Clogher Diocese to host major exhibition as ‘The Bible Comes to Life’
The Clogher Diocesan Board of Mission will be hosting “The Bible Comes to Life” exhibition in Enniskillen in March, the only one of its kind in Ireland during 2018.
This unique exhibition returns, after 25 years, to St Macartin’s Cathedral hall in Enniskillen from 8th March to 11th March 2018.
The exhibition introduces an understanding of Biblical Jewish life, culture and religion and helps in understanding the roots of Christianity. A significant collection of historic artefacts is used as part of this educational work.
MORE THAN HOPING FOR THE BEST
In a time of uncertainty there are all sorts of things we may want, but not everything is possible. If we are uncertain about the future one of the things we long for is certainty. That is very understandable but not always attainable. What is a key need in uncertain times? Surely, one of the most valuable things to have is confidence.
The dictionary defines confidence as being “the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something”. Confidence doesn’t mean having certainty about what is around the corner or having definite answers about the future. It is rather about having the belief or reliance on our own resilience, or the support of others to face whatever the future may bring our way. As members of the Christian Church it also means believing that we can look to and rely on God, someone greater than ourselves. None of this guarantees a future without uncertainty – but it does mean that we can face the future with confidence.
So, how then ought we to live as the Church? Since the financial crash, we seem to have lived with more uncertainty than we would care for. Social and cultural changes on this island also mean that the landscape in which life and faith is lived out is more unfamiliar than it has been. In the Church of Ireland, the census figures of church attendance, much talked about here, give us food for thought as we consider how the future might pan out for our parishes and dioceses.
Certainty about what the future may hold is not on offer. That is not a new phenomenon – it has been ever thus. What is needed is confidence. That is not the same as saying that what is needed is blind faith or a denial of reality. Confidence is the ability to face reality and respond appropriately – believing that we have the strength within ourselves and, more so, a dependence on a God who is greater than we are. If confidence is necessary for living in the now as well as looking at the future, then how can it be infused in the Church of Ireland at all levels?
There are interesting lessons to be taken from the recent report launched by the United dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, as well as the process that led up to it. Entitled Charting a Future with Confidence (http://cork.anglican. org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/V7-Charting-Conf- Book.pdf) it describes how that United dioceses plans to address the future.
The report notes that: “inherent in the idea of ‘charting’ are a number of elements:
• The gathering of information;
• Learning from the journey so far;
• Outlining a route, and drawing a way forward.”
In other words, confidence comes not doing nothing
and hoping for the best. It comes from having “a process, to facilitate what we are and will become, under God”. The report also notes the care taken to call it ‘A Future’. “None of us can know ‘the future’. To decide now inflexibly what we will do in ‘the’ future delimits our readiness to respond to what we do not yet know about what lies ahead.” It says that it is not “an instant recipe for a future, or be a panacea for all our anxieties.” Rather: “It is a toolkit to help us develop our confidence; to assist us in engaging with our task of being the Church today and in the days and years to come.”
It is interesting to see the number of dioceses and parishes in the Church of Ireland that are engaging, or have engaged in a similar process of gathering information, facilitating a diocesan conversation, reflecting and then planning a route for the future.
That is what will give us confidence – that there is a seriously considered and strategically resourced process that will help the church to not only live in the now, but also prepare for the future. Some things are worth the time and money!
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