Dr William Morton installed as Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
Last Saturday (24th September), the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland began a new chapter in its history with the Installation of Very Revd William Morton as Dean.
He was installed by the Precentor, Canon Peter Campion, before a congregation of over 500 people, which included President Michael D. Higgins.
Also present in the cathedral was the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr; the Taoiseach’s Aide-de-Camp; the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster; the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness; Assistant Commissioner of An Garda Síochána Jack Nolan; and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
THE SEASON OF CREATION AND THE ISSUE OF BOTTLED WATER
We are approaching the end of what is known, particularly in ecumenical circles, as the Season of Creation, also known as ‘Creation Time’, which runs from 1st September through to 4th October. During this period, the Season is being marked through prayer and action focused on care for creation. The 1st September was proclaimed as a day of prayer for creation by Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I for the Orthodox in 1989 and was embraced by the other major Christian European Churches in 2001 and by Pope Francis for the Roman Catholic Church in 2015.
The 4th October is the day on which St Francis of Assisi is venerated in different Christian communions.
This special focus on the gift of creation and humanity’s responsibility for caring for the created order coincides happily with, for us in the Church of Ireland at least, the more familiar period of Harvest Thanksgiving. This is the time when congregations right across Ireland gather both to thank God for the fruit of the earth and to reflect on their Christian responsibilities as far as the environment and the sharing of food are concerned. Of course, the harvest of nature is complemented by the harvest of the rich variety of human talent and ability. God does not give anyone more than anyone else in order to deprive the other; rather, God gives to the earth and to the whole human population, and it is our responsibility to share our good gifts as wisely and as well as we can.
One of the issues being highlighted during the current Season of Creation is that of bottled water, with a 2015 World Council of Churches’ appeal to eliminate the use of bottled water in churches and institutions in Europe and North America having been brought to the fore again. The principles behind that appeal were set out in a 24th July 2015 letter from the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) International Reference Group, which stated: “The EWN strongly believes that among many impediments of realisation of the human right to water is the ‘bottled water’ industries. They have invaded practically every nook and corner of the world.
Through their aggressive marketing strategies, they have successfully captured the minds of people, particularly in the ‘developed’ countries, to think that ‘bottled water’ is safer and healthier than tap water. Into the bargain, we have not only people from countries where tap water is not safe to drink buying bottled water at much higher prices, but also in developed countries in Europe and North America, where tap water is safe to drink.”
The EWN expressed its strong opposition to the use of bottled water in countries where tap water is safe to drink and its sadness at the sale in many offices of Churches and ecumenical organisations in Europe and North America of bottled water, as well as its being offered at meetings in those regions. The EWN also indicated a series of “adverse impacts” of the use of bottled water, including:
• Governments shunning their responsibilities to provide safe drinking water to the poor because they say people have the alternative of bottled water;
• Typically, a litre of water is wasted for each litre of water that is bottled;
• Bottled water adds billions of plastic bottles to the burden of solid waste, with it taking 450 years for a single plastic water bottle to decompose and with toxic air pollutants resulting from their incineration;
• Plastic debris kills more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals.
We are inclined to take the sight of bottled water as a normal part of modern life, even if one sometimes wonders just why it should be necessary to sell water in this way. The EWN has made important points about the sale of bottled water that need serious attention by individuals and the Churches as national institutions.
It is good that these points have been brought to public attention once again during this Season of Creation.
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