COI Gazette – 10 August 2018

What we leave behind

(Photo: Wikimedia)

(Photo: Wikimedia)

A quick look at the statistics for plastic pollution is sobering.

  • Every year the world uses 500 billion plastic bags;
  • Each year, at least eight million tons of plastic end up in the oceans, the equivalent of a full rubbish truck every minute;
  • In the last decade, we produced more plastic than in the whole last century;
  • 50% of the plastic we use is single-use or disposable;
  • We buy one million plastic bottles every minute;
  • Plastic makes up 10% of all of the waste we generate.

Supermarkets love it. Environmentalists hate it…


 

Editorial

FEEL THE FEAR AND …

The book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffries does what it says on the tin. It reminds the reader that we all face uncomfortable situations in our lives – times when we are thrust out of our comfort zone.

Jeffries was making the point that fear, in and of itself, should not be a reason for taking or not taking a particular course of action. Sometimes we just need to feel the fear and do it anyway. If Christopher Columbus had let fear dominate he would never have left the familiar shores of Europe to discover a new world. If fear dictated every action then nothing new would ever be discovered.

The world seems like a more uncertain place than it used to be – whether or not we have religious beliefs. So, what are we to do in times of uncertainty?

In 1987 Terry Waite was taken captive in Beirut. He was held for five years. The Sun newspaper asked him to reflect on his experience. He said: “When you are first taken hostage you are initially surprised, bewildered and angry. Then you expect the whole thing to be over in a few days. When it goes to a week or so, you begin to wonder. But after a while you learn to live a day at a time. That is the only way you can do it. You do not project too far into the future, you live for that day and hope you are going to survive.

“The great thing is to keep hope alive. You discover you have got resources you did not know you had. It is as though there are inner resources waiting to be utilised, which strengthen you … my message is ‘maintain hope’.” (The Sun ‘Hostages must keep hope alive’, 30th May 2008. Source: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/ homepage/news/1225163/Hostages-must- keep-hope-alive-Terry-Waite.html)

In changing times ‘hope’ is an important word for any leader – religious, political or otherwise.

The very nature of faith in Christ means that we believe there are still new chapters to be written on this island. We are reminded of the words of Mark Twain, who wrote in 1897, “The report of my death was an exaggeration” after reading his obituary in a newspaper.

Skip Prichard says: “Napoleon Bonaparte once said, ‘A leader is a dealer in hope.’ When I think of inspirational leaders, I can honestly say Napoleon was right. We admire people who plant the seeds of hope. We gladly follow the leader who is able to awaken a sense of expectation inside of us. And, whether we lead at home or at work, hope is an essential element of success.”

Leadership that enables people to discover that they have resources they did not know they had is inspirational. Leadership that can inspire hope in people is truly worth valuing.

Adapted from ‘The Extra Mile’ (Storey & Miller).


 

Home News

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  • SPARKs flying in Garvagh
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  • Mission focus: Crosslinks Ireland
  • Volunteers needed for World War I art installation
  • Youth Update : Who inspires you?
  • News from Eco-Congregation Ireland
  • New editor of Cork, Cloyne and Ross diocesan magazine

 

Kaleidoscope

  • Rethinking Church – Stephen Neill – With or without rain, God still reigns!
  • Life lines – Ron Elsdon – The demonisation of GAFCON

 

World News

  • Multiracial churches increase as people learn to worship together
  • Church protest at Trump’s immigration policy
  • Reconciliation is doing ‘with’, not ‘for’
  • Malaysian delegation lead intentional discipleship week in Lichfield diocese

 

Letters to the editor

GAFCON

“WHAT ARE the positives of being Anglican?” – or something similar – was the title of an interactive seminar I attended almost 20 years ago in a Church of Ireland church.

As a 20-something who grew up in the Republic of Ireland and had been conscious of how ‘Anglican’ sounded quite English, I was sceptical.

I appreciated our theological distinctives but that night there was one benefit, which had not registered before and that stuck with me – that through Anglican structures, we were in tangible communion with Christian brothers and sisters from all over the world.

I saw this worked out in financial and missionary partnerships between my church and an African diocese.

While I learned a little more that night about what it meant to be a ‘world Christian’, I confess that it did not really hit home … until recently when I met Anglicans from all over the world, thanks to my experience at the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem. I had memorable conversations and times of prayer with Anglican brothers and sisters from Nigeria, Uganda, Fiji, New Zealand, Canada and Chile, to name a few.

As a lay person, our prayer group included a bishop from Madagascar and a Ugandan cleric serving in youth and children’s ministry in the country with the second youngest population in the world.

In turn, they prayed for Ireland and the ministry of my church in Dublin. We prayed that the Good News of the Lord Jesus would be faithfully proclaimed in our contexts and countries. We prayed for those in our countries who have rejected or who have not yet heard this life-giving message. We prayed: “May your kingdom come.”

In those prayer times I experienced a positive of being an Anglican which, until then, I had only known in theory. I have been spurred on to share this Good News of God’s redeeming love with those whom God brings in my path, and I am more meaningfully able to pray: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among the nations” (Psalm 67:1,2).

Ruth Bridcut

Blanchardstown Dublin

IT WAS with sadness that I read Canon Ronnie Clarke’s letter to the Gazette regarding GAFCON Ireland published on 6th July. His understanding of what GAFCON is and what it stands for is an unfortunate misunderstanding and does not represent what I believe is the core message of GAFCON.

The source of our shared belief as Anglicans is the Bible. We believe that the Bible is God’s true word and contains all that is necessary for salvation. The Bible teaches us that the only sure way to salvation is through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His victory over death; this is the only way we have eternal life after death!

As a Church of Ireland layperson I am proud of our Anglican heritage and tradition. I therefore attended both the GAFCON Ireland launch in Belfast earlier in the year and GAFCON’s international conference in Jerusalem in June. At GAFCON Jerusalem the Bible was at the centre and each morning started with an exposition of the last chapters in Luke’s Gospel, the death and resurrection of Jesus.

As far as I understand it, this is the central theme of GAFCON – to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations. As one of the speakers said, “this is a matter of life and death.” As such, we cannot be passive Christians but must tirelessly work to try to spread the Gospel to our unbelieving neighbours.

As we believe that the Bible is God’s word, it is imperative that we stand firm in the message proclaimed through his word. When doing so we use Tradition and Reason, however, this is Tradition and Reason within the confines of the message. As the Bible is fully the word of God, no part of the message can be ignored, but rather it must be embraced in full!

In wanting to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations, that is exactly what GAFCON does. Indeed, being a global movement, GAFCON brings together Bible believing Anglicans from across the world.

At the GAFCON conference Jerusalem in June, I took great encouragement from being able to share the Good News in discussion, communion and prayer with Anglicans – both laity and ordained – from many traditions, languages and nations. What a powerful thing it is to pray with brothers and sisters from around the globe!

There is nothing to fear from GAFCON. Rather, it is a movement firmly grounded in orthodox Christianity and full of encouragement for all believers. Let us take up the challenge offered at the June conference and proclaim Christ faithfully to our nation!

Tomas Adell (Dr)

Dundonald Belfast

REVD RUPERT MORETON (Gazette, 29th June 2018) claims that GAFCON is guilty of heresy, but provides no evidence at all to back this serious allegation.

Can he quote even one passage from a GAFCON statement and show how it is contrary to Scripture or to any of the Three Creeds or any of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion? If he cannot do so, he should withdraw his accusation against that movement.

He does accuse them of ‘Donatism’, but that movement in the early Church was more about questions of Church discipline rather than far more serious issues of right or wrong doctrine.

May I suggest that his concern is not about any departure from the historic doctrines of the Anglican faith but rather concerns GAFCON’s opposition to modern ‘political correctness’ and theological liberalism. This cannot be described as “heresy”!

He uses the term “homophobia”: this seems a right ‘give away’. Making emotionally charged accusations is a common tactic of the ‘politically correct’ to shut down reasoned debate and avoid the real issues raised about any matter – not just homosexuality. The real issues include (1) What does Scripture say about sin? (2) Has not the Church a continuing right and duty to lovingly call sinners to repentance – as Christ did? (3) What does Scripture say about the fate of unrepentant sinners of every kind? (4) Does Scripture teach that homosexual actions are sinful? (5) If so, how should the Church lovingly call active homosexuals to repentance and assist them in turning their backs on their sinful lifestyle?

R. Seathrún Mac Éin

Dublin

YOUR EDITORIAL’S appeal (Gazette, 29th June 2018) for eirenicism in response to GAFCON’s predations is misplaced. Christ trashed the Temple of our pharisaism, and waits with the tenth leper at its gates.

As long as our concern is with the peace of an institution, how it is governed and by whom, we are merely shoring up the Temple’s walls. And God’s children seeking justice continue to cry “How long?”

Rupert Moreton (Revd), Joensuu Finland

General Synod representation

DURING THE Troubles, we spent our summer holidays over the border in the Republic with tent, caravan or leased a cottage.

Every Sunday we worshiped in the nearest Church of Ireland parish. The congregations were small, the reedy voices bumped- up with the hymns on recorded tapes. Rectors had to drive many miles to conduct services in other churches. We were always met with a warm welcome and ‘gathered together in his name’.

Partition over the years has made the south and north in many ways different. But now the southern part of the Church is living in a new country. They have voted for same-sex marriage and abortion up to 12 weeks, and in the north many Protestant and Roman Catholics are horrified by the changes in the Republic.

If I had been in the south I would have voted ‘Yes’ twice. However, as a member of the synod of Down and Dromore, I am in the ‘No’ lobby, although I have never been asked.

There are 375,000 members of the Church of Ireland – 249,000 in the north of Ireland and 125,400 in the Republic. This year a northern group, without warning, presented to the General Synod a bill to reduce the number of members of said Synod. This bill would result in the northern dioceses having a majority over those in the south.

Since Socrates, there has been a serious weakness in democracy – the tyranny of the majority. John Locke, Edmund Burke and Baron Montesquieu saw the solution in the ‘Separation of Powers’.

Jefferson and Hamilton put the cure into the American Constitution. The constitution of the Church of Ireland – by accident or sloth – has allowed the south more seats than their due on the General Synod, but those extra seats are still meliorating a crude majority.

We must be careful that this bill will not end up in an open chasm in the Church of Ireland itself.

Long live the little churches “were two and three are gathered together in his name.”
Robin Glendinning Killinchy Kilmood

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Bethany Home

LITTLE DID I know, as a child attending Christ Church Leeson Park, that the Church of Ireland did not treat all their members equally. Three times on a Sunday and Sunday School. My home was just around the corner, at Northbrook Road.

Yes, Miss Carr’s Children’s’ Home – a place of refuge and love. Not for us the horrors of places like the Bethany Home.

What part of the problem, as laid out by Derek Linister, do the archbishops find hard to solve? Is it because they feel that they have no responsibility? Do they feel that the Church has committed no wrongs in the matter? Could it be that the likes of Derek Linster are making their stories up and therefore deserve no action?

They seem to be rendering onto Caesar, by passing the buck to the government, in a different manner to the good Lord. Now is the time to level the sloped shoulders and act as Christian leaders, in thoughts and deeds. Put the meaningless apologies back in their political drawer and get on with the job!

It might help if the Bethany Home survivors were to be treated in the manner of leaking church roofs.

The inaction of the archbishops fills me with disgust.
John Thompson

Wigan Greater Manchester

WE WERE very grateful to read the Bethany Home letter in the Gazette (13th July 2018). It gave us a great sense of belief and hope that, after all these years, maybe people are starting to listen to us.

Being receptive to our truly awful experience in the Bethany Home instills in us a sense of pride.

Doors are now opening to hear witness to our pain and hurt after many years of suffering in silence.

A big thank you to the Gazette.

Joyce McSharry

Kinsealy Co. Dublin


 

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