COI Gazette – 4th May 2018

‘Save our spire’ appeal launched in Donegal

Scaffolding erected around the tower of Donegal parish church

Scaffolding erected around the tower of Donegal parish church

A campaign has been launched to help renovate one of Donegal town’s most iconic landmarks, Donegal parish church, whose tower and spire are in urgent need of repair.

The church, which was built in 1828, is one of the oldest buildings in the historic town centre and the second most- photographed building, after the nearby Donegal castle.

The church tower and spire are an instantly recognisable feature on the Donegal town skyline.

Every year, thousands of tourists visit the church and enjoy the peace and stillness away from the bustle of the streets, shops and hotels around the Diamond.



As we have noted before on this page, the personal circumstances around abortion are hard to imagine – and yet we must. How do we put ourselves in the shoes of someone in a traumatic pregnancy?

We often make the assumption that the life challenges that can lead to abortion being contemplated are something that happen to others, but not to us. However, what if those challenges were faced by ourselves? What would we then decide about the Eighth Amendment?

This debate is around real lives and real circumstances – things that do not always just happen to other people. In some ways, we can never truly put ourselves into the situation of another person. Yet, unless we try our best to do so, we end up making cold decisions. To try and understand any of the human circumstances around the challenge of abortion is not to be emotive – it is to appreciate the humanity of the challenge.

This does not mean that the voters in the Irish Republic can avoid making a decision on 25th May 2018.

To those mindful of the flaws inherent within the Eighth Amendment, the suggestion that there
should be unrestricted access to abortion in the first 12 weeks seems almost random, and quite shocking. Nevertheless, this is the stated next step by our legislators if there is a vote for repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

At 12 weeks, the foetus has a heartbeat and can clench its fist. It is startling how easy it is to become detached from the scientific facts on this subject. If you have ever seen a 3-D scan, this lime-sized unborn baby, at 12 weeks, is a recognisable human being. The arbitrary inclusion of unrestricted access to abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy speaks to a stark detachment from the bare facts.

If unrestricted access to abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy had always been available on this island, it poses an interesting question. What guarantee do any of us have that we would be here to read these words, or indeed do any of the other things we will do today?

There is always an assumption when trying to think through any difficult issue, that those challenges are always something that happen to other people – not to us.

There is always the assumption, in each of us, that abortion is something that happens to other babies in the womb – not to us.


Home News

  • Institution and installation of new dean for Kildare union and Newbridge union
  • Diocese of Clogher appointment
  • Mothers’ Union to unite in global moment of worship
  • Book by Strabane father and son reaches high places
  • Former primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church visits Cork
  • The Strokestown (Bumlin) vestry book 1811-1870 – Archive of the month May 2018
  • Annual Saying Goodbye service at Belfast Cathedral
  • Climate justice candle is back
  • New chapter opens for the Kilbroney Centre
  • Church of Ireland plans environmentally sustainable General Synod
  • Diocesan Mothers’ Union president commissioned



Rethinking Church – Please – no turkey on the menu!

Life Lines – From each idol that would keep us

World News

  • Evangelical leaders discuss future of their movement in Trump era
  • Justin Welby breaks ground on new library
  • Tributes to 87-year-old US priest who died after being attacked by burglars at his home
  • Photos of the week
  • Rohingya refugees drift at sea for nine days
  • 157 victims of the genocide in Rwanda buried in Ruhango memorial
  • UK bishop welcomes proposed plastic ban


More bishops make statements on Eighth Amendment

Letter to the editor

Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

I WOULD like to address Revd John Sutcliffe’s rebuttal of my position concerning Jerusalem and Israel (Letters, 30th March), if possible in the brevity of a letter.

Revd Sutcliffe does not wish to do “battle” but manages to cite examples of destruction of Arab communities following the creation of the State of Israel, claiming that 80% of the Arab population left or were driven from their homes, with surrounding Arab countries finding it “difficult to assimilate them”.

He suggests that we have much to learn from organisations such as Embrace the Middle East, which in practice embraces all in the Middle East, except Israeli Jews.

These tragedies also befell a similar number of Middle Eastern Jews fleeing Arab countries at the same time, but whose absorption into Israel did not create a refugee problem. They did successfully assimilate into the new country, although many did remain in tents for several years until Israel had the resources to adequately house them.

Conversely, by stubborn principle or lack of humanitarian concern, most of the oil-rich Arab countries have done little to help or absorb their Palestinian Arab brethren, who were caught up in the melee and thereby remain political pawns to this day.

Yes, it is true that Lebanese and Jordanian Christians have a place in government, but the same can be said for Arabs in Israel. The Arabs in Israel clearly have more rights and advantages than many who live just across the border in the rest of the Islamic Middle East.

The world will bend over backwards to back the Arab cause over the Jewish one, and the Palestinian Arabs are the darlings of the NGOs and governments of most of the western world.

They forget that out of that Holy Land – that they feel so free to give away as another Islamic Caliphate, instead of the democratic and benevolent Hebraic governance of the State of Israel – came forth the very laws and structures, via the Bible, that most Western governments were based on. The Arabs have the entire region of the Middle East, and they want tiny Israel too. Is God being unfair?

Those who believe biblical prophecy must also concede that Scripture predicts a return of the Jews to Zion before the Lord’s return. Surely we are living in those days?

Colin Nevin

Bangor Co. Down

News Extra

  • Stolen heart of St Laurence returns to Christ Church Cathedral
  • Lunch to mark ‘retirement’ of Lynda Neilands
  • Celebration of charities’ work as St Patrick’s Cathedral fund distributed
  • Popular religious broadcaster retires
  • Appointment
  • Retirement
  • Death