‘Great strength of diversity’ stressed at Dublin City Interfaith Forum launch of guide on visiting ‘sacred spaces’
In the face of reports of xenophobic messages and a spate of racist incidents in Dublin, the Dublin City Interfaith Forum recently launched a new booklet aimed at facilitating the breaking down of the assumptions, lack of knowledge and consequent fear that often underlie prejudice and racism.
Come and See is a guide informing people of what to expect when visiting the many diverse ‘sacred spaces’ in Dublin, making it easier for people of different religious and cultural backgrounds to meet in the context of their own sacred spaces.
Launching the guide at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle, Eileen Dunne, the RTÉ News presenter, said that Dublin had been, for some time now, “a place of diversity, a place where religions, cultures and people meet and interact, constituting our new identity”.
Throughout the year, The Church of Ireland Gazette is distributed around Ireland and representatives in parishes collect their bundles from newsagents and set them out in churches for subscribers to collect.
Some subscribers purchase the Gazette in newsagents’ shops, some receive it by post and others read our e-paper online. Yet others receive their Gazette ‘passed on’ and, while those who purchase the paper are, of course, free to do this, we would respectfully suggest to those who receive the Gazette in this way, and enjoy it, that they consider taking out a subscription. However, most receive their Gazette because of the work of parish Gazette representatives. We take this opportunity of thanking those individuals across Ireland for their careful efforts. We are updating our records of representatives and a return form may be found on page 15.
Owned by a company, The Church of Ireland Press Limited, the Gazette operates without subvention from the central Church, although, in earlier years, we received some monies from the Priorities Fund to cover the differential in the cost of distribution in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and thereby to maintain an equivalent cover price (distribution in the Republic being more expensive due to EU postage rates). We now cover this differential ourselves, with as approximate a pence/cent price equivalence as possible on an annual basis. Postal subscriptions direct to home addresses have always been considerably more expensive for subscribers in the Republic, again due to EU postage rates.
We also take this opportunity of expressing our thanks to the Church of Ireland Press Office and the Diocesan Communications Officers for unfailing courtesy and cooperation. None of this is taken for granted, especially in light of our editorial independence.
We are a Christian newspaper and the company’s Articles of Association bind us to the doctrine of the Church of Ireland. We always take that responsibility very seriously indeed. Naturally, as a newspaper, we have to have our own views on current issues and these are expressed in our ‘Gazette View’ editorials. Inevitably, some readers will take different views to ours from time to time, but actual mistakes of substance, when identified, are appropriately corrected in a subsequent issue.
The Gazette was established in 1856 as the monthly Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette and in 1900 became The Church of Ireland Gazette, publishing weekly, except for one week in the summer and one in the winter, due to printers’ holidays; one of those weeks is coming up now. However, ultimately, the long history of the Gazette is not down to us, but is down to you, our readers – so thank you indeed for taking the Gazette.
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Letters to the Editor
Girl Guides drop Promise reference to God
What are we to make of the Girl Guides’ decision to drop any reference to God from their Promise?
It may be early days yet, but there are profound implications for the spiritual life of young people.
This devoid and dangerous replacement promise to be ‘true to myself’ is the very antithesis of the Christian message – not to seek want God wants, not to turn away from a sinful human nature, but to be ‘true to it’.
Being ‘true to yourself’ is one of those bland, greetingcard sentiments that might roll easily off the tongue but has deep consequences for those who start to believe it.
Parents should be under no illusion: the beating heart of Guiding has been replaced from a focus on God and others (a reflection of the greatest commandments) to a focus on the self and then others. A simple swap to place ourselves higher than God and, of course, this is at the heart of every sin.
So, perhaps many people didn’t want to make a promise to God, but it seems that in the interest of so-called ‘inclusion’, the choice of those who do want to is now gone.
To ask children now to make a promise to be true to themselves first is a sinister undermining of altruism and authority in the formation of young girls. Will not the excuse, ‘I’m just being true to myself’, become the byline for the many challenges a teenager has against parental authority and a need to change and develop? What of the implications for the Church of Ireland? Many parishes host Guide, Brownie and Rainbow groups and form their leadership. We now find ourselves in partnership with a secular organisation – changed against our will.
Do we continue to support an organisation whose Promise now undermines the place of God, the Church and parental authority in our children’s lives? It is a heart-wrenching decision. I write this as one with many happy years involvement as a Scout and Scout leader, but it is a decision that we are forced to make.
It is now time for us to think and pray about removing our support from this organisation – as leaders, parents and parishes; to say ‘thank you’ for the wonderful partnership we have had together, but now to seek other uniformed options that will promote the spiritual as well as social development of young girls.
Our children deserve no less.
Andrew Brannigan Ballyclare Co. Antrim
St Columba’s voyage to Iona remembered
As was reported in the Gazette last month (28th June), events were held in 1963 in Derry and Raphoe to mark the 14th centenary of St Columba’s voyage to Iona, a voyage which was to be the beginning of the re-evangelisation of Europe after the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
One of the main events was the great Ecumenical Open-Air Service at Gartan, the birthplace of St Columba, at Pentecost, Sunday 2nd June, attended by 9,000 people. The preacher was the Most Revd James McCann, Archbishop of Armagh.
On Tuesday 4th June 1963, the curragh set sail for Iona, rowed by 13 men, echoing Columba and his 12 companions.
On Friday 7th June, there was a National Service of Thanksgiving in St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry, at which the preacher was the Most Revd Donald Coggan, Archbishop of York. On Sunday 9th June, the Most Revd Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, preached in St Columb’s Cathedral.
One of the numerous other events was a Pageant about the life of St Columba, performed in the grounds of the Castle at Raphoe on 1st June 1963. There were other services in Derry and Raphoe Cathedrals, attended by Church leaders from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The other main event of the celebrations was the pilgrimage to Iona.
Pilgrims went on a specially chartered ship, the Devonia, from Belfast. They were there to see the arrival of the curragh at Martyrs’ Bay on Iona on Tuesday 11th June. Following this was the great service in Iona Abbey, at which the special preacher was my late father, the Ven. Louis W. Crooks, rector of Conwall Union with Gartan.
The idea of commemorating and celebrating the 14th centenary of Columba’s journey to Iona was conceived some years earlier by my father, who obtained the support of the Bishop, Charles J. Tyndall, and the Diocesan Council – and planning began. My father received the full support of the other clergy and of his parishioners.
It was a long, hot summer, and many were involved, locally, nationally and internationally. The whole project was enormously successful and immensely satisfying for all who were involved. It was a triumph for the Dioceses and people of Derry and Raphoe and the parish of Gartan.
David W. T. Crooks (Canon) Taughboyne Rectory Churchtown Carrigans Co. Donegal
Church of Ireland/Methodist interchangeability of ministries
In rep ly to Mr C.D.C Armstrong (Letters, 5th July), it is, of course, common ground that Archbishop John Bramhall re-ordained Presbyterian ministers – as did also Bishop Jeremy Taylor – and it was precisely in that context that, as mentioned in my original letter (7th June), he affirmed that, in so doing, he was not questioning the reality of their previous ministries.
Bramhall explained that, unless they accepted episcopal ordination, it would be impossible for them to retain their benefices and minister within the (re-established) Church of Ireland.
His opinion was theologically significant, as was that of other firm upholders of episcopacy in the 17th century. He quoted with approval the view of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, who said: “Nevertheless, if our form (viz. episcopacy) be of Divine right, it doth not follow from thence that there is no salvation without it, or that a Church cannot consist without it. He is blind who does not see Churches consisting without it; he is hard-hearted who denieth them salvation.”
In this, both Bramhall and Andrewes were in agreement with Richard Hooker (c.1554- 1600) who had said: “ … we are not simply without exception to urge a lineal descent of power from the apostles by continued succession of bishops in every effectual ordination.”
Also, Archbishop James Ussher (158l-1656) testified his willingness to receive communion at the hands of Dutch ministers if in Holland, as he would at the hands of French ministers if in Charentone, for he loved and honoured these foreign reformed Churches “as true members of the Church Universal”.
Furthermore, John Cosin (1594-1672), another of the alltime ‘greats’ of the Anglican tradition, said: “I conceive that the power of ordination was restrained to bishops, rather by apostolical practice, and the perpetual custom and canons of the Church, than by any absolute precept, that either Christ or his apostles gave about it.”
All of the eminent Churchmen cited above were among the strongest possible upholders of episcopacy and those who were bishops used the prescribed form of ordination in the Prayer Book, but differed from those who felt that there could not be a Church or a ministry without it.
This latter point does have a bearing, theologically speaking, on current developments.
Michael Kennedy (Canon) Lisnadill Rectory —
Features and Columns
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