COI Gazette – 13th April 2018

Commemorations and Reconciliation Project announced

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald; the Lady Mayoress, Georgina Fitzgerald; CEO of Cork City Council, Ann Doherty; and City Councillors with Bishop Paul Colton outside St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, following the St Patrick’s Day Civic Service. (Photo: David Barry)

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald; the Lady Mayoress, Georgina Fitzgerald; CEO of Cork City Council, Ann Doherty; and City Councillors with Bishop Paul Colton outside St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, following the St Patrick’s Day Civic Service. (Photo: David Barry)

The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross has addressed the challenge and opportunity in historic commemorations.

He did so in a sermon preached at St Patrick’s Day Civic Service in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork. In his sermon, the bishop posed a question – what is the role of the Church and of Christians in these commemorations?

Highlighting the personal nature of commemoration for many, Bishop Colton said: “On these St Patrick’s Days in recent years, which correspond to significant centenaries in our history, I have taken, each year since 2014, a human starting – personal or local – as a springboard to our reflection about ourselves in contemporary Ireland: the First World War, the Easter Rising and the Somme.

“In the year since we last gathered here to mark our national saint on this day 100 years ago, my own grandmother would have received the news – during the winter past – that her husband of less than one year had been killed in action.”




The Church of Ireland General Synod is just around the corner, meeting in Armagh from 10th-12th May. It represents a valuable gift of time and expense by its members, who will travel from all corners of this island. It also represents a significant financial investment by the Church of Ireland, as well as of time by those who organise it.

There is a total membership of 648 on General Synod, including bishops, clerical and lay. The primary purpose of the Synod is to enact legislation for the whole Church of Ireland. Amongst its other business, the Synod also receives reports from various Committees and Boards, which are debated by its members. Committees of the Synod are normally elected by the Synod for a three-year term of office.

In the report The Church of Ireland – Apologetic for Mission?, one interviewee suggested “… an underlying mood for General Synod and denominational structures to be more focused, efficient and goal-driven” (

Jaci Maraschin, a Brazilian theologian, says, “one of the characteristic and fundamental missionary tasks of the Church is to examine and review its structures to see that they continue to remain suitable for mission” (Towards Dynamic Mission: Renewing the Church for mission, p.9).

The 1988 Lambeth Conference called on the Anglican Communion to “shift to a dynamic missionary emphasis going beyond care and nurture to proclamation and service”. The Conference went on to acknowledge that such a call presents a challenge to congregational and diocesan structures and to existing patterns of worship and ministry. In other words, if the Church is to fulfill the missionary mandate, it must make sure that its structures and procedures are not inimical to mission (Idem, p.10).

In its report to the 2013 General Synod the Council for Mission stated, “The Council is keen to explore ways that those central Church committees relating to mission can more effectively and imaginatively work together and is encouraged that the matter is under consideration by the
Honorary Secretaries” (General Synod of the Church of Ireland: Book of Reports: 2013, p.351).

At the 2014 General Synod, a Joint Statement from the Council for Mission, the Commission on Ministry and the Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures noted “… the desire to see the structures, administration and finances of the church shaped by a clear understanding of the mission of the church, particularly as it is expressed in the statement from the House of Bishops in 2008 which set the aims of Growth, Unity and Service” (Idem, p.361).

There are two suggestions that could be made, to turn desire into reality,

a. To ensure that boards and committees have a clear remit and a system of reporting that is not only based on recording talk, but based on articulating:

  • Objectives;
  • Action against objectives;
  • Outcomes.

b. To acknowledge that if bodies are given a clear remit, and are expected to report on their success in achieving it, then they need to be properly resourced. This is done in the recognition that:

  • Serious pieces of work need to be properly resourced;
  • For significant issues to be progressed they need to be championed;
  • Volunteers may be deeply committed to an issue but time constraints mean they cannot do everything.

This is an instance where the need to properly resource something meets budget constraints. Being aware of this reality prompted one interviewee for The Church of Ireland: Apologetic for Mission? report to comment, “It is rare for leadership to say this is so important that we will allocate money or someone to do something … the temptation is that this matters as long as someone else pays for it. We need to move beyond a wing and a prayer approach”.

In the absence of an appropriate budget, designated person or structure to make things happen then action on stated priorities is unlikely to happen.


Home News

  • Connor parish hosts Patrick’s Mysterious Adventure
  • Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory institution
  • Supporting asylum seekers and refugees
  • Cork parish partners GAA and local groups in ‘Sam Maguire school tour’ initiative
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – what is it all about?
  • New rector announced for Clogher Cathedral group of parishes
  • Tribute – Canon E. James Moore
  • New Mothers’ Union devotional book published



In Perspective – Decisions, decisions …

Insight ‘The Mixed Marriage People’ By Ken Dunn


World News

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  • Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels responds to claims of inappropriate behaviour



My Utmost for His Highest:
the story behind the best-selling devotional book


Book review

Author: Val Grieve Publisher: Evangelical Press


News Extra

  • The Rt Revd Peter Eagles, Bishop of Sodor and Man, visits the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory
  • Churches asked to remember seafarers on Sea Sunday
  • Christ in Youth hosts international premiere of Unseen, a film highlighting Ireland’s growing suicide epidemic