COI Gazette – 28th June 2013

Historic royal ‘steps’ captured on canvas

28Jun

The ecumenical aspect of last year’s Royal visit to Enniskillen is the subject of a recently unveiled and striking painting.

On 26th June 2012, at the start of a historic, twoday, Royal visit to Northern Ireland, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended an ecumenical service of thanksgiving in St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen, to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Following the service, the Queen and Prince Philip crossed Church Street from the cathedral to St Michael’s Roman Catholic church, where they were welcomed by the Very Revd Peter O’Reilly, the parish priest of St Michael’s, and met with representatives of a wide range of cross-community organisations.

It was said that this groundbreaking event was of such significance that no photograph could adequately portray it and only a painting could capture and retain the moment.


 

Editorial

LOUGH ERNE AGREEMENT ON TAX EVASION

The G8 Summit’s Lough Erne Agreement stresses that fair taxes, increased transparency and open trade are “vital drivers” in governments’ responsibility to make proper rules in promoting private enterprise, which in turn “drives growth, reduces poverty, and creates jobs and prosperity for people around the world”.

The Agreement states that countries should change rules that let companies shift their profits across borders to avoid taxes, and that multinationals should report to tax authorities what tax they pay where they pay it, with tax authorities across the world automatically sharing information to fight “the scourge of tax evasion”. The leaders assembled in Co. Fermanagh declared that developing countries should have “the information and capacity” to collect the taxes owed to them.

The IF campaign – an ecumenical coalition of over 200 organisations aiming at ending hunger across the globe – responded to the Agreement by describing it as “a step in the right direction”, but also as leaving major unfinished business. The coalition’s spokesperson, Sally Copley, commented: “The public argument for a crackdown on tax dodging has been won, but the political battle remains. Future G8s and G20s must urgently finish the job.” She added that while the commitment to creating new mechanisms for information exchange was the right ambition, a clear timeline was needed for the necessary actions to be taken. Stressing in yet starker terms that more work needed to be done, the General Secretary of the British Trades Union Congress, Frances O’Grady, commented that while progress had been made on automatic information exchange, the agreement on reporting profits to tax authorities “is so weak it is bordering on irrelevance”. She also expressed the view that what she described as the Agreement’s “warm platitudes and hazy rhetoric” would be too easy for global companies to avoid.

There is no doubt that campaigning makes a difference. Writing in the Gazette (14th June issue), Tearfund’s Northern Ireland Director, Tim Magowan, stated unequivocally that “there are five million children alive this year because of these campaigns over the last 20 years”. Agreements at such highprofile yet very short gatherings of world leaders are inevitably the fruit of much earlier discussions and negotiations at various levels, and they do mark stages in progress.

Clearly, there is now the challenge to put the intentions of the G8 leaders into real effect and, for that reason, campaigners and the Churches must not only watch this space with considerable vigiance but must also keep up the pressure


 

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Letters to the Editor

Bishop Warke’s comments on British ‘immigrants’

It really will not do for Bishop Roy Warke to dismiss the Revd Stanley Monkhouse as having recently arrived from the Church of England with notions (letter, 14th June). Would he have dared make his assertion of one who had arrived from India or Africa? But then we all hate the English.

How fortunate that the prelate’s forebears did not dismiss the Romano-British Patrick with his Latin liturgy and Imperial culture, or Gilbert of Limerick and Malachy of Armagh for imposing territorial dioceses and recognised monastic rule from the wider Church.

Perhaps Bishop Warke is a true son of the Reformation. Not a lot of indigenous insight came from Erin on that score, but rather more from England.

It never does us harm to learn how others see us, but it is rarely comfortable. I feel sympathy for Bishop Warke, for my treasured ecclesiastical world – that of Gregg and Simms, of Rennison and Jenkins – has ebbed, just as he has watched his wane. Nonetheless, God omnipotent reigneth, the Holy Ghost yet troubles the dark waters of complacency and the troubling and radical person of Jesus Christ continues to speak ‘in mouth of friend and stranger’.

Hear the uncomfortable words! We are called to be priests not chaplains – and this applies as much to the royal priesthood of the laity. Perhaps, having served mostly out of Ireland, I would not count with Bishop Warke as ‘one of our own’; I may not ‘know our ways’.

The Angel of the Revelation did know the ways of the Seven Churches of Asia. Bishop Warke appears certain that the Church of Ireland is Philadelphia, but has he entertained the idea that we might have a touch of Sardis or Laodicea?

Whatever our past greatness, we should take warning, for all seven stand ruined and forsaken.

Michael Thompson (The Revd) 4 Place de la Courtille Saint Gengoux le National 71460 France

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Despite an intimacy with the Church of Ireland of only 19 years, I am not troubled about Roy Warke’s opinion of my fitness to speak (letter, 14th June) because, unlike his, my thoughts are based on observation rather than assumption and nostalgia.

He refers to “immigrants from across the Irish Sea”, implying that I am one of those who, in the words of a song he quoted, ‘came to try and teach us their ways, and blame us just for being what we are’.

Not long after I took up a post in Dublin in 1988, won as a result of open competition, I was berated by a gentleman for taking a job that could have been given to an Irish person. It seems that such xenophobia, even perhaps racism, remains alive and well in the Church of Ireland.

I am indeed fortunate that I, the most humble of Englishmen, am allowed to serve in the Church of Ireland.

Stanley Monkhouse (The Revd) The Rectory Coote Street Portlaoise Co. Laois

At a recent meeting of the Cookstown Clerical Society, there was unanimous support for the Church of Ireland/Methodist interchangeability of ministries. Several members, with over 40 years of ministry in the Church of Ireland, used the phrase “long overdue”.

Whilst there was recognition of arguments for and against the arrangement, that might occupy canon lawyers or Church historians, the overwhelming sentiment was that this move towards greater unity should have a much-needed, positive impact at parish level, where some ministers and congregations are struggling.

Greater mutual support and cooperation is to be welcomed, encouraged and promoted.

With wonderful stories of cooperation between Methodist and Church of Ireland ministers in parishes in the past, the recently-gathered members of the Cookstown Clerical Society offer their heartfelt prayers and support for this initiative, which reinforces the truth that “Christ is our peace; he has reconciled us to God in one body by the cross”.

May we all continue to meet in his name and share his peace.

Andrew Rawding (The Revd) President of the Cookstown Clerical Society Holy Trinity Rectory 82 Dungannon Road Coalisland Co. Tyrone BT71 4HT

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Clogher report

As one whose early ministry was spent in Clogher Diocese, may I congratulate Glenn Moore on his report contained in the ‘Diocesan Focus’ article in the Gazette issue dated 31st May.

I was the first ordained by Bishop Alan Buchanan as curate in Monaghan (1960-62) and subsequently served as rector in Cleenish (1962-68) and then Magheracross (1968-73).

It was very encouraging to read of such a varied list of activities being undertaken all over the diocese, covering youth, community, mission, healing ministry and Mothers’ Union.

Words fail me to explain what I, and my late wife, Sadie, owe to the dedicated members of the Church of Ireland whom we have known and respected for many years.

Gerald Sproule (The Revd) 4 Hilden Park Lisburn BT27 4UG


Columns

Soap – Down at St. David’s

Musings – Alison Rooke – Barbara Pym – and church vestries


 

Book Reviews

INSIDE GRIEF Editor: Stephen Oliver Publisher: SPCK

The Compassion Quest Author: Trystan Owain Hughes Publisher: Royal Irish Academy

HOPE IN ‘BOMB CITY’ Author: Ben Forde Publisher: Drumcree House


 

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