Good Book Shop praised by Bishop Rooke at 10th anniversary
“Christian bookshops provide a vital service to the Church and religious books and publications provide an essential aid to our public and private devotions.”
So affirmed the Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, the Rt Revd Patrick Rooke, preaching at a recent thanksgiving service in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Belfast’s Good Book Shop, situated in Church House, beside the Cathedral itself.
Looking back 10 years, Bishop Rooke recalled how the APCK had handed over its business to a Joint Committee of the Diocesan Councils of Down and Dromore and of Connor, from which a new Board of Directors had been formed.
FIGURES FROM CHURCH HISTORY – 32
ULRICH ZWINGLI (1484-1531)
Zwingli may be described as the ‘Third Man’ of the Reformation, whose importance was exceeded only by Luther (a contemporary) and John Calvin. He was schooled at Wesen, then Basel and Bern, where his master, Heinrich Wöfflin, inspired in him an enthusiasm for the classics and a love of music.
He attended university at Vienna and then Basel, where he graduated in 1504. He turned to theology and was deeply influenced by the lectures of the teacher and Reformer, Thomas Wyttenbach. He was ordained priest and went to Glarus (1506), where he proved a good pastor, encouraged education, commenced studying Greek and even Hebrew and read widely in the Church Fathers.
Zwingli was sympathetic to the Renaissance movement and corresponded with the writer and scholar, Erasmus. He served as a chaplain in the Swiss army – an experience which led him to oppose the mercenary system. His stand provoked hostility at Glarus and, in 1516, he moved to a new charge at Einsiedeln, where he enjoyed both wide opportunities for preaching to the many pilgrims and fine facilities for study. Initially a strong supporter of the papacy, it was during this period that he came to an evangelical understanding of the Scriptures.
In 1518, Zwingli was appointed people’s priest at the Great Minster at Zürich, which offered him much scope for preaching, and his stirring up of opposition to fasting and the maintenance of clerical celibacy initiated the Swiss Reformation. In preparation for a disputation with the Vicar General of Constance, he published 67 articles, the main contentions of which – including an emphasis on the sole authority of Holy Scripture – were widely accepted among the clergy.
Further stages in the Swiss Reformation included the removal of images from churches, the suppression of organs, the dissolution of religious houses, the replacement of the Mass by a simple Communion service, the reform of the baptismal office, the introduction of ‘prophesyings’ or Bible readings, the reorganization of the ministry and the preparation of a native version of the Bible. The movement spread rapidly, but was resisted – with the assistance of the learned Roman Catholic theologian, Johann Eck – by several cantons.
At a conference with Martin Luther, Zwingli’s reductionist view of the Lord’s Supper led to a breach between the two men, Luther firmly holding to his conviction of a real presence of Christ’s body and blood “in, with and under” the bread and wine. The results of differences between the Reformers were seen at the Diet of Augsburg (1530), at which the evangelical groups presented three different confessions, including Zwingli’s Fidei Ratio. Strife with the cantons loyal to the papacy led to a battle in 1531 in which Zwingli, acting as a chaplain, was killed.
This editorial is one in a series of occasional reflections on figures in Church history, following a chronological sequence as they appear.
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Letters to the Editor
The General Synod
look at pictures of the 2013 General Synod. Where are the new faces? Where are the young people?
I read the accounts of business. Where’s the vitality? Where’s the urgency? Where’s the vision? Where’s the engagement with science? Why are bishops apparently obsessed with sex, but say next to nothing about injustice and usury?
I see an irrelevant and selfcongratulatory club in which old people plan a future they will not be around to witness.
What’s the point of spending money on prizes for blogs, websites, media? I’m reminded of Aer Lingus being awarded the prize for the best Irish airline by Cara, the in-house magazine of Aer Lingus.
Where are the vocations? How many of those people at Synod can even manage to get their children and grandchildren to attend church?
In Co. Laois, there are eight paid Church of Ireland clergy. Costs are rising, property taxes are passed on to churches. People are increasingly hardup.
How long before eight are down to three: north, central, and south?
And as for churches: there are too many. So close some. Simple.
What’s the chance of a rational and clear-headed discussion of these issues? None, I guess.
It’s all about tribal identity and posturing.
If the Church of Ireland population were even a fraction as loyal and committed as is the Muslim population, parishes would thrive and lives would be changed.
Stanley Monkhouse (The Revd) The Rectory Coote Street Portlaoise, Co. Laois
As writer of the report of the Church of Ireland working group on Reform of the Single Farm Payment, I would like to thank Dean Raymond Ferguson for his words of affirmation of the report in his speech at General Synod.
A death in the parish prevented my attendance at General Synod. Had I been able to attend, I had hoped to make two suggestions that arose from the experience of involvement with the Working Group.
The first is that each diocese should appoint an agricultural or rural affairs chaplain. This need have no cost implications – it simply asks that there be someone prepared to engage with the issues facing rural Ireland, North and South; be prepared to become informed about issues; and be prepared to share pastoral reflections on the situations in which clergy and people minister.
The second suggestion was that we might consider forming an Irish branch of the Rural Theology Association to facilitate deeper reflection on the contexts of our ministry and our theological responses.
Growing up on my grandfather’s farm in England and spending seven years as incumbent of a very rural parish in Co. Down, I thought I understood rural ministry; only in moving from Dublin to Co. Laois three years ago, did I realize how little I knew.
The Churches have for a long time devoted considerable resources to ministry in urban settings, assuming all was well and easy in rural areas; a little attention paid to those rural areas now would not go amiss.
Ian Poulton (Canon) The Rectory Portlaoise Road Mountrath, Co. Laois
In the 16th century Reformation period, the Church of England retained the Apostolic succession of bishops, and the ministry of bishops, priests and deacons.
Richard Hooker, and later, the Caroline Divines of the 17th century, great men like our own Jeremy Taylor, fought hard to preserve Anglican polity against the Puritans.
In the 18th century, men like John and Charles Wesley continued this witness in an age of enlightenment and reason. The Wesleys never abandoned Anglican polity, unlike their later followers.
In the 19th century, the Oxford Movement and the Tractarians – Newman, Pusey and Keble and others – also witnessed to the Faith in an age of spiritual decline.
In the 20th century, the General Synod of the Church of Ireland decided that women could be priests and bishops, being shortly followed by our younger sister in the Church of England, and soon after by Scotland and Wales.
In the 21st century, we are about to enter into an agreement where ministers who are not episcopally ordained as priests and deacons, can celebrate the Eucharist in our churches.
I am all for Christian unity, but as far as Anglicans are concerned, the development of union between Churches such as the Methodist and Church of Ireland Churches should not involve the compromising of that system for which people like Hooker and Cranmer and the Wesleys fought so hard.
In apparently discerning episcopacy being contained within the office of the Methodist President, the General Synod completely overlooked the fact that the Methodist President is not a bishop, and that their ministers are not priests and deacons episcopally ordained.
Therefore, at this stage, it should not be possible for the proposed scheme for a complete interchange of ministries to go ahead.
The Methodists are not that far from us in their understanding of episcopacy, so, given a bit more time, it should have been possible to work out a relationship where they could accept episcopacy and priestly ministry.
David W.T. Crooks (Canon) Taughboyne Rectory Churchtown Carrigans Co. Donegal
Further to your recent coverage of the proceedings of the General Synod (Gazette, 17th May), a fringe talk during the Synod presented worrying figures about suicide rates among persons who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
The talk was given by Steve Williamson, the Director of Cara-Friend, the LGBT mental health organisation in Northern Ireland. His presentation was called ‘The Church and the mental health of gay and lesbian people’.
The audience was presented with statistics on rates of self-harm, eating disorders and suicide by LGBT young persons. These are much higher than the corresponding rates for heterosexual youth.
Mr Williamson advised the Churches to be much more careful in the language they use about LGBT people and to reflect on the negative impact some of their statements can have on the self-esteem and mental health of LGBT youth.
As part of the presentation, the audience, which included three bishops, also heard from a young gay man from a Christian background who told of his very negative experiences of Christian responses to his being gay.
Mr Williamson said that he and Cara-Friend were available to meet diocesan groups in the Church of Ireland who are beginning a process of listening and dialogue on the issue of human sexuality.
Richard O’Leary (Dr) Holywood Co. Down BT18 ODJ —
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