Bishop of Central Tanganyika visits Northern Ireland for World Leprosy Day service
On Sunday 31st January, Bishop Dickson Chilongani of the Diocese of Central Tanganyika, Tanzania, was the guest preacher at The Leprosy Mission Northern Ireland (TLM NI) World Leprosy Day service at Lisburn Cathedral.
Bishop Chilongani reminded those present that, despite the helplessness experienced by many, even today, who suffer from leprosy, there is hope.
Speaking on a passage in II Kings 5, he recounted how Naaman, a powerful man and leader of the Syrian army, was rendered helpless by the disease of leprosy.
Naaman had sought healing and found it by following the instruction of the prophet Elisha, who told him to dip in the Jordan river seven times. Despite being helpless, Naaman had found hope and healing.
FIGURES IN CHURCH HISTORY – 50 GEORGE BERKELEY (1685-1753)
George Berkeley, after whom a famous university in America is named, was arguably the most brilliant in the pantheon of 17th- and 18th-century Anglican divines. Such is the enduring fame of his philosophical writings that the late Professor A.A. Luce of Trinity College Dublin devoted much of his academic life to expounding the teaching of the one he clearly regarded as the Master.
Berkeley was a son of the Church of Ireland, educated at Kilkenny College and Trinity College (where he became a Fellow). Like other academics of his day he was ordained to the Church’s ministry, as deacon in 1709 and priest in 1710. He was later, following the completion of his time in Trinity, Dean of Derry, and, 10 years later, became Bishop of Cloyne, where he was an exemplary figure committed in a manner far ahead of his time to the well-being of both Protestants and Roman Catholics.
From an early stage, Berkeley became well known for his philosophical writings, some of his work being reviewed by his famous continental contemporary Leibniz. On a visit to London in 1713 he was presented at court by Jonathan Swift and knew a wide range of accomplished people, including Joseph Addison, the essayist and poet, and Alexander Pope who credited him with “ev’ry virtue under heav’n”.
Berkeley was one of the pioneers of Anglican missionary endeavour, although a venture in attempting to set up a college in Bermuda for the education of young Americans (Indians) came to
nothing through a lack of funding. He spent some time in America with his wife, Anne, and the infant Universities of Harvard and Yale benefited from his gift of books. Returning to London in 1731, he resumed his writings which he continued to produce during his time as a bishop. He died in Oxford in 1753 and is buried in Christ Church chapel.
Berkeley’s philosophical ideas, to which the term ‘subjective idealism’ has been attached, are not easy to grasp but have been summarised as follows: he held that when we affirm material things to be real, we mean no more than that they are perceived. Material objects, in his view, continue to exist when not perceived by us solely because they are objects of the thought of God. He combined his speculations with a firm commitment to the Christian faith he professed and defended belief in God against atheist attacks.
George Berkeley was no mere ivory tower theoretician but wrote about economic and social issues related to Ireland and even proposed monetary reform. His enquiring mind is shown in his publication entitled An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision, which is about the perception of distance, magnitude and figure. Two of his most famous books are his Principles of Human Knowledge and his Three Dialogues.
This editorial is one in a series of occasional reflections on figures in Church history, following a chronological sequence as they appear.
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Letters to the Editor
The Church and civil same-sex marriage
LAMBETH 1998 resolution I.10 “while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” called on “all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation”.
The Gazette editorial (29th January) proposes “a specific pastoral ministry” which would “recognise that couples in civil same-sex marriages have entered into that relationship in a wholly conscientious manner”.
This ministry would involve “recognising” specifically the conscientiousness of two people entering a relationship rejected by the Lambeth bishops, which involves the redefinition of marriage, while the Church tries to maintain the traditional definition.
At a public meeting last October, I put it to the Bishop of Cashel that if marriage no longer needed two sexes it no longer need be limited to two people. Indeed, the ‘third person’ might be the biological mother of two gay men’s child; why should the mother not be allowed to marry the father? He said that this would present him with “a difficulty”, but didn’t appear to have thought it through.
And are we going to assist those who would use same- sex marriage as a weapon to destroy marriage? At the 2012 Sydney Writers’ Festival, lesbian activist Masha Gessen said: “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there … I have three kids, who have five parents (more or less) … and I don’t see why … we should choose two of those parents and make them into a sanctioned couple.” The audience’s loud applause shows she is not a voice crying in the wilderness.
The State may choose to build its house on sand. The Church must not.
Dermot O’Callaghan Hillsborough Co. Down BT26
The Church of Ireland on RTÉ
I WISH to advise your readers that I have been appointed to the role of Co-ordinator of Church of Ireland Broadcast Worship services provided to RTÉ.
This follows the stepping down of the Very Revd Tom Gordon, Dean of Leighlin, after 16 years as co-ordinator of religious programmes involving the Protestant Churches.
I am a current member of the Liturgical Advisory Committee, Hon. Secretary of Church Music Dublin and a church musician.
Religious broadcasting offers parishes and communities the opportunity to share worship with a wider congregation, making it possible for those who are ill and/or housebound to ‘attend church’.
It is also possible to access previous services on the RTÉ website, which is helpful to those who have work commitments on Sunday mornings.
Plans are already in place for some of the dates on offer in 2016. However, if any parish/ community would like to take part either this year or in the year ahead, my contact details are below.
Jacqueline Mullen Ballinteer Dublin 16 email: email@example.com
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