C. of I.’s new Secretary-General looks forward to ‘challenging and enjoyable role’
Last week, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Richard Clarke, announced the appointment of nancier David Ritchie as the new Secretary- General of the Church of Ireland and Chief Of cer of the Representative Church Body (RCB), a post based at Church of Ireland House, Rathmines, Dublin.
Mr Ritchie will take up the post next April and will succeed Adrian Clements who will retire in June.
There are two main parts to the work at Church House, Dublin – the RCB and the General Synod. The Head of the Synod Services and Communications Department of the RCB is Janet Maxwell.
FROM ADVENT TO CHRISTMAS
Advent comes as a reminder that the present is an ‘in-between’ time: the time between the first coming of Christ and the day when he shall come again, however and whenever that may be. It is also a time set apart for Christians to remember and reflect upon their common calling to take into their hearts the wondrous gift God gave to the world when he took our human form.
Moreover, the increasing influence of secularism in the developed world – which has brought with it a growing hostility to traditional Christian values – and the growing threat to Western civilisation posed by the rise of militant Islam, made so abundantly clear by recent savage attacks, are but a couple of examples of the particular circumstances of our own era that make the Good News of Jesus Christ so urgent for all the world.
Yet, the many evils that are undoubtedly present in the world put into a certain perspective the divisions that exist between the Christian denominations – and indeed the divisions within the denominations, particularly within Anglicanism and most especially within the Church of Ireland. Denominationalism has few followers today and in the Church there can be no space for bitterness over what is the most ideal way of being a Christian.
Advent leads to Christmas and the glad remembrance that the Christ-child came into the world, not just to give us a pretty nativity scene with which we might decorate our churches, but actually to suffer and die for our sins. Yet, its proximity to Christmas makes Advent inescapably a season of joy. Christians throughout the world rejoice to remember the coming of the Christ-child, the wonder of Mary
and Joseph and of the shepherds as they knelt by the manger, and the angels breaking forth from heaven to sing their ‘hallelujahs’.
This joy spills out into the world, not simply in parties and presents under the tree but also in a wide variety of special Church services enhanced by the joyous flavour of the season – and those services are attended by large numbers of people who rarely if ever attend services at any other time of the year. The Church shares this joy with them. This ‘Christmas spirit’, the spirit of joy, must be communicated to those outside the Church all the year round so that Christmas might not be the only time of year they choose to visit.
The joyful themes of Christmas, such as Christ, the light of the world, shining the bright beams of his love into the lives of people everywhere; Christ, the Word become flesh, entering our human condition to share our joys and our sorrows, our hopes and our fears; and Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose way leads to peace in the heart and peace in the world itself, are themes the Church emphasises most particularly at this time of year. But they are part of the message that the world needs to hear all the year long.
Advent is an annual reminder that provides everyone with an opportunity to look at how they are carrying out the work Christ gave them to do and to pray for the guidance as to how they might do it better and for the grace to do so with courage. The Christ-child came for all and the Church must use its own share of that ‘in-between’ time to focus on sharing the joy of his first coming so that all God’s children may be ready for God’s future when, in a sacred and mysterious way, Christ will come again.
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- Tribute – The Revd Michael Withers
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Rethinking Church – Getting over the ‘stumbling block’ of Christmas
Life Lines – Longing: Advent resource
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- Anglican and Muslim leaders discuss combatting violence done in the name of religion
Awesome Journey Author: David Adam Publisher: SPCK
Barefoot Ways Author: Stephen Cherry Publisher: SPCK
Christmas Messages 2015
- A joint Christmas Message from the Archbishops of Armagh, the Most Revd Richard Clarke & and the Most Revd Eamon Martin
- From the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Michael Jackson