COI Gazette – 28th August 2015

Orange Order audit ‘deserves to be read and reflected upon’ – Bishop of Clogher

Stuart Brooker (centre) presents a copy of Audit, Good Relations Strategy & Action Plan to the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers MP. Looking on are officers from the Co. Fermanagh Grand Orange Lodge (from left) Robert Dane, Tom Elliott MP and Canon Mark Watson, County Grand Chaplain.

Stuart Brooker (centre) presents a copy of Audit, Good Relations Strategy & Action Plan to the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers MP. Looking on are officers from the Co. Fermanagh Grand Orange Lodge (from left) Robert Dane, Tom Elliott MP and Canon Mark Watson, County Grand Chaplain.

The Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John McDowell, has told the Gazette that he hopes the recent publication of the result of an audit – commissioned by the Co. Fermanagh Grand Orange Lodge with the intention of increasing community understanding and good relations – will mark “a new beginning in a process of mutual understanding and discovery between all community organisations and individuals who have the well-being of the county [Fermanagh] at heart”.

Through the initiative, Audit, Good Relations Strategy & Action Plan – first discussed in 2012 and completed over the last year – the Co. Fermanagh Grand Orange Lodge sought to discover how it was experienced and perceived by both its own membership and the wider community.

More than 600 members of the Loyal Order in Co. Fermanagh and a significant representation of people from across the community – including the Churches and the voluntary, statutory and public sectors – took part in the extensive, information-gathering exercise which was supported by Fermanagh District Council and delivered by the Fermanagh- based Green Hat consultancy.




Jeremy Taylor may be regarded as one of the all-time ‘greats’ of the Anglican tradition, the influence of whose learning, spiritual insight, moral authority and liturgical understanding, as well as the example of his episcopal ministry, remains substantial.

Born and educated in Cambridge, where he became a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Taylor came to the attention of Archbishop Laud who valued and made full use of his talents. In 1635, he became a Fellow of All Souls’ College, Oxford, and, shortly afterwards, a chaplain to King Charles I. In 1638, he was presented to the incumbency of Uppingham in Rutland.

His support for the King in the conflict with Parliament and his strong advocacy of episcopacy not only led to several periods of imprisonment but also resulted in wilderness years. During the latter time, his movements were hard to trace, except for a period as a chaplain to Lord Carbery at Golden Grove in Wales, where a number of his works were produced, including A Discourse of the Liberty of Prophesying, a plea for toleration; The Great Exemplar, a life of Christ; and his devotional classics, Holy Living and Holy Dying.

In 1658, Taylor came to Ireland and took up a lectureship at Lisburn under the patronage of Edward Conway, 2nd Viscount Conway, but lived mainly in retirement, concentrating on his studies which were to bear further fruit in 1660, when he published his Ductor dubitantium, a comprehensive manual of moral theology.
At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Taylor was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor (and also Dromore, where he built the cathedral) and had the honour of preaching at the great service in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, at which no less than 12 bishops were consecrated, including himself. His years in office were stressful through the refusal of a number of Presbyterian ministers, who intruded into incumbencies in his diocese, to submit to episcopal ordination and to conform to the Prayer Book, resulting in their consequent dismissal.

Taylor’s Dissuasive from Popery, written at this time at the request of his fellow-bishops, was severe in its criticism of Rome, although the late Archbishop Henry McAdoo (Archbishop of Dublin, 1977-1985) was to argue that Taylor had anticipated much of the thought of the Anglican/Roman Catholic International Commission (which McAdoo had co-chaired) in its Agreed Statement on Eucharistic Doctrine (1971), together with its Elucidation (1979).

Taylor’s specific writings on the Eucharist included his – The Real Presence … proved against Transubstantiation and his The Worthy Communicant. As a practical liturgist, he was both knowledgeable and prolific and appears to have been responsible for the splendid Form and Order of the Consecration of Churches, according to the use of the Church of Ireland (1666).

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

Bible, Prayer Book and visiting book

I WISH to respond to the Very Revd Victor Griffin’s letter (14th August).

It is concerning that there seems to be a perception amongst some that, in general, contemporary clergy are neglecting their pastoral ministry. Personally, I find such a view strange, because the majority of clergy known to me place great importance upon visiting parishioners, whether in hospital, residential care or in their homes.

If there are clergy who neglect their pastoral ministry, I would suggest that they are in a minority, just as they have always been, even in generations past. I would like to assure Dean Griffin that most of us sincerely wish that we could have more time to use our visiting book.

However, unless I am misinformed, the reality seems to be that the range of demands upon modern clergy is growing and ordinations are not as numerous as they once were.

I also wish to reassure Dean Griffin that the clergy whom I know place great importance upon leading the Church in worship. Rather than ‘reading’ the service, they ‘lead’ worship, in both traditional and modern liturgical forms, and there is no desire for “liturgical anarchy”.

Rather, the intention is to help people know the grace of Almighty God and worship him from their hearts in words both old and new.

Malcolm Kingston (The Revd), St Mark’s Rectory 14 Portadown Road Armagh

READING DEAN GRIFFIN’S gratuitous attack on the 2004 Prayer Book (Gazette, 14th August), I am reminded of the old saying, highly relevant in a liturgical context, Abusus non tollit usum, meaning, roughly, ‘The misuse of something does not take away the right use of something’.

Although the current disregard of the provisions of the Prayer Book in some quarters is undoubtedly a scandal, this is not entirely a new problem.

I apologize in advance if my recollection is incorrect, but I would like to ask whether or not there was a time (during or after Dean Griffin’s term of office) when a modern version of the Eucharist was used in St Patrick’s which, without any authority, was issued in ‘Thee’ and ‘Thou’ language.

And, might I be correct in saying that the Eucharistic Prayer itself, the most doctrinally sensitive part of the order of service, did not conform entirely to that which was then currently authorized?

Those who live in glasshouses … etc.
Michael Kennedy (Canon),  Armagh BT61

I WAS very encouraged to read Dean Victor Griffin’s letter in relation to pastoral visiting. When a cleric with such experience and wisdom advises the importance of getting to know families by calling at their homes, it is time it was reintroduced.

I firmly believe that the future of the Church of Ireland, especially in rural Ireland, depends on clergy visiting homes once or twice a year, reading a portion of Scripture from the Bible and a prayer from The Book of Common Prayer.

The majority of young married couples do not attend church on a Sunday. Nevertheless, they wish to have their children baptised. It is essential that clergy visit the young married couples after the baptism to remind them of the vows they took at the baptismal service.

Thank you, Dean Griffin.

Eric McElhinney, Milford Co. Donegal


Religion and secularism in Ireland

THE NEW secular roots spreading in Ireland need not shape and govern our society to the exclusion of religion. Religious experience and conviction must always be sought by personal choice.

It is true that secularism and religion do not always sit comfortably together. They can come up with conflicting solutions to society’s challenges. However, with mutual respect and co-operation, both can be friends and allies with distinctive contributions to make.

The area of religious education at Leaving Certificate is attracting very few candidates. At this level, RE may not have sufficient numbers of gifted, informed and innovative teachers who will be able to inspire their pupils of diverse religious and  secular backgrounds.

At junior primary level, RE ought still to be complemented where possible by Sunday School and Church school clubs, devoted to faith formation. At this level, especially, religion is more caught than taught.

Arthur Carter (The Revd)  Cahir Co. Tipperary E21


Carers in Northern Ireland

EVERY YEAR, around 70,000 people in Northern Ireland become carers – looking after a loved one who is frail, ill or disabled. Because they are unpaid, Northern Ireland’s 214,000 carers save the economy at least £4.4b each year. At the same time, they are missing out on state support of more than £4m in unclaimed benefits.

However, it’s not all about benefits. Carers can end up exhausted and isolated if they don’t receive the practical help they need.

Often, people who look after others don’t even think of themselves as ‘carers’. Caring may happen gradually or they see it as part of normal family life and could be missing out on
support that could help.

This is where Carers NI can help. Our free booklet, Looking after someone, which is available on request, is an essential guide to carers’ rights and benefits.
Our confidential and independent Advice Service is there to help carers throughout Northern Ireland find the support they need, when they need it.

Our contact details are below; we are also online at www. and on Facebook and Twitter.

Lesley Johnston
Adviser, Carers NI Adviceline

Carers Northern Ireland 58 Howard Street, Belfast Tel. 028 9043 9843 Email:


Braille BCP 2004

I HAVE the complete Braille edition of The Book of Common Prayer 2004 which I would like to pass on to someone who will use it: a parish, perhaps, or an individual who would like to have their own copy.
I will post to anywhere in Ireland. I can be contacted by email at paulgilmore40@yahoo. com.

Paul Gilmore – Belfast BT6


The Church and ecology

IT WAS a pleasure to read the Revd Stephen Neill’s article, ‘Closer to God in the garden’ (Gazette, 7th August, page 6), in which he observed that “… we in the Church are inclined to forget that we are a part of God’s Creation …” I share this observation.

Perhaps we need to take a fresh look at our liturgical calendar and recall how it developed from a much older wisdom which was more tuned in to the agricultural year and the rhythms of nature.

Significantly, Christmas celebrates Christ’s birth at a time when light in our part of the world increases after the shortest day.

After Easter, nature witnesses to the Gospel truth, as many seeds are transformed to new life.

The healing ministry of Jesus is a focus on St John’s Day (24th June), when it is considered an optimum time to pick medicinal and culinary herbs for drying, e.g. St John’s wort. Traditionally, after Michaelmas (29th September), no more blackberries were picked, so we would not get sick eating them!

John Arlott’s Harvest Thanksgiving hymn begins ‘God whose farm is all creation, take the gratitude we give’. In light of the various ecological crises  highlighted by Pope Francis in his encyclical letter, Laudato Si, and in this era of the devastating effects of climate change, Christians need to be giving the Creator more than ‘gratitude’.

On the basis that actions speak louder than words, for a start, we could all help in a practical way the parishes which are becoming more ecologically responsible by involvement with www. Meanwhile, let us encourage more parishes to become involved so as effectively to “care for our common home” (to quote Laudato Si).

On the same matter, all visitors and locals will be welcome in the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory on Saturday 3rd October, when the Diocesan Environmental Committee will host a conference on ‘Climate Change and its Effects on Farming’.

The venue will be Kilkenny College, beginning at 1.30pm. Admission will be free. For more details, contact the Ven. Andrew Orr, The Rectory, Tullow, Co. Carlow, or email:

Trevor Sargent,  Broadway Co. Wexford


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