Primate talks personally about faith
The following is an interview with Archbishop Richard Clarke, conducted by Alf McCreary (Belfast Telegraph).
How and when did you come to faith?
I grew up in a Church of Ireland rectory, so faith and belief were always part of the background of my growing up, even though, at times, I have, of course, had to question my faith and think through its implications. Belief and the implications of faith are something that are always there, even though they are also part of my daily job.
Have you ever had a crisis of faith, or a gnawing doubt about your faith?
I have had to struggle at times – for example, at the time of my wife’s illness and death from cancer. But I have always interrogated my faith from inside rather than from outside, if that makes sense.
Have you ever been angry with God? And, if so, why?
No, I have been deeply disappointed by things that have happened (and perhaps, hence with God), but I am not sure that I have felt actively angry. If you read the Psalms, you can read about people being angry with God.
GRATEFUL FOR THE PAST – HOPEFUL FOR THE FUTURE
For the past 162 years, the Church of Ireland Gazette,published by the Church of Ireland Press, has provided a platform for the news and views of the Church on an all-Ireland basis, drawing together the people of the Church. Founded as a monthly journal in 1856, the Gazettebecame weekly in 1880.
This edition of the Gazette is the last in our weekly format. January will see the launch of the printed and online versions of the Gazette, in magazine format, as a monthly publication. The Gazette will be published in the second week of each month – the electronic version on the second Tuesday and the paper copy on the Friday of the second week.
The way we all get our news continues to develop. Newspapers changing their designs or merging news websites, apps on tablets, computers and mobile phones – all these have become new ways for news to be comm- unicated. In recent years, we have also observed the challenges that local newspapers have faced. The Church of Ireland Gazette has faced these changing times, in common with other local media.
Recognising the changing trends within news media, we also recognise that the weekly edition of the Gazette has been much loved and valued. With all this in mind, the board of Church of Ireland Press and the Gazette team wanted to secure the very best future possible for theGazette. This led us to believe we needed to adapt to ensure that the platform we use to deliver debate and information, to and for the Church, appeals to people in pews across the land. As Archbishop Richard Clarke has said: “I wish the Church of Ireland Gazette every success as it sets out on this new path. I believe that this new style of Gazette could indeed be a valuable resource for the Church in the changed times in which we live.”
We are indebted to those who have made the Gazette possible over the years. Readers will have fond memories of editors and deputy editors who had the interests of this paper and the readership firmly at their core, supported by a committed board of directors. Likewise, a deeply committed office team has kept the wheels in motion. The work of a columnist is not to necessarily have us agree with them – it is to challenge our thinking. We are grateful to our regular team of columnists who wrote faithfully – each with their distinctive style – to do just that.
As well as our columnists, we are thankful for those who have contributed news stories or other material, book reviews and liturgical notes, as well as contributions to our letters page. We are also grateful to our design and production team, as well as our advertisers for their confidence in theGazette. Thank you also to those who faithfully distribute the Gazette. We look forward to many of these features, and more, continuing in a new guise.
The Gazette editorial and office team, along with the board, have been working hard to prepare for our transition to a monthly publication. Following our normal practice, due to printer’s holidays, we will not be publishing an edition in the week after Christmas. The new monthly format will be published in the second week of January.
The Memorandum of Association of the Church of Ireland Press Ltd, the company which owns the Gazette, sets out the guiding principles. “The object for which the company is established is to advance the Christian religion among the people of Ireland in accordance with the doctrines of the Church of Ireland …” As an independent voice within the Church of Ireland, and in whatever format, these remain our guiding principles.
As we look forward to a new monthly Gazette, with a new design and content, thank you for your past and continuing support and goodwill as we look into the future.
A THOUGHT FOR 2019
As we continue to live with the turmoil of Brexit and other political uncertainties – here is an interesting thought from theologian Walter Brueggemann: “The
simple practice of neighbourliness will be profoundly subversive in our society and wildly generative of well-being and joy”.
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