Mission is the calling of every Christian – Dr Richard Clarke, next Archbishop of Armagh
The Most Revd Richard Clarke, who was elected last week by the House of Bishops as the next Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, told the Gazette at a press conference in Belfast Cathedral, on the occasion of the announcement of his election, that he saw the mission of the Church in terms of it resting “in the hands of all the people of God”.
Individual Christians’ lives should mirror the “light of the Gospel, bringing Christ into every part of life”, he said.
A NEW PRIMATE, A NEW LEAD
The election last week of the Bishop of Meath and Kildare, Dr Richard Clarke, as the next Archbishop of Armagh comes at a time when the Church faces many challenges, some of them very difficult in their own ways. However, as Archbishop Rowan Williams said last week during open discussion after delivering the Theos annual lecture in London, there has never been a “golden age” in the history of the Church, when it has been free of difficulties. Perhaps there is consolation in recognising that fact, but certainly it must not give rise to any sense of complaceny or a feeling that things resolve themselves. They don’t.
If time is a healer, it is only because things happen over time: events take place, matters are discussed, new approaches are discovered to be right, or wrong. It all takes time and the Church is well known for taking its time. It is wise to take time, because time allows perspective to be fully gained and learning to mature. In fact, one of the lessons of history is that often the passing of time allows new circumstances to arise that really do impact on particular issues. We should be thankful for time for many reasons, of course, but not least because, by God’s grace, it brings endless – and often unexpected – possibilities.
The Church can help the community, in either part of Ireland, to make things brighter, to build a better future in which there is not only greater prosperity but, even more importantly, in which there is more mutual regard, more acceptance of one another. The Church can do this because at the heart of the Christian faith lies a trust in the God who loves and accepts all people, the God who reaches out all the time, seeking our faithful return to him.
As the Church of Ireland looks forward to the enthronement of the new Primate of All Ireland on 15th December, it prepares to turn a page and commence a new chapter in its history over a long period of time. Every leader on the Hill of Armagh in that history of more than 1,500 years since the time of St Patrick will have brought distinctive approaches, perspectives and emphases; if it were not so, a change of leader would have little meaning. For this reason, the Church must be ready, when the time comes, actually to take a new lead from its new Primate.
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Letters to the Editor
Pastoral Reconciliation and Mediation Sub-Committee
I was very interested to read, in the 28th September Gazette’s Standing Committee News report, about the work of the Pastoral Reconciliation and Mediation Sub-Committee.
As one who has gone through the awful process of the official complaints procedure at considerable pain mentally and spiritually, and expense financially (€1,000 as required for a complaint to be processed), I would like to hope that the experience of those who have actually gone through this would be taken into consideration by the sub-committee.
As this is a very lonely road to travel and live with every day, I would like to hear from any other person who has gone through the complaints procedure, or am I the only one?
Lilian Webb (Mrs) 66 Roseville Naas Co. Kildare
I was very pleased to see the subject of ethical investment raised in the Gazette during September.
Much of the time, it is easier for savers or investors like me and other readers not to bother how our money is used by banks or investment companies; it is one more headache that we could do without. Yet we know we should bother.
May I add my support to Robert Cochran’s comments in his article by commending the Co-operative Bank as an ethical alternative to other high street banks.
It is quite easy to manage accounts on the phone or online, so the lack of branches is no problem. It is also consistently top of the ratings for customer satisfaction among clearing banks.
Although, as Mr Cochran writes, many mutuals have disappeared thanks to the greed of the windfall-seekers in the ’90s, there are some among those that remain which are scrupulous about their investing. The Ecology Building Society is one, Family Investments is another, and Ecclesiastical has its Amity fund for individuals or for Churches.
John Rutter (The Revd) 30 Crumlin Road Glenavy Co. Antrim BT29 4LG
Election of Bishop Clarke to Armagh
The Committee of Changing Attitude Ireland would like to congratulate the Most Revd Richard Clarke on his appointment as Archbishop of Armagh and to extend our good wishes for his time in office.
His expertise and sensitivity in the area of inter-church relations and ecumenical theology can be of great service to the Church and to the country as a whole at this difficult time.
Our particular hope is that, as Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Clarke will engage with the Church’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members to the end of making the Church a genuinely inclusive place for LGBT persons.
The exclusion of openly gay and lesbian individuals from entering the ordained ministry and their exclusion in some parishes from Holy Communion are injustices in the Church which need to be urgently addressed by the new Archbishop and his colleagues, and indeed by the whole Church.
LGBT members of the Church are available to meet with the Archbishop to discuss how the Church can address these issues.
Charles Kenny (Canon) Hon. Sec., Changing Attitude Ireland Ginnie Kennerley (Canon) Chair, Changing Attitude Ireland 9-13 Waring Street Belfast BT1 2DK
Features and Columns
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