COI Gazette – 21st October 2016

‘Architecture of grace’ and ‘Building a living Church’ – Dublin and Glendalough Diocesan Synods

Dublin & Glendalough Synod

Dublin & Glendalough Synod

The theme of the ‘architecture of grace’ ran through Dublin and Glendalough’s Diocesan Synods which took place in the newly opened Temple Carrig secondary school in Greystones on Tuesday of last week (11th October).

The Anglican Bishop of Spain, the Rt Revd Carlos López-Lozano, and the Anglican Bishop of Lusitania (Portugal), the Rt Revd José Jorge de Pina Cabral, were special guests at this year’s Synods.

They were visiting Dublin and Glendalough, which contributed to the establishment of the Anglican dioceses in Spain and Portugal, as part of the Dublin & Glendalough 800 celebrations




Last month, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, ambitiously announced that they were going to spend $3bn over the next decade to try and cure all diseases. That is quite a goal. Following the birth of their daughter last year, they indicated that they would donate 99 per cent of their wealth to good causes and The Daily Telegraph (22nd September) quoted remarks of Mr Zuckerberg in an interview with Associated Press, in which he said that his and his wife’s goal was to “cure, prevent or manage all disease” in the next 80 or so years, adding: “So if you even just assume that we’ll be able to continue to make progress on that same trajectory, then that implies that by the end of this century we will have been able to solve most of these types of things.”

The Telegraph, which noted that last month’s announcement came a day after Microsoft had made a pledge to “solve the problem of cancer” within a decade by reprogramming diseased cells, further reported that Mr Zuckerberg and Ms Chan had spent the past two years speaking to scientists and other experts about their project. Mr Zuckerberg, again, stated: “We spend 50 times more on health care treating people who are sick than we spend on science research … so that people don’t get sick in the first place.” He was reported as adding that the approach he mentioned – and implicitly criticised – reflected a belief that “people are always going to suffer from disease so therefore we should focus on treating people who are sick”.

Life expectancy rates naturally vary from region to region but in all regions the figure has been rising. The global average, taking men and women together (men having a shorter life expectancy then women), is currently 72, according to statistics published by The Lancet, but in more developed countries it is higher. However, earlier this month, a study published in Nature by scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, Evidence for a Limit to Human Lifespan, suggests that it may not be possible to extend the human life span beyond the ages already attained by the oldest people on record.

Professor Jan Vijg, a Professor at Einstein College, commented: “Demographers as well as biologists have contended there is no reason to think that the ongoing increase in maximum lifespan will end soon. But our data strongly suggest that it has already been attained and that this happened in the 1990s.” When the researchers looked at survival improvements since 1900 for people aged 100 and above, they found “diminishing gains in reducing late-life mortality and a possible limit to the human lifespan”, according to Professor Vijg, who added: “Further progress against infectious and chronic diseases may continue boosting average life expectancy, but not maximum lifespan. While it’s conceivable that therapeutic breakthroughs might extend human longevity beyond the limits we’ve calculated, such advances would need to overwhelm the many genetic variants that appear to collectively determine the human lifespan. Perhaps resources now being spent to increase lifespan should instead go to lengthening healthspan – the duration of old age spent in good health.”

Those who work with the elderly, not least the clergy, know that while old age can at times be quite pain- and trouble-free, it often is not. The elderly contend with many different kinds of ailments and they are often of a very challenging nature, both for themselves and for their families. Investment is needed in the long-term care of today’s elderly as well as in specialised end-of-life care, but if spending billions of super-wealthy donors’ dollars on medical research, as they wish, leads to better health in old age, so much the better for everyone.


Home News

  • Bishop Storey highlights importance of ‘discipleship’ and ‘action’ at Meath and Kildare Diocesan Synod
  • Sunday and Weekday Readings 2017 now available
  • Diocese of Down and Dromore Institutions
  • History of an Armagh parish in its bicentenary year – Tartaraghan
  • Church tributes to leading Orangeman
  • Diocese of Armagh Ordination in St Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Church and Society Commission focus on homelessness in Republic of Ireland
  • Archbishop of Armagh dedicates 175th anniversary gifts to Co. Armagh parish
  • Meeting of C. of I. and Roman Catholic bishops
  • Bishop Kearon sympathy on death of Anthony Foley


Rethinking Church – The place has gone to the dogs!

Life Lines – ‘It shan’t be long’


World News

  • German President and Danish Queen celebrate Wittenberg’s Reformation church
  • Christian, Muslim leaders agree to stand against religious extremism
  • Colombia: WCC General Secretary disappointed at referendum outcome
  • Global South Anglicans discuss ‘great human suffering’ Task force to address Anglican ‘ecclesial deficit’
  • Mental health problems are global, with young people especially vulnerable


Letters to the Editor

Stanford Festival

THE CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD Festival, held from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th October in Dublin, was a great success.

Participants from the USA, the UK and Ireland enjoyed a full programme of superb Stanford music.

The Festival started with Choral Evensong in St Patrick’s Cathedral, where the choir was in good voice, and this was followed by an organ recital by two organ scholars, Martina Smith and Matthew Breen, together with organist David Leigh who played Stanford’s Erica Sonata.

The Saturday was a full day in the beautifully restored St Stephen’s church, two doors from where Stanford lived.

Music students from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Dublin Institute of Technology Conservatory and Dundalk Institute of Technology’s Music Department performed a selection of Stanford songs.

The renowned US violinist, Colleen Ferguson, played a range of music by Stanford and some of his pupils.

The Sunday commenced with a Sung Eucarist in Trinity Chapel and the weekend concluded with Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral where one of the highlights was Stanford’s Magnificat for eight- part chorus, an extremely difficult piece beautifully performed.

The Stanford fans went home happy to prepare for the 2017 Festival in Canterbury. Michael Webb

Dalkey Co. Dublin


Reviewing the Church Constitution

THE EDITORIAL in the 7th October Gazette, ‘Reviewing the Church Constitution’, is both timely and apposite.

There has long been an antipathy between common lawyers and canon lawyers. Indeed, in the 1600s, Dr Robert Aycliffe, a notable canonist, composed a litany, one of the
petitions of which was “That we may be preserved from the jurisdiction of temporal lawyers”.

One of the questions facing the reference group on the Constitution of the Church of Ireland must be whether or not the Church of Ireland actually recognises
the rules of the Church as canon law, with its inherent methods of interpretation and application.

Or have the common, temporal lawyers won? Kenyon Homfray
(The Revd)

Fethard Co. Tipperary

Same-sex marriage

RECENTLY, MY wife and I attended a humanist wedding between two young women, one of whom is a family friend.

My daughter was a witness for this friend and injected the only piece of religion in the ceremony by reading a few verses from the Epistles. My granddaughter was a ring bearer.

I do not know whether or not the two lovely young women would have liked to have been married in church but in any  event they had no choice.

As it happens, they are both from Roman Catholic families but they would have been in the very same position if they were members of my own beloved Church of Ireland.

I felt that it was so very sad that because of their particular orientation neither Church would reach out and provide for them on the most important day of their lives.

They, too, are God’s children. As I drove home I wondered whether Christians would look back at the Church’s attitude to the gay community much in the same way that we look back on attitudes to slavery, or even in more modern times, to our treatment of single mothers and their children.

It is all so sad and we can be so wrong, as I believe we are in this matter.
+Walton Empey

Rathmore, Tullow Co. Carlow


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