Co. Down rector elected as next Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh
The rector of Hillsborough, Co. Down, the Revd Ferran Glenfield, was elected last Monday as the next Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh. The election took place at a meeting of the Episcopal Electoral College at Church House, Armagh.
Mr Glenfield, who was born in 1954 in Belfast, succeeds the Rt Revd Ken Clarke, who is now Director of the South American Mission Society, Ireland.
A graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, Mr Glenfield was a schoolteacher before training for the ordained ministry, teaching Geography at Friends’ School, Lisburn, and at Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt.
After completing theological studies at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Oxford, he was ordained in 1991 for the Douglas union of parishes in Cork, continuing to serve in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross as rector of the Rathcooney union of parishes (Glanmire).
DEBT AND GROWTH
The Republic’s government has won plaudits for its strategy for dealing with the debt crisis. This has been a huge challenge but, despite the European Commission’s recent indication that growth has resumed, driven by an “impressive resurgence in Irish exports”, the intensity of the focus on dealing with debt has left a gap in terms of a clear strategy for broad economic growth.
While it is understandably difficult to merge the two – dealing with debt and planning for growth – a clearer vision of how the government is going to get more money into the economy, thereby stimulating growth and employment, is needed.
It has often been noted that the government’s austerity measures have not led to such scenes of civil unrest as have been witnessed in other similarly beleaguered states in the eurozone, including Greece and Italy. Disturbances arising from protests in those countries have at times been extremely difficult to contain. Perhaps one of the reasons for the absence of such scenes in the Irish context is that people have understood that there must be ‘pain’ before there can be ‘gain’, and have hoped that the ‘gain’ might not be long in coming. However, this patience and calm should not be taken for granted; people are all too often reaching personal breaking point.
Frequently, they simply have no money left and, at the same time, no prospects for borrowing. The cost of austerity is a real cost in human, social and material terms.
A report by Rosita Boland in The Irish Times last week (30th January) graphically illustrated the critical level of social need in Ireland. Ms Boland reported that last year over 100,000 people had contacted the Society of St Vincent de Paul seeking assistance, amounting to an increase of no less than 104 per cent of contacts since 2009. People who would never have imagined themselves having to contact the charity were reported as having had to do so.
The European Commission has recently commented: “Ireland’s budget deficit is still among the largest in the euro area, and it also has a high level of government debt. Unemployment is increasingly longterm in nature. Irish financial institutions have not yet reached full capacity to support the recovery through new lending, including to SM Es [small and mediumsized enterprises] which can play a key role in future job creation.” The support of SMEs, however, must be an essential priority as the country goes forward, if the hopes of so many citizens for even modest personal financial security are to be realized.
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Letters to the Editor
Holocost Memorial Events
I was very moved by the testimonies shared at the Holocaust Memorial events in Dublin and Newtownards, Co. Down, this year, both of which were packed to capacity.
It was encouraging to see so many determined not to let the horrors perpetrated during the Holocaust be forgotten or trivialised and this was demonstrated simply by their attendance.
The talks and tributes left a deep impression and many dignitaries and representatives of the Jewish community were present. From the ashes of the Shoah – the Hebrew term preferred by most Jewish people which means ‘catastrophe’ – came the fledgling State of Israel, as the overwhelming consensus among survivors was that they were not safe or welcome in Europe and, indeed, most countries of the world would not accept them.
So they turned to Zion, the ancient homeland of the Hebrew Patriarchs which they called the Promised Land.
During the pogroms and persecutions of pre-war Europe, such as in Poland, the anti-Semitic slurs and graffiti called for the Jews to ‘go back to Palestine’. Seventy years later, the same anti-Jewish antipathy still lurks, with modern political slurs and protests stating: ‘Jews, get out of Palestine’.
One lady stuck out from all the others represented at the memorial events, and that was Inge Radford who was a child survivor from Vienna who ended up in Millisle, Co. Down.
She lit a candle of remembrance with her two young grandsons, recalling how one of her brothers, who was murdered by the Nazis, was just the age of the elder grandson, and it was a most moving moment.
To honour the memory of those who lost their lives, and to pay tribute to those who survived and are still among us today, it is vital that we continue to organise these events and continue to remember – always to remember.
Colin Nevin Bangor Co. Down BT19
The ‘voice of compassion’
As a public representative who is also a member of the Church of Ireland, I want to agree strongly with the comments of Stephen Neill in his column of 18th January last.
In it, he approvingly quoted the great Jewish rabbi, Abraham Heschel, who said: “ … when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion – its message becomes meaningless.”
Some may feel this remark ought to be directed mainly at the authoritarian Roman Catholic Church.
We, in the Church of Ireland and other mainstream Protestant denominations, are sleepwalking if we don’t feel there is a message here for us too.
It is long past the time when all the Churches should be actively engaged in portraying the Christian message more fully in the world.
It is worth commending the real effort by various Protestant Church leaders in East Belfast to steer people away from violence in that community. If that example were followed more widely, then the vital message of Christianity might seem more real in modern Ireland.
Robert Dowds TD Clondalkin Dublin 22
The Masonic Order
I should add to Mr Holden’s letter (Gazette, 1st February) that Freemasonry has changed in important ways in recent times.
For example, the 200th anniversary of Freemasonry in Australia was held in St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Sydney, and the last time I attended an Anzac Day service at the Masonic Club, it was taken by its Roman Catholic chaplain!
I am not a Freemason, but I see no reason why Masons of various faiths that acknowledge one God (however understood) – including Muslims – should not meet together for fellowship and service, surely something so greatly needed in our world today, and that service is by no means confined to Masons.
In my own town, Masons and their wives (many of them Church members) continue to raise remarkably large sums for all kinds of worthwhile charities, helping those among “the least” (St Matthew 25: 40) and caring for their neighbours (St Luke 10: 28).
John Bunyan (The Revd Dr) Campbelltown NSW 2560 Australia
Forthcoming launch of bilingual, Irish/English services book
Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise, the Irish Guild of the Church, is working hard to meet the needs of the significant, and growing, demand for services in Irish throughout the country.
Therefore, we are delighted to announce that we have now produced a bilingual services book, An Chomaoineach Naofa agus Seirbhísí eile de chuid Eaglais na hÉireann. Holy Communion and other Services of the Church of Ireland.
The use of liturgical Irish is never meant to be an exclusive thing. Now, people who attend services in Irish will be able to use the text, so as to follow in English what is being said. This will help Irish to be introduced in a bilingual context, where those leading worship can slip entirely naturally from one language to the other and where no one whose fluency in Irish is limited will feel in any way like an outsider.
As part of the celebration of the launch of this book, on 16th February we will be hosting a delegation from the Church in Wales, headed by the Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Revd Andrew John, and including Mr Cynog Davis, former MP and AM [Assembly Member] for Ceredigion; the Revd Canon Nia Catrin Williams, Diocese of Bangor; and the Revd Gwynn ap Gwilym, Bishops’ Adviser for Church Affairs.
In a seminar in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, on the same day, they will share their experiences and plans to increase the use of the Welsh language in the Church in Wales.
Indeed, our new bilingual services book was inspired by experiencing their texts. The Bishop of Cashel and Ossory, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows (patron of Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise), Archdeacon Gary Hastings and Dáithí Ó Maolchoille will speak to these issues in an Irish context.
As befitting the nature of the day, we will conclude the launch with a trilingual Evensong, Urnaí na Nóna, Hwyrol Weddi Tairieithog. As Bishop Burrows has said: “Every language has its own atmosphere and melody, and we hope to proclaim the wonderful works of God in all our languages.”
Further details in relation to the events on 16th February are available on the diocesan websites and from me.
Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise c/o Ardteampall Chríost Baile Átha Cliath 8 firstname.lastname@example.org
Election to Meath and Kildare
To be elevated in the same diocese directly from Archdeacon to Bishop is a fairly rare occurrence.
Since 1960, this has only happened on five occasions, namely, when G.A. Quin was elected to Down and Dromore in 1969, J.C. Duggan to Tuam in 1969, R.W. Heavener to Clogher in 1973 and A.E.T. Harper to Connor in 2001. Now, L.T.C. Stevenson is following this tradition – and every good wish to him.
C. Garrett Walker Belmont Co. Dublin
Parish Profile column stirs memories
The recent profile of the Belleek, Garrison, Kiltyclogher and Slavin group of parishes in the Diocese of Clogher (Gazette, 1st February) brought back many happy memories.
Twenty years ago, I made a programme with the then rector of Kiltyclogher, Canon Robin Richey. At that time, ‘Kilty’ was in the Diocese of Kilmore. Robin Richey’s ministry in that parish covered a period of 50 years. Who could manage that today?
The programme was made at a difficult time in the history of the Church of Ireland flock in that part of Fermanagh. The fact that they have endured, and continue to thrive, is a testament not only to their steadfastness but also to the courage and Christian love of their Catholic neighbours.
That good neighbourliness touched me deeply when I made the programme. As a frequent visitor to the area, I know that it continues to this day.
Paul Clark UTV Ormeau Road Belfast BT7 1EB
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