COI Gazette – 28th April 2017

Tearfund Ireland’s Naimh Daly visits Syrian refugees in Jordan, says countries bordering Syria are doing most to help

Niamh Daly with Qaea Shadea Fares (centre) who had given birth to twin boys 11 days earlier. The family, who left Syria in 2012 following bombings in their neighbourhood and have two other children, received a cash grant from Tearfund Ireland partner Medair to cover the cost of having the twins in a nearby hospital. Also in the picture (left) is a visiting neighbour.

Niamh Daly with Qaea Shadea Fares (centre) who had given birth to twin boys 11 days earlier. The family, who left Syria in 2012 following bombings in their neighbourhood and have two other children, received a cash grant from Tearfund Ireland partner Medair to cover the cost of having the twins in a nearby hospital. Also in the picture (left) is a visiting neighbour.

Niamh Daly, a staff member at Tearfund Ireland, returned this month from Jordan, which she had visited in order to meet Syrian refugees who were participating in programmes being implemented by Tearfund Ireland, with support from the Irish Government (Irish Aid), Irish Churches and individuals.

Ms Daly told the Gazette: “I sat with Jaydah in her two room apartment and heard her story of how one morning four years ago shortly, after kissing her 12-year-old son goodbye, she heard an explosion nearby and ran out to the street.

“First she found the body of her husband, followed by the bodies of her brother and then her young son. She wept as she re-enacted with hand gestures how their bodies were strewn on the pavement.”

Ms Daly said that Jaydah’s 17-year-old son, Muhammad, had also been caught up in the explosion, his leg being badly damaged, adding that, although his mother had tried to get him help, he lost his leg and now sat next to her staring at the ground as she told their story.





It is not every person destined to be an archbishop who espouses a revolutionary movement as a young man. However, this was indeed the case with Richard Chenevix Trench, whose sympathy for those oppressed by the reactionary regime in Spain led him to go there in 1830, hoping to start a rising. The movement was a total failure and he never again dabbled in politics, revolutionary or otherwise.

Though born in Dublin in 1807, it is doubtful to what extent Trench ever thought of himself as Irish. He was educated at Harrow and at Trinity College Cambridge, where his intellectual brilliance was evident. However, he never became a Fellow, although later in life he became a Professor at King’s College London.

A man of considerable literary talent, as a poet he has been described as the most gifted of the immediate disciples of Wordsworth. Several volumes of his poetry were published during his life, but his main non-ecclesiastical fame related to his interest in philology, his The Study of Words, together with other publications, including English Past and Present and A Select Glossary of English Words, going through a number of editions.

Trench’s strictures on the deficiencies of existing dictionaries gave the first impulse to the great Oxford English Dictionary. His advocacy of a revised translation of the New Testament helped promote the project which resulted in the Revised Version of the Old and New Testaments which, because of its greater accuracy when compared with the King James Bible, was still the prescribed translation in the Divinity
School in Trinity College Dublin as late as the 1950s. His ecclesiastical ministry developed slowly and at one stage, being of a melancholy disposition, he suffered from a long period of depression. However, it was during this period that he produced his Notes on the Parables of our Lord and his Notes on the Miracles, popular works which have been described as“treasuries of erudite and acute illustration”.

In 1856, Trench was appointed Dean of Westminster, a position that suited him, and he established popular evening services there for the first time. In 1864, he was made Archbishop of Dublin, arriving in Ireland at a time of great controversy over the established state of the Church of Ireland. Despite Trench’s stout defence of the the status quo, the Church was disestablished and disendowed under the Irish Church Act of 1869, and this was followed by a revision of the Prayer Book in 1878 which was conservative so far as the text was concerned, but fastened on the Church for nearly a hundred years the most restrictive set of liturgical canons perhaps ever seen anywhere in the world. His constructive leadership during the period of change remains his chief contribution to the historical well- being of the Church of Ireland, the level of his ability having been been well-summed up by the title of his biography, The Man of Ten Talents.

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

I Believe Confirmation resource

AS PRESIDENT and Chair of the Church of Ireland Youth Department, we would like to respond to Dr Andrew Pierce’s review of the I Believe Confirmation resource (Gazette, 21st April).

What is the purpose of a resource? It is to facilitate practice, and in this instance, to facilitate and resource those preparing young teenagers for Confirmation.

This may be clergy, but it is often also the local youth worker, who may or may not be a volunteer.

A resource, principally, needs to be accessible and useful. It is not, primarily, a theological tome, whilst it tries its best to be theologically robust.

It does, of course (as does any piece of writing), reflect the theology of the writer, as indeed does Dr Pierce’s own review!

The purpose of the I Believe resource is to be accessible to, and useful to, clergy and youth workers in their preparation of our young people for Confirmation.

I Believe is an interactive, creative and imaginative tool which comes from the Anglican stable for preparing young people for their Confirmation.

The authors of this resource are youth practitioners, who are supplying this resource principally to other youth practitioners, both volunteer youth workers and clergy.

Anyone who works with young people has to be energetically creative in order to retain the attention of a very digitally- focused generation.

We would also like to point out that the resource was piloted in several parishes before publication, and in different types of parishes, after which feedback was taken on board. The resource is also deliberately orthodox.

There are a few sentences in this review describing some of the resource as “crude supernaturalism”. We are, however, very happy to stand by those quoted as we believe them to be the orthodox beliefs of the vast majority of the Church of Ireland – for example: “Jesus was born as a human with a human body”; “the resurrection of Christ is described as his having ‘come back’ to life”. Well, frankly, yes!

So, back to this resource’s main purpose. Will it achieve what it says on the tin? Will it prepare young people to declare their own faith through their Confirmation vows? Or, as Dr Pierce crucially and very helpfully reminds us: will our children have faith?

This resource does not try to be an in-depth theological treatise, whist it unapologetically espouses an orthodox theology.

Whilst we freely admit we have not got everything right, I Believe attempts to engage young people in discussion about their faith and encourages them to have a vital relationship with Jesus Christ. For this, we do not apologise!

Will our children have faith? The Church of Ireland Youth Department will do everything it can, through this resource and the work of its island-wide youth volunteers, to ensure that they will.

We believe in I Believe.

Pat Storey (The Most Revd, President CIYD and Bishop of Meath and Kildare) Maynooth Co. Kildare

Malcolm Kingston (The Revd, Chair of CIYD and Rector of Armagh)

Keeping Churches Open

I write in response to the Revd Stephen Neill’s article in the Gazette issue of 21st April.

Stephen touches on a very important issue and one that I find expressed in many rural churches both here and in England: ‘Dare we keep the church open?’

The usual issues of insurance and vandalism feature at the top of the list.

I have campaigned for many years for opening churches, just as Stephen advocates.
Ecclesiastical Insurance has a policy that open churches are safer and do not invoke a higher premium because the would-be burglar will hesitate if they think someone may surprise them in an open church; indeed, they don’t have to cause damage to break in.

Open churches cost the Insurers less than closed ones!

The key to safe, open churches is to have reasons for a steady flow of people to visit.

Keep valuables under secure arrangements and, if parishes need to, have types of objects in church they’re not worried about losing, i.e. wooden cross, not silver.

Have a discreet webcam in the porch.

Issues in cities and towns are different to rural contexts, but there’s always a way round such problems.

gach beannacht

Simon J. Lumby (The Ven.) Killarney

Co. Kerry


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