COI Gazette – 6th October 2017

Doing something with the Five Marks of Mission

Speakers at the BACI Autumn Lecture: (from left) Philip McKinley, David Ritchie, the Revd Lesley Robinson, Canon Paul Houston and the Revd Jack Kinkead. (Photo: Lynn Glanville)

Speakers at the BACI Autumn Lecture: (from left) Philip McKinley, David Ritchie, the Revd Lesley Robinson, Canon Paul Houston and the Revd Jack Kinkead. (Photo: Lynn Glanville)

The Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission came under examination at BACI’s Autumn Lecture. The Biblical Association of the Church of Ireland engaged five speakers to bring their perspectives on the Five Marks to the lecture which took place in Castleknock parish centre, Dublin.

The Revd Jack Kinkead ( Wicklow) spoke on Tell – to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom. The Revd Lesley Robinson (Clontarf) addressed Teach – to teach, baptise and nurture new believers.

The third mark: Tend – to respond to human need by loving service, was taken on by Philip McKinley (Church of Ireland Chaplain in DCU).

Canon Paul Houston (Castleknock) spoke on Transform – to transform unjust structures, challenge violence and pursue peace and reconciliation.



Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with a wide-ranging group of Church of Ireland people – from every corner of the island. A lively conversation got around to talking about how good, or otherwise, we in the Church of Ireland are at ‘doing’ mission.

One of the observations was that there are lots of missional-type things happening in all sorts of places. It is just that we don’t always understand that what is taking place is mission – or out of modesty we simply don’t frame what we are doing in those terms. Yet mission is what it is.

One of my happiest memories of ministry is of involvement in a senior citizens’ coffee morning. Once a month a team organised coffee and scones; others ferried people to and from the event. We sang some hymns together and had a thought from the Bible. It was done without fanfare by the team. I’m excited to know that this initiative has developed over the years since my involvement.

St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast was at the heart of Culture Night Belfast on Friday 22nd September. This was an evening when thousands of people flooded into the city for a night of free events. Apparently, the Cathedral was buzzing from late afternoon as it opened its doors to crowds of people for cultural events. Those who came may or may not normally have set foot in a church. Compline, held at 9.00pm, was a huge draw, with some 900 people remaining in the Cathedral for this late-evening sung service. It was an act of generous hospitality and welcome by the Cathedral.

You will have read of the break-in and vandalism in Christ Church, Londonderry (Gazette, 25th September, page 12). This is a Church of Ireland church situated in the city. Perpetrators had smashed their way into the church through a stained-glass window. They stole items dedicated to the memory of parishioners’ loved ones, committed acts of vandalism and caused extensive damage to the organ by cutting wires and cables in the instrument’s inner workings.

Following an open invitation by Archdeacon Miller, rector of the parish, for people to show their support for Christ Church by joining them for Sunday worship, scores of people from across the community attended the church’s regular Sunday morning service.

Among those who attended were Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan and her party colleagues, Councillors Patricia Logue and Eric McGinley; the former SDLP MP, Mark Durkan, and party colleagues John Dallat (MLA) and Cllr Angela Dobbins; Independent Councillors Gary Donnelly and Sean Carr; and former Ulster Unionist Deputy Mayor, Alderman Mary Hamilton. The Administrator of St Eugene’s Cathedral, Fr Paul Farren, also attended the service.

Archdeacon Miller has co-written a book with Fr Paul Farren called Forgiveness Remembers. In his sermon, he said: “There seems a certain irony about it this morning, as I stand in the pulpit. The reason we wrote the book is that we know from personal experience and from our years of ministry that forgiveness is not easy; it is, however, non- negotiable and essential.”

Archdeacon Miller said that the day after the vandalism was discovered he had been asked in an interview whether he had forgiven the vandals. “My answer was to say that it is a journey that I have yet to begin to make, but a journey I am going to have to make.”

Would the members of that hurting church describe their action in terms of mission? Possibly, or possibly not. But few could miss their gracious response as anything other than challenging violence of every kind and pursuing peace and reconciliation.

The Anglican Communion has defined mission, with wonderful simplicity, in the Five Marks of Mission. Are the random examples we have described above acts of mission? Those involved may not have framed it in those terms – but it is hard to argue they are not. The same goes for countless actions taking place every day of the week, in parishes large and small.

Is the Church of Ireland a missional organisation? Possibly more than we realise!


Home News

  • ‘From monuments to movement’ – Bishop Rooke endorses Fresh Expressions of Church at Tuam, Killala and Achonry Diocesan Synod
  • Covenant ‘Church on the Hill’, Maghaberry, welcomes new minister
  • Little books at the RCB Library
  • Camino de Glendalough – a physical and spiritual journey
  • Lady Eames at Derry and Raphoe MU service
  • Diocese of Armagh ordination
  • Clogher Diocese commissioning


Rethinking Church – Time to retreat!

Life Lines – From Harvey to Maria … and beyond


World News

  • Christian Aid launches Rohingya Crisis Appeal
  • Four new bishops and two new dioceses in Burundi
  • Praying and caring for creation
  • Former banker is new ACO finance director
  • US bishops urge continued protection for child migrants
  • Archbishop Justin excited by prospect of ‘extraordinary’ Primates’ Meeting
  • Tennessee church shooting


Faith Lives

Claire Henderson, from Omagh, describes her faith journey amid illness – ‘facing the world head-on’.


Letters to the Editor

Same-sex marriage debate

I MUST challenge the Revd Colin Hall-Thompson on his assertion that gay people are letting God down (Letters, 15th September).

Does he not accept that sexuality is from birth for either homosexual or heterosexual and there is no
choice involved.

This kind of thoughtless assertion is perhaps one of the reasons young people struggling with sexual identity often harbour suicidal thoughts.

David Arkley, Belfast


News Extra

  • Interfaith events in Dungannon and Dublin
  • SEARCH journal continues reformation themes
  • Changing Attitude autumn lecture
  • Harvest-themed ministry resources on offer from newly launched diocesan website