Dundalk Grammar School marks 275th anniversary
Dundalk Grammar School celebrated its 275th anniversary last week, on 15th- 16th May. Closely associated with the Incorporated Society for Promoting Protestant Schools in Ireland, originally the Charter School was set up to educate children connected with the linen industry in Dundalk.
The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Richard Clarke, gave the address at a special service on Friday 16th which he based on the text, ‘The Lord will provide’ (Genesis 22: 14), saying: “As we look back on 275 years of Dundalk Grammar School through its various manifestations … we are surely called to see the hand of God in that history, and to be thankful for a divine providence which, at times, allowed this school to survive against all the odds, and, at other times, allowed the school to blossom and expand, unexpectedly and even counter-intuitively.
“We can interpret the coalescence from the original Charter School into the ‘Educational Institution’ and hence into the Dundalk Grammar School as it became nearly one hundred years ago and as we now know it, as all within God’s providence.”
Turkish mine disaster
Following the 12th May coal mine disaster at Soma in Turkey’s Manisa province, the country has been in shock. Turkey’s workplace safety record has been described as “notorious” and the tragedy has led to mounting anger. At the time of our going to press, the death toll has reached over 300 people.
However, the attitude of the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – although he cancelled other engagements to go to the scene of the disaster and promised to have its cause investigated – has been callous, having been quoted as saying that such accidents are “usual” things. Four weeks ago, The Guardian newspaper reported, Mr Erdogan’s party rejected opposition calls for an investigation into safety at the mine, while the country’s National Association of Electrical Engineers has described the disaster as representing “murder, not an accident”.
Protests have been held against the government in a number of cities throughout the country, leading to police firing tear gas and using water cannons in Istanbul. Pictures of a protester being kicked and held down by an aide of the Prime Minister only inflamed the situation further.
Health and Safety rules in the European Union are often considered as having become, in some instances, unreasonable, but the protection of workers is a matter of the utmost importance and it is right that there should be rigorous regulations. For that reason, the Geneva-based Conference of European Churches (CEC) is to be thanked for issuing a statement last week, placing the Turkish disaster in the proper context.
CEC, of which the Church of Ireland has been a full member since the organisation’s establishment in 1959, expressed its solidarity with the miners, their families and all Turkish mine workers, stating that deaths in mines, factories and shipyards “are not a destiny, contrary to what the Prime Minister said”.
The ecumenical organisation’s General Secretary, the Revd Guy Liagre, said: “The Conference of European Churches underlines the importance of safe and healthy working conditions. Precise regulations are needed, but also the application of existing rules and the recognition of workers’ rights, especially those in the extractive industries.”
Dr Liagre said that one of CEC’s aims was “to raise awareness and consciousness in Churches and society about precarious working conditions and to strengthen the demand for safe working conditions”; he appropriately added that CEC called on the Churches to remember the dead, the injured, those still missing and their families in their Sunday prayers and also urged political leaders to undertake all necessary measures to protect the social and economic rights of all workers. There is no doubt that the tragedy in Soma has brought the issue of workers’ safety to the fore in Turkish affairs.
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Letters to the Editor
Professor Ernest Nicholson
From the Irish aspect, may I add a few observations to your comprehensive report on the memorial service for the Revd Prof. Ernest Wilson Nicholson (Gazette, 18th April).
He went to Trinity College, Dublin, in 1956, intending to take Holy Orders, first studying Hebrew and Oriental Languages. He inspired students, Divinity or otherwise, through his wise yet placid nature. With his colleagues (‘wives’, as they were called), Harold McAfee and myself, the rooms at No. 40 became a place of hospitality.
One student kept his coffee mug there to ‘drop in’ before lectures. Another – invited in on a wet afternoon and coming to College in spite of a ban by his (Roman Catholic) bishop on Trinity enrolment – was eventually to become a TCD professor.
After a five-year lectureship in Dublin, Nicholson spent the rest of his academic life in Cambridge (when he was ordained) and Oxford, but he never forgot the land and Church of his birth and was glad of opportunities to connect with Ireland.
For example, when James McCann, Primate of All Ireland from 1959 to 1969, died in 1983 and was buried in his brother’s grave in Oxford, Nicholson was one of the few mourners at the funeral.
For 20 years, the Church of Ireland used the Alternative Prayer Book (1984). Nicholson was a member of the panel which produced the modern yet faithful APB Psalms translation. Following his installation as Provost of Oriel in 1990 by the Queen, a civic reception was given for him in 1991 by Craigavon Borough Council.
A gracious yet humble man, he visited schools in Northern Ireland to encourage pupils to work for Oxbridge entrance and welcomed careers staff and prospective students alike from the Province. Ernest’s widow, Hazel, was keen to have his Irish connections reflected at his funeral and memorial service respectively.
At his funeral service in the Oxford village of Wolvercote on 10th January, I read from Philippians 4 and the Revd David Adams, another fellowundergraduate at Trinity, presented Gogarty’s Non Dolet.
At Ernest’s memorial service in St Mary’s, the University Church, Oxford, on 29th March, Prof. Andrew Mayes, one of his first students at TCD, read from Psalm 139 and Canon Noel Battye – Chaplain at Pembroke College, Cambridge, during Nicholson’s deanship – gave his tribute to this remarkable Irish academic – ‘Ernest, man and priest’.
Brian Moller (The Very Revd) Bangor Co. Down
In opposition to the recent Sinn Féin motion in the Northern Ireland Assembly proposing the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, the Church of Ireland’s Church and Society Commission reaffirmed its position that marriage is a permanent and lifelong union of one man with one woman (Gazette report, 2nd May; Canon 31).
How can this position be reconciled with the practice of marrying divorced persons in Church whilst the previous spouse is still living?
Tim Bracken Cork
The Chair of the Church and Society Commission (CASC), the Revd Adrian Dorrian, has responded to Mr Bracken’s question with the following comment:
“The CASC statement referred to a motion from the General Synod of 2012, which in turn referred to Canon 31. This canon describes marriage as “a union permanent and life-long, for better or worse, till death do them part, of one man with one woman”. It also makes provision for the remarriage of divorced persons. The definition of marriage within the canon is “according to our Lord’s teaching”; Jesus set out a clear ideal for marriage but in his teaching he also made provision for circumstances in which divorce is applicable.”
Moving to the C of E
As I prepare to take up an incumbency in the Church of England, I would like, through the letters section of the Gazette, to thank my friends in the Church of Ireland for their support, comradeship and fun over the last 32 months.
Coming back to the Church of Ireland has been an interesting experience, and one that has taught me a great deal about myself.
Whether or not I ever became ‘one of us’ is not for me to judge, but at least I hope I’m not ‘one of them’!
Stanley Monkhouse (The Revd) The Rectory Coote Street Portlaoise
Over the years, many dioceses have been without a permanent and appropriate residence for their Bishop.
When the property in Limerick City was sold, the Bishop moved to a house in the suburbs. His successor was provided with temporary and inadequate rented accommodation in Adare, which he still occupies after six years.
Similar long delays also occurred in Cavan, Kilkenny and Armagh, causing anxiety and distress. Surely Bishops and their families deserve more respect and perhaps the appropriate property committees should be more considerate.
Trevor Giles Tralee, Co. Kerry
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