COI Gazette – 6th November 2015

Archbishop of Canterbury celebrates with Corrymeela

At the Service of Thanksgiving for Corrymeela in St Anne’s Cathedral are (from left) the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby; Roman Catholic Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin; Methodist President the Revd Brian Anderson; and former Presbyterian Moderator the Very Revd Dr Ken Newell. (Photo: Karen Bushby)

At the Service of Thanksgiving for Corrymeela in St Anne’s Cathedral are (from left) the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby; Roman Catholic Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin; Methodist President the Revd Brian Anderson; and former Presbyterian Moderator the Very Revd Dr Ken Newell. (Photo: Karen Bushby)

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, celebrated 50 years of the Corrymeela Community at a service in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on the afternoon of Sunday 1st November.

For this service of thanksgiving, he was joined by other Church leaders, including the Roman Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin; former Presbyterian Moderator the Very Revd Dr Ken Newell; Methodist President the Revd Brian Anderson; and the President of the Irish Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Donald Watts.

The service was led by Corrymeela Community Leader Pádraig Ó Tuama and featured an extended liturgy written by John Bell from the Iona Community as well as music from both Voices Together and St Anne’s Cathedral Choir.




The annual observance of Remembrance-tide never fails to bring home the reality and horror of war. It is an annual spur to do all that we can to stop it from happening. Yet, wars keep happening, as we know only too well. Indeed, in St Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 24: 7, Jesus says: “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” War, together with famine and natural disasters (“earthquakes”), is part of what will give way in the end to the fullness of the Kingdom of God – the Kingdom of peace and healing. It is to that Kingdom that we must ever look; the values of that Kingdom are the values after which all Christian people are called to strive and which they are called to try, by God’s grace, to make real in the here and now, however ‘against the odds’ such hopeful efforts may seem to be.

The fact that we are not to be “alarmed” by wars happening does not suggest that we should be complacent, simply resigning ourselves to the fact of war. Rather, the Church must be both realistic and full of hope for a different world. Christians must never give up praying for peace and working for peace.

Of course, Remembrance Day itself marks the day on which World War I ended – at 11.00am on the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918 – and Remembrance Sunday brings this to the heart of regular Christian worship in cathedrals and parish churches. Those who gave their lives in World War II and in other conflicts since 1918 are also remembered – and there have been all too many of them, including over the decades of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Whereas, in Ireland, Remembrance-tide observations have been somewhat controversial in the past, including the wearing of a poppy, today the occasions seem to have more potential actually to bring people together from across the different traditions. It is a token of the much deeper mutual respect that has grown over recent years as a result of the peace process in Northern Ireland. Last year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny laid a wreath at the war memorial in Enniskillen, stating at the time that the event held poignancy because of the Provisional IRA’s bombing of the Remembrance ceremonies in the town in 1987. Also last year, the Republic of Ireland’s Ambassador laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in London, the Republic participating in London’s Remembrance ceremony for the first time since 1946. The Republic of Ireland effectively left the Commonwealth in 1948 when it declared itself a republic. Remembrance-tide is about honouring those who

gave their lives so that we today could live in freedom from tyranny. We often take the many freedoms we enjoy almost for granted, but the need to protect those very freedoms lies at the heart of what Remembrance- tide is all about. Moreover, we have the responsibility to make the best possible use of the freedoms which have been so hard won. Those freedoms must not be squandered in self-centred living that takes no account of the needs of others both around us and further afield. Remembering the sacrifice of others is surely, in its own way, an inspiration to make our own sacrifices.


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Letters to the Editor

The state of the Church of Ireland

I SHARE Canon Ronnie Clark’s concern (Letter, 16th October) that he should be able to receive the Eucharist every Sunday in a parish close to him.

Perhaps this is an issue for Area Deaneries to talk about among themselves in order that proper provision is made for faithful members of our Church who wish to partake of the sacrament at least weekly.

I fear, however, that bringing it to the letters page of the Gazette will serve no other purpose than simply to elicit repackaged prejudice against the Church of Ireland in the North of Ireland where, contrary to some opinion, there are a good many devoted Anglicans.

I served my second curacy in a multi-parish setup and, along with plenty of other priests of the Church of Ireland, appreciate the challenges of providing ministry and worship Sunday by Sunday with diminishing clerical and lay reader teams.

With careful management, it should be possible to have Holy Communion at least once a Sunday within a group of parishes.

There is much indeed to be said about the state or ‘polity’ of the Church of Ireland, but perhaps we would best begin with unity and understanding among our increasingly diverse membership.

In these times of declining numbers and increasing diversity, we shouldn’t be turning on each other but working together to build up the body, which is made up of many parts, while appreciating and valuing the different gifts of the same Spirit.

Nigel Kirkpatrick (The Revd) St Dorothea’s Rectory 237 Lower Braniel Road Belfast

AS A 92-year-old, retired Church of Ireland clergyman, I would like to congratulate Canon Clark on his excellent letter in the 16th October Gazette.

I have also expressed to various clergy my concerns in the past few years about the wide divisions between the Church in the North and South of our island.

Whilst I appreciate that the different forms of service appearing in today’s Church are a way of involving new members, I feel that too often the traditional liturgy, so important to so many of us, is being totally disregarded.

I now find that there is no local place of worship where I live in Co. Down that I feel comfortable going to and so I travel to St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

Hopefully, more consid- eration is going to be shown in the future to our rich, traditional forms of worship in Northern Ireland.

Noble Hamilton (Canon)
67 Meadowvale Waringstown Co. Armagh

Knowing my neighbouring colleagues as I do, I would be extremely surprised if the Ards Peninsula is really so liturgically barren as Canon Ronnie Clark (Letters, 16th October) describes it, with Morning and Evening Prayer (if not Holy Communion) conducted weekly across its churches.

In case I appear pedantic, the Canons require that Holy Communion be administered at least once a month, which suggests to me that the Church of Ireland recognises within itself a breadth of tradition in regard to the matter.

Certainly let the frequency of Holy Communion be discussed in our parishes, but the implication (as it appears to me) that such frequency is a measure of whether one is truly Anglican, or merely a Baptist who enjoys dressing up (the Revd Elaine Murray, Letters 23rd October) is both incorrect and quite hurtful.

In any case, may I assure Canon Clark of a warm welcome at our weekly celebration of Holy Communion in St Mark’s, Newtownards, on Sundays at 8.30am (1st Sunday at 10am; 3rd Sunday at 6.30pm).

Chris Matchett (The Revd)
St Mark’s Rectory 36 Belfast Road Newtownards BT23 4TT

AS A long standing worshipper in the Church of Ireland in Co. Down and on the Ards Peninsula, I must take issue with the letter from Canon Ronnie Clark, published in the 12th October Gazette under the somewhat portentous title of ‘The state of the Church of Ireland’.

Canon Clark’s description of the Ards Peninsula as a “liturgical wilderness” is inaccurate and wholly unjust and his suggestion that “those in authority [are] merely hirelings” is close to offensive. I can recall similar criticism being voiced from no other source, clerical or lay.

The fact is that Church of Ireland congregations in this Area Deanery are offered a varied and attractive range of styles of worship each month, with opportunities to take part in a celebration of Holy Communion on most Sundays and on Wednesday mornings throughout the month.

The pattern of worship which has developed, certainly in the parish of Greyabbey and Kircubbin with Ballyphilip and Ardquin, appears to have found favour with all sections of the congregations, who are able each month to find an appealing selection of services in which they actively participate.

I am afraid I simply do not recognise any contemporary resonance in Canon Clark’s views. Perhaps he finds it difficult or uncomfortable to accept that the Church of Ireland, like so many other aspects of life in Northern Ireland, has changed in the 39 years during which he has been elsewhere and that those changes are by no means retrogressive.

Noel Cornick,  Greyabbey Co. Down BT22

The Anglican Church in North America

AS SOMEONE ordained in the Church of Ireland, where I was honoured to serve for 10 years, then subsequently working 17 years in The Episcopal Church (in the USA), I feel that I can weigh in on the recent discussion in the Gazette concerning the status of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

Most Anglicans around the world think that TEC has walked away from the commonly held understanding of what it means to be Anglican – or even Christian – especially in light of what TEC understands about core Christian truth and moral teaching.

However, it is to be remembered that there are many mainstream dioceses and parishes left within TEC which struggle to keep the faith within a failing institution.

On the other hand, most Anglicans around the globe know ACNA to adhere to C.S. Lewis’s “mere Christianity” and healthy Anglicanism. Because the ACNA is missionary minded, much of the third- world Church has witnessed its heart and mind.

It seems that the Church of Ireland, by its own definition of communion, is de facto in communion with ACNA. This has already been acted upon in many practical ways on both sides of ‘the pond’.

Undoubtedly some official status will emerge sometime next year confirming the reality on the ground. This can only be good news for Irish Anglicans as ACNA has learned how to plant hundreds of thriving parishes, reaching a younger generation for Christ. Also, the Church of Ireland can teach ACNA much about pastoral care and community engagement.

Unfortunately, the relationship of TEC to global Anglicanism is at least fractured and my guess is that it will become more marginalized in the near future.

Robin T. Adams (The Revd) Church of the Word,  Virginia USA

YOUR ISSUES of October 16th and 23rd are good illustrations of the current fragmented state of the Church of Ireland.

Canon Clark’s letter and recent correspondence about schismatic Anglican speakers from North America suggest that the Diocese of Down is barely Anglican.

Photographs of the recent ordinations by the Bishops of Down and Derry, showing some clergy wearing black scarves and others stoles, seem to indicate that there is a quite serious split among the clergy there.
Meanwhile, a photograph of a Cork ordination showing two clergy wearing dalmatics, which used to be worn by the deacon and sub-deacon at High Mass, suggests that that diocese is promoting an old-fashioned Roman Catholicism. No modern Catholic priest would know what a dalmatic was.

Robert MacCarthy (The Very Revd) Suirmount Clonmel Co. Tipperary

Abandoned churches

HAVING RECENTLY read Tarquin Blake’s fine, recently published book, Abandoned Churches of Ireland (Collins Press), I was saddened to observe, from some photos of interiors, the disorderly manner of those closures.

I was of the impression that all closures would be done in an orderly manner and that all furnishings would be removed to allow the buildings to decay in a dignified manner.

Harry Williamson
10 Ashley Park

Bangor Co. Down BT20 5RQ

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