Bishop Ferran Glenfield consecrated for Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh
The Consecration of the Rt Revd Ferran Glenfield as Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, on Friday 31st May in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, was attended by a large number of clergy and lay people from across the Church of Ireland, as well as the Glenfield family – Mrs Jean Glenfield and sons and daughter, Michael (Mick), Richard and Esther – and the new Bishop’s friends and well-wishers, not least from his new United Dioceses.
The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Richard Clarke, was assisted in the consecration ceremony by the Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, the Rt Revd Trevor Williams, and the Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, the Rt Revd Patrick Rooke.
MORE LOVE, PLEASE
St Columba’s lessons for the Church today
The late Bishop Stephen Neill once said of the Anglican fellowship of Churches that it is a missionary but not a proselytising body; that was to say that it had accepted the call to preach the Gospel to non-Christians in all the continents, but that it did not feel itself called to attempt deliberately to turn Christians of other allegiances into Anglicans, though its past was open to criticism in this regard. He went on to talk of the surprising number of eminent men and women who had nonetheless been attracted from other traditions.
What is particularly relevant in his remarks, however, is the missionary emphasis, which has been a particular mark of the Church of Ireland and will make the observance of the 1,450th anniversary of St Columba’s exile to Iona in Scotland especially significant on St Columba’s Day (9th June). Columba is one of the three Celtic saints singled out in the Church of Ireland calendar, along with St Patrick and St Brigid, and is particularly thought of in connection with the mission of the Church.
It is also appropriate to observe such a celebration at a time when there is a renewed interest in Celtic spirituality among Christians of all denominations in Ireland, as well as beyond the confines of the Church. This links in well with the initiative from the Church of Scotland which established the Iona community, based as it is on the restoration of the ancient monastery on that island. The Church of Ireland, because of its history, has a particular stake in the early Christian heritage of this land and this is shown in our commemoration of representative figures of that era. The memory of the missionary endeavour of the Celtic saints and scholars is in itself an incentive to a continued commitment to mission in the very different circumstances of today’s Church.
In the Church of today, there needs to be a confident affirmation of the truth of the Gospel in a questioning and often sceptical environment as well as a determined engagement with the new atheists. Yet there is much encouragement to be found in the way in which a non-Christian world was won for Christ in the early Christian history of this island and in the role of a faith which would not be deterred by any of the difficulties.
As our ‘Figures from Church History’ editorial of 3rd June 2011 noted, many people will recall the remarkable journey to Iona in a curragh crewed by Church members in 1963 to commemorate the 1,400th anniversary of St Columba’s going into exile to that same place and establishing a monastery which became one of the great centres of Celtic spirituality. Although he did some travelling, and even returned to Ireland at least once, Columba’s influence was primarily through the corporate life of the community he founded, which was replicated elsewhere, and through establishing a network of churches. Columba’s attitude to his own death – whereas for many nowadays it is almost an unmentionable subject – is also encouraging. According to the Life of St Columba by Adamnan, the saint prepared his companions for it and exhorted them to love one another.
Mission, community and love are therefore hallmarks of Columba’s legacy. The Church cannot hope to bring others into its fellowship if it is not in itself a community to which others will want to belong, and it cannot reach out either unless it truly loves every human being and is in itself a place of holy love, and is seen and known to be such. The Church of Ireland today is not without its fraught issues, yet a Church that is not at one with itself does not bear good witness and for that reason we do need to learn to love one another more, and yet more. Into every equation in Church life there must be brought, simply, more love. Where mistakes have been made and hurt has been caused, those who make those mistakes – and who hasn’t? – must themselves feel the hurt and do what they can to make things right again. In the Church of Ireland, Columba’s example surely calls us to mission, to better community and, yes, to more love, please.
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Letters to the Editor
Church of Ireland/Methodist interchangeability of ministry
THE MEMBERS of the Covenant Council are to be congratulated in that they have found a way to make progress towards full unity between Anglicans and Methodists by enlarging the possibilities for joint mission and ministry, while respecting the traditions, doctrines, discipline, integrity and identity of both Churches.
Despite what Canon David Crooks writes (Letter, 24th May), the views of the Tractarians on episcopacy were vastly different from those of Hooker.
Whilst Hooker defended episcopacy in the Church of England, he passed no judgement on Presbyterian Churches or the validity of their orders. He also preferred the term ‘presbyter’ to ‘priest’, as he rejected unreformed views of priestly ministry (cf. Book 7 of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity).
In the 17th century, Bishop Jeremy Taylor ejected 42 Presbyterian ministers from their livings in Down and Connor and Dromore, not because they had not been episcopally ordained but because they would not recognize him as their bishop; he regarded them as seditious.
It was not uncommon at that time for Presbyterian ministers to hold livings and to be consecrated as bishops without episcopal re-ordination. Nor was it uncommon in Ireland for a bishop to join in as an equal in Presbyterian ordinations.
John Wesley considered the terms ‘presbyter’ and ‘bishop’ to be interchangeable in the New Testament and he ordained presbyters on the grounds that the need for ministers of the Gospel was too pressing to wait for a consenting bishop.
The phrase ‘apostolic succession’ was first coined by Irenaeus. He meant not ‘who touched whom?’ but ‘who succeeded whom in office, and who passed on an unchanging body of truth and knowledge from the apostles?’ Irenaeus also spoke of such succession of tradition through presbyters. (Adversus Haereses 3: 2, 4: 26).
The important thing was the tradition of apostolic teaching.
Contrary to what the Revd Stanley Monkhouse suggests (Letter, also 24th May), the bishops at General Synod said nothing about sex and a great deal about poverty and injustice.
Sex was only mentioned by a few people who complained it’s all we ever talk about.
Bill Atkins (Canon) Mohill Rectory Mohill Co. Leitrim
I THOUGHT that I was the only member of the Church of Ireland who was surprised and saddened at the decision of Synod which gave approval for the move to integrate the ministries of the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church. Did anyone object to this proposal at Synod?
I was, therefore, very pleased to read the letter from Canon David Crooks (Gazette, 24th May) and I hope that it will lead to many others expressing similar views and to a move to reverse this proposal.
The Church of Ireland is an Episcopal Church and we can thereby be assured that it is a true part of the Holy Catholic Church. The Methodist Presidents are not Bishops and the Methodist Ministers are not priests and would not claim to be so. Like Canon Crooks, I hope and pray for that unity which is in accordance with the will of our Lord Jesus Christ and, in the meantime, I am encouraged by the increasing cooperation between Churches.
I cannot, however, accept any decision which would change or dilute the present order of Bishops, Priests and Deacons which is part of the essence of the Church of Ireland.
Women in the ministry is a welcome development and does not involve any change in doctrine, but the integration of Methodist ministers without Episcopal ordination is another matter entirely.
I pray that those who are in favour of this proposal will carefully consider the effect it will have on our membership of the Anglican Communion, not to mention with the worldwide Holy Catholic Church.
Gerald Williams 8 Gloucester Avenue Donaghadee Co. Down
IT IS, I suppose, only to be expected that Canon David Crooks (Letter, 24th May) should accuse the Church of Ireland of abandoning its commitment to the apostolic succession and the ministry of bishops, priests and deacons in entering into a new relationship with the Methodist Church, to be fully implemented on the ratification of this year’s resolution (passed with only one dissentient) through legislation to be brought before next year’s General Synod.
Canon Crooks seems to have overlooked the view taken at the time of the Restoration by one of the greatest defenders of the faith and order of the Anglican tradition, John Bramhall (Archbishop of Armagh 1661-3).
Dealing with the ministers from the Cromwellian period who had not been episcopally ordained, and explaining that they could not legally hold office unless they actually were, Bramhall stated: “I dispute not the value of your ordination, nor those acts you have exercised by virtue of it; what you are, or might be, here when there was no law, or in other churches abroad.”
In this, Bramhall was fully in line with a view generally held in the seventeenth century which upheld episcopacy and the threefold ministry where it might be had, but refused to unchurch those for whom it was unobtainable or those on the continent of Europe who had not maintained it.
The current proposal to bring about a form of interchange of ministries between the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church puts things in the right order – starting through the Covenant with the mutual recognition of Churches and putting the question of ministries within this context.
The resulting arrangements will fully respect the distinctive characters of the two Churches, whilst permitting a sharing and, where appropriate, interchange of those who exercise the ministry of the Word and Sacraments and those whose task is that of oversight (‘bishops’ in the Church of Ireland and ‘episcopal ministers’ in the Methodist Church). The arrangements do nothing to undermine the continued existence of a ministry of service by ‘deacons’ in the Church of Ireland.
It seems to me that such a system quite sufficiently conforms both to the requirements of the Ordinal and to the Preamble and Declaration prefixed to the Constitution of the Church of Ireland.
Michael Kennedy (Canon) Lisnadill Rectory 60 Newtownhamilton Road Armagh
ON ATTENDING morning service at my church on Sunday 12th May, I noticed that the lectionary had omitted verses 15, 18 and 19 from the passage in Revelation 22: 12-21.
I would be interested to know who takes on the authority to disregard the Canon of Scripture in a consecutive passage by omitting these verses and why they were not included, especially when we read 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17.
Agnes McElhinney (Mrs) Milford Co. Donegal
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