COI Gazette – 30th November 2018

Philip Yancey to contribute to Gazette in 2019 Countdown to the monthly Gazette launch

Philip Yancey

Philip Yancey

It is now just weeks until the Gazette reverts to being a monthly publication.

The Gazette is excited to announce that world famous author Philip Yancey is contributing columns for the first three editions. 15 million copies of his books are now in print worldwide and he appeals to a wide spectrum of readers.

Yancey’s books include bestsellers such as The Jesus I Never Knew, What’s So Amazing About Grace?, Where is God When it Hurts? and Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?

The Gazette has a unique place as an All-Ireland publication, within the Church of Ireland. It owes much to those who have produced it over many years, and to its readers. In the future, as in past years, we will seek to be a vital connecting link for the dioceses and parishes. We aim to use our new format to better fulfil our stated objective of providing a forum for Christian thought, developments and debate – seen through a Church of Ireland lens.

We look forward to providing more space for in-depth, researched articles and the introduction of a wide spectrum of content aimed at the people who occupy the pews of our churches and who ensure that parochial life is sustained.

• Each edition will have a column from a noted public individual;

• We will have guest Philip Yancey

  • columnists, reflecting a variety of opinion, writing on a range of important issues;

• The monthly magazine format will allow greater opportunity for considered and in-depth articles, information and Church- wide debate. ‘Considered’ and ‘in-depth’ are vital components in sensible debate in a world of instant and superficial comment;

• Articles with practical advice for aspects of church life;

• As well as new features, articles and columns, we will still include those aspects of the Gazette that our readers value – the letters, the debate, the appointments and the

The monthly Gazette format will not be attempting in any way to compete with the many excellent diocesan and parochial magazines, but will be able to project learning and experience from them across the wider Church.

We believe strongly that the existence of an Ireland- wide publication assists in drawing the Church together. It can support a better degree of understanding amongst Church people. Importantly, the monthly format will also facilitate reporting best practice and celebrating stories of success.

Our changing format is, in part, a recognition of changing times for the world of printed media, as news is increasingly accessed electronically.

The Gazette has needed to recognise this and to reinvent itself to ensure that the platform it uses to facilitate debate and deliver news information to and for the Church, appeals to people in pews across the island. The Board of Church of Ireland Press, the publisher of the Gazette and the Gazette team are convinced that this provides  an opportunity that can be seized.

Even though our format is changing, the directors of the Church of Ireland Press and the Gazette team still retain the aspiration to “advance the Christian religion … in accordance with the doctrines of the Church of Ireland,” as is set out in our company’s Memorandum of Association. We will also continue a valued tradition – to be an independent voice within the Church.




“I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control, and I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns.” These were the anguished words of a mother who lost her son in a mass shooting in California, at the beginning of November.

This mother’s son had previously survived the deadliest mass shooting in US history some 13 months before, in Las Vegas. His life was taken from him when a gunman killed 12 people at a country and western bar in Thousand Oaks, on 8th November.

The statistics are shocking. The BBC report that in the US, “The rate of murder or manslaughter by firearm is the highest in the developed world. There were more than 11,000 deaths because of murder or manslaughter involving a firearm in 2016.” Figures show there were a total of almost 33,600 deaths from guns in 2016, in the US. It is estimated that there are 270 million guns owned by civilians – making the US the highest country for gun ownership in the world.

Taking account of these statistics, there must be a correlation between access to firearms and the high level of deaths arising from them. To introduce some sort of gun control would seem like a necessary step to reducing the number of deaths.
In such circumstances, prayers and kind thoughts are not a substitute for appropriate action.

Perhaps, without realising it, this mother has highlighted an important biblical principle. She has certainly seen it forged from the anvil of her own brutal experience. The book of James cites, “If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” In other words – prayers and thoughts are not a substitute for taking appropriate practical action. It is the equivalent of asking God to do something that we have the capacity to do ourselves.

It is important that we pray for those in need. However, that can never be a substitute for doing what lies in front of us to meet some of that need.

The same is also true of our prayers for peace. We are more aware than ever of a world that seems more uncertain, polarised and prone to violent conflict. It is vital that we pray for peace. It is also just as important that we are agents for that peace we pray for – through loving our neighbour, our enemy or simply the people we encounter every day of the week.

At an unimaginable cost, a bereaved mother has reminded us of something important – sometimes we are the answer to our own prayers.


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