in inner-city Belfast's Northumberland Street - was set up after the church closed for worship in 2006, following which parishioners joined with nearby St Stephen's, Millfield.
Wide variety of topics in latest issue of SEARCH
In a press release issued to publicise the summer edition of SEARCH - a Church of Ireland Journal, which is now available, the editor, Canon Ginnie Kennerley, speaks of the "fresh themes and new contributors" which it features.
In "Being in the Tomb of Domestic Violence", the author, Victoria J. Rollins explores the Church's response to intra-family violence, especially violence against women, and appeals for stronger and more compassionate engagement with its victims.
St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, appoints new Education Officer
St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, has recently announced the appointment of Andrew Staunton-Smith as Education Officer to spearhead its new education programme.
What will be Church's response to new civil partnership scenario asks Bishop Colton
The Bishop asked what would now be the Church's response, pastorally and liturgically, in this new Civil Partnership scenario?
Bishop Colton said: "We know that many gay people have been alienated or marginalised by their Churches over the years. If you while away some idle moments on a social forum such as Twitter, you will see the hurt, and sometimes the hostility too, towards the Churches".
New York exhibit examines ‘the Man of Sorrows’
An acclaimed exhibit ending a four-month run in New York City has given art lovers the chance to explore a single theme, Christ as the "Man of Sorrows", and the Venetian artistic tradition that gave it full flowering."Passion in Venice" Crivelli to Tintoretto and Veronese,, at the Museum of Biblical Art in Manhattan, has been a rare opportunity to see how the theme of Christ depicted between death and resurrection evolved throughout history.
PM rejects Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments
In a strongly-worded opinion piece in the 9th June issue of The New Statesman, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, took a stand against recent economic, criminal justice and healthcare reforms proposed by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Dr Williams, launching his broadside as guest editor of the weekly journal, said Britain's coalition government was forcing through "radical policies for which no one voted".
He questioned whether democratic legitimacy existed for flagship policies on welfare, health and education, which he said were causing "anxiety and anger'.
Egyptian Christians fearful of security situation
The security situation in Egypt has "deteriorated considerably" since former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11th February, leaving a security vacuum and Christians feeling "threatened more than ever," according to aid workers.
"Security is still not where it needs to be to give people a greater sense of personal safety. Undoubtedly, there has been an increase in the tensions between Muslims and Christians since Mubarak stepped down ... All Egyptians, not just [Coptic Christians], feel more insecure these days," said Jason Belanger of Catholic Relief.
Letters to the editor
‘Skype’ in worship
AT A RECENT family service in Kilmore parish church near Downpatrick, Canon Cecil Wilson surprised us all with an exciting development in our worship. When we arrived for the service, we noticed three, large-screen televisions strategically placed, so that everyone could see them.
Canon Wilson then announced during the service that the first lesson would be read by a young parishioner now living in Abu Dhabi. The television then came to life and, through the good offices of Skype - an Internet communication facility - we all saw our parishioner and her baby in their flat in Abu Dhabi. After telling the congregation about life in that country for a moment or so, she read the first lesson.
Later in the service, Canon Wilson contacted another young parishioner living and working in Bermuda and he and his wife talked for a moment or two and then he also gave us a reading.
Finally, instead of a sermon, the canon contacted a young parishioner at present doing voluntary work in Cambodia and she told us about her work, conditions in Cambodia and how Church services there differed from those at home.
Undoubtedly, Canon Wilson had put a great deal of work into this service and, as readers can imagine, the congregation was delighted with the contributions from members of the parish now working overseas; this was particularly so for the families of those young people involved.
I wonder if this is a first for the Church of Ireland or have other parishes experimented with Skype to bring together their scattered parishioners?
75 Belfast Road
Online benefit cuts survey (NI)
ADVICE NI is very concerned about the impact of welfare cuts on vulnerable, low-income households. In the current recession, even more people have become reliant on the social security system. Advice NI is keen to assess their everyday experiences of a system which has been subjected to very significant cuts.
In order to try and give low-income households a voice, Advice NI has developed an online survey aimed at people reliant upon the social security system.
It includes people needing help with their mortgage or rent, help with childcare costs, help because they are sick or disabled or generally finding it difficult to pay bills and make ends meet.
We would ask anyone who provides a service to, or knows of, anyone affected by the cuts to encourage them to log on and complete this survey.
All of the information we collect will be kept in the strictest confidence and used for research purposes only. A report will be produced with the aim of raising awareness of the impact of the welfare cuts on people in Northern Ireland .
Readers may go to www.adviceni.net to complete the survey.
Head of Policy, Advice NI
1 Rushfield Avenue
Changing Attitude Ireland
IN REPLY to Mr Holmes' letter (Gazette, 3rd June), my intention was to point out that Changing Attitude Ireland was telling one side of the story for its own political purposes. Second, I am not so naïve as to believe that all newspapers tell the truth or report facts accurately.
The two newspapers mentioned, the New Vision and the Daily Monitor, are pro- and anti-government dailies in Uganda and for both reports to be in agreement concerning the facts is a rarity.
Applying Mr Holmes' criterion of naïvete, I would ask him to apply the same to the BBC documentary, which I found to be biased, unrepresentative of Uganda and of containing a deliberate deception by the commentator when interviewing people - issues which I have raised with the BBC on more than one occasion.
As to the Bill before the Ugandan parliament, it was a private member's bill and not a government-sanctioned bill. Many of the Churches in Uganda have worked behind the scenes in order for the death penalty to be removed, but neither the BBC nor Changing Attitude made any reference to this. Could it be because it did not suit their purposes?
As to my own agenda, I believe in the area of human sexuality that God's created order is for sexual intercourse to be between a man and woman within the context of heterosexual marriage. This I believe to be according to the teaching of the Bible, prayer Book and the Church catholic.
I think that is an acceptable agenda to have and to seek to promote as an ordained clergyman within the Church of Ireland.
Alan McCann (The Revd)
20 Meadow Hill Close
Focus on the BCP 2004 Commentaries
Promoting an understanding of the Church’s liturgical heritage
Paul Harron, the Church of Ireland Press Officer, talks to Canon Michael Kennedy about his online set of resources, The Book of Common Prayer 2004 - Commentaries, which was officially launched by Archbishop Alan Harper at May’s General Synod in Armagh.
The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Alan Harper (right), presents Canon Michael Kennedy with a special personalised copy of The Book of Common Prayer 2004 - Commentaries to mark its launch during May’s General Synod in Armagh. The Commentaries are not available in book form; they are only available online.
Canon Michael Kennedy has spent Call his 48 years of ordained ministry in the Diocese of Armagh; he has been rector of Lisnadill and Kildarton since 1966; diocesan warden of lay readers since 1974; and a member of the Liturgical Advisory Committee since 1986.
His The Book of Common Prayer 2004 - Commentaries are only available online at the worship resources section of: www.ireland.anglican.org/bcp/commentaries
PH: What is the intention of the Commentaries?/p>
MMK: I wanted to provide the fullest possible information to those who wished to know more about Church of Ireland liturgies - especially those engaged in liturgical studies - about the provenance, rationale, contents and use of all the authorized services. These comprise the services traditional and modern to be found in the 2004 edition of The Book of Common Prayer (BCP), additional orders of service which have been produced since and several forms which are still fully authorized, although there was no room for them in the BCP itself.
Down in St. David's
Bishop Priscilla was experiencing a busy June. There were two ordinands to be made deacons on Trinity Sunday; the following Saturday, she had to be in Nevada for her marriage to Terrence; and this evening, St David's new rector was throwing a barbecue at the newly-renovated rectory for the parish to say farewell to Terrence and to present to Terrence and herself a small wedding gift.
Then her new Archdeacon's girl-friend, Alessia, had recommended her to check out some great Lady Moriarty pieces in The American Apparel store in Dublin. Her wedding outfit was inspired by clothes still so elegantly worn by the now 64-year-old catwalk queen of the late 1960s, Marisa Berenson, and hinted at in some charming numbers in Topshop Unique.
Reintroducing the Church
I cannot help but notice the huge irony of what we are witnessing in Irish society at the moment. We are in the early days of the election cycle that will lead to the election of a new President of Ireland. One of the candidates, incidentally, a member of the Church of Ireland - but this is not especially relevant or unusual - is having his reputation and character vilified on a daily basis in the newspapers and on radio and TV. By the time this column appears, he may well have thrown in the towel, such is the vile nature of the accusations and innuendo being thrown at him.
‘God is wild’
It isn't easy to grapple with the concept of the Trinity and I'm Inot sure that everyone finds the Collect of Trinity Sunday helpful. We pray for grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity!.
So it shouldn't be a surprise if people ask for something simpler, but then a problem arises. If we opt for a "god" we can wrap our finite minds round in order to keep us comfortable, we end up with a very small deity: one who reflects us (rather than vice versa - see Genesis 1: 26) and whom we are as likely to end up hating as loving.
Lord, hear our Prayer author: Jenny Child Publisher: The Columba Press; pp128
People of the Book? The authority of the Bible in Christianity author: John Barton Publisher: SPCK
The Compact Guide To Christian History author: Stephen Backhouse Publisher: Lion; pp208
ASPIRATIONS FOR IRELAND: New ways Forward Author: Susannah Kingston (ed.) Publisher: The Columba Press
JUST FORGIVENESS - EXPLORING THE BIBLE, WEIGHING THE ISSUES Author: Anthny Bash Publisher: SPCK; pp162
New dean looks forward to donning ‘black garb of clerical Santa’
Canon John Mann, rector of St John's, Malone, Belfast, has spoken of the "deep privilege and responsibility" of office following his appointment as Dean of Belfast Cathedral, in succession to the Very Revd Dr Houston McKelvey who retired at the end of March.
Canon Mann, who is 56 and was born in Blackheath, London, went on to speak of the "years of change and development and a great deal of suffering and division" which Belfast had experienced since he arrived in the city as an undergraduate in 1973.
Presbyterian leaders thankful for resolution of PMS crisis
Addressing over 1,200 delegates
and invited guests - including the newly-elected Lord Mayor of
Belfast, Cllr Niall Ó Donnghaile - at the recent opening of the
Presbyterian General Assembly in Church House, Belfast, both the
outgoing and incoming Moderators spoke of their gratefulness for
the resolution of the Presbyterian Mutual Society crisis.