COI Gazette – 5th February 2016

Summer Madness faith survey suggests ‘change needs to happen from the top down’ – Bishop Pat Storey

Worship at Summermadness

Worship at Summer Madness

The need for age-inclusiveness in church decision-making has been highlighted by Bishop Pat Storey, President of the Church of Ireland Youth Department, in a written response to the results of a recent faith survey conducted by Summer Madness.

The survey report, launched at a time when parishes are being encouraged to have a Day of Prayer for young people and youth ministry, found that out of 100 people of faith, 84 per cent came to that faith at under 25 years of age and 74 per cent of these were under 18.

For almost 30 years, the youth festival, Summer Madness, has been drawing together young people from across Ireland to celebrate and explore the Christian faith.

The data for its faith journeys survey was gathered from the answers that 1,000 Christian believers, from across the denominations, gave to a simple set of questions about how, when and why they came to faith.

As well as the statistical results, the report contains some analysis of the patterns that emerged, along with preliminary responses from a number of church leaders, including Bishop Storey.




Following the recent publication on the website of the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Most Revd Philip Freier, of the membership of the Primates’ Standing Committee as elected at last month’s Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury, the Gazette asked the Anglican Communion Office in London to confirm the full results of the election. It was somewhat surprising to be told by a spokesperson in reply that no details were available as the Primates’ Meeting had been private and that the only public information was that contained in the Primates’ communiqué.

When we then asked the spokesperson to confirm that such a body known as the Primates’ Standing Committee actually exists and, if so, how its membership is determined, we were told that this also could not be confirmed due to the Primates’ Meeting having been private.

It is therefore very welcome that the Archbishop of Armagh has separately confirmed not only the existence of the Primates’ Standing Committee but also the fact that he was one of those elected to the body last month (Standing Committee news, page 12).

According to Archbishop Freier’s report, there were five Primates voted on to the Primates’ Standing Committee, by regions. Dr Freier represents the Asia Pacific region, while Archbishop John Holder from the Caribbean represents the Americas, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba from South Africa represents Africa, Archbishop Mouneer Anis from Egypt represents Asia and Archbishop Clarke represents Europe. It is not clear whether or not Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is a member, but one would naturally expect that he would be the ex-officio Chair – but that may or may not be the case. Who knows? However, given the exchanges mentioned above, we did not ask the Anglican Communion Office to enlighten us in this regard.

The secrecy in London over this matter is disturbing. While the Primates’ Meeting is held in private, it has great influence in the Anglican Communion. The Primates’

Meeting is one of the four recognised Instruments of the Communion, the others being the Archbishop of Canterbury in person, the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council. Transparency in such matters should be the order of the day, not least because somebody somewhere presumably pays for whatever expenses are incurred by each and all of the Instruments. To withhold details of the membership or method of election of any part of the Instruments is simply unacceptable.

What is more, controversy has arisen over the decision by the Primates’ Meeting last month to restrict aspects of the participation of the US Episcopal Church in the life of the Communion. As previously reported, canon lawyer Professor Norman Doe and the Moderator of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, Archdeacon Malcolm French, have both questioned the legality of the Primates’ move against the US Episcopal Church (Gazette reports, 22nd and 29th January).

While the Primates have sought to portray their move simply as a consequence of the position that the US Episcopal Church has adopted over same-sex marriage, there is no doubt that the ‘consequence’ comes in the form of a disciplinary penalty. The Primates stated in their communiqué last month that they were “requiring that for a period of three years TEC [The Episcopal Church] no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision-making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity”.

Given that the Primates’ Meeting could issue such a statement, the lack of transparency that the Gazette encountered when seeking basic information from the Anglican Communion Office about the Primates’ Meeting is all the more concerning.


Home News

  • Launch of June 2017 joint diocesan pilgrimage from Co. Carlow to Echternach, Luxembourg
  • Joint vision for 100 days of prayer
  • Ulster Rugby players share stories of faith in packed Belfast Cathedral
  • Sexuality debate – QUB talk to mark key events
  • Day of Prayer for young people and youth ministry
  • Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin – 45th Christian Unity service in Irish
  • Feed the Minds representatives meet with C.of I. Council for Mission
  • Affirming Catholicism Ireland welcomes Guide to the Conversation



Rethinking Church – Time for another bite of the Apple?

Life Lines – A wondrous gift is given


World News

  • Archbishops reflect on Primates’ Meeting
  • ACNA statement explains participation of Archbishop Beach in Primates’ Meeting
  • Peace and security comes by doing things ‘with’ people, not ‘to’ them – Archbishop Welby
  • Bishop counters Primates over fixed date for Easter
  • Jamaican Anglicans pool efforts for lasting community change


Book Reviews

Author: Patrick Woodhouse Publisher: Bloomsbury

Author: Kathryn Greene- McCreight Publisher: Bloomsbury

Authors: Gordon Giles, David Thompson, Valerie Ruddle, Janet Wootton and Christopher Idle Publisher: The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland


News Extra

Standing Committee News – January 2016