COI Gazette – 14th December 2012

The Church is called to be ‘magnetic’ in drawing people towards Christ – new Archbishop of Armagh tells Gazette

The Most Revd Richard Clarke in Church House, Armagh, last week (Photo: Paul Harron)

The Most Revd Richard Clarke in Church House, Armagh, last
week (Photo: Paul Harron)

In a Gazette interview ahead of his enthronement as Archbishop of Armagh on 15th December, the Most Revd Richard Clarke outlined his vision of the mission of the Church, and also addressed a range of other current issues.

Dr Clarke told the editor: “What the Church is called to be, wherever it is, is a magnet – magnetic, not in drawing people to itself, but magnetic in drawing people towards Christ.”

He said that this was done in different ways, but highlighted the quality of the Church’s worship, the kind of communities the Church represented, and action in the world, especially at local level, while also acknowledging the role of the Church centrally and at diocesan level.





A conference held recently in London was, remarkably, on the subject of ‘Empathy and Compassion in Society’. Reporting on this event in The Independent newspaper, Christina Patterson commented: “Compassion is what gets some people into nursing, teaching or social care, but compassion isn’t easy to keep up. Compassion, as those of us who have had experiences of the lack of it, in hospitals, doctors’ surgeries or relatives’ care homes, know, can fade.”

Only a week later, the BBC reported on the launch of a report, Compassion in Practice, which is a three-year strategy for nursing. The Chief Nursing Officer in England, Jane Cummings, spoke at the launch, telling those attending how she planned to embed values such as compassion, communication and commitment in public health care.

She told the BBC that, while care and compassion characterised the work of the NHS in the vast majority of cases, the values still needed to be brought to the heart of all that the NHS did, noting in particular the immense pressure under which health professionals worked. Then again, the Emeritus Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Keele University, Peter Crome, told Radio 4’s Today programme that staff in hospitals, hospices or in the community “should take a more caring and compassionate role when it comes to looking after vulnerable groups, rather than what is often seen as a very task-oriented approach”, but he warned that without more staff, this proper vision for health care would be difficult to implement.

Compassion is about being able to identify with those who are suffering; it involves a bond that encourages and lifts the spirit of those who are in adversity. It is a thoroughly Christian virtue, as such drawing its inspiration from the ministry of Jesus, his care and his suffering for all our sakes. Compassion lies at the heart of all Christian ministry, for without it, the Church is untrue both to itself and to its Lord.

The fact that the importance of the topic of compassion has been recognised so openly in the current secular health care context is a reminder that the compassion that is demonstrated by so many health professionals, who are completely dedicated and work extremely long hours, needs to be seen as an essential part of healing. From a religious perspective, healing is not only a physical experience but also a spiritual one that goes to the heart of every human life, its source lying in the God of compassion and of love.

Home News

  • Major roof renovations completed in historic Diocese of Down parish
  • Christmas trees are the ‘stars’ in Dromore Diocese church festival
  • Noted children’s author leads storytelling seminars
  • Good Book Shop, Belfast, book launch
  • Diocese of Clogher installation
  • Tuam, Killala and Achonry schools’ service launches overseas outreach project
  • Irish language revival at Belfast city centre church
  • Stir up Sunday marked in Co. Antrim parish
  • Tribute – The Revd Samuel (Sam) James Brennan

World News

CEC General Secretary and President visit Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

WCC sees positive step in Palestine upgrade at United Nations

Africa struggles with impact of small arms proliferation

Columns & Features

  • Insight –  Fighting HIV with courage and dignity By Susan Parry
  • Insight –  Primate of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia to take up post of Anglican Representative to the Vatican
  • Soap – Down at St. David’s
  • Musings – Alison Rooke – Cash for clothes

Book Reviews

With My Whole Heart : Reflections on the Heart of the Psalms Author: James Jones Publisher: SPCK; pp.101

Festivals Together: Creating all-age worship through the year Author: Sandra Millar Publisher: SPCK; pp.108

Worship Together: Creating all-age services that work Author: Sandra Millar Publisher: SPCK





News Extra

  • Tributes paid to CICE’s retiring librarian
  • Clergy encouraged to work together in EU peace project
  • ICS appoints new Mission Director
  • Outgoing Down and Dromore MU President receives ‘Woman of the Year’ award
  • Appointment
  • Retirement