COI Gazette – 8th March 2013

Communications Day addresses use of social media strategies in Church’s message and mission

Participants at the Communications Day held in Church House, Dublin, including the keynote speaker, Karen Burke (9th right) (Photo: Janet Maxwell)

Participants at the Communications Day held in Church House, Dublin, including the keynote speaker, Karen Burke (9th right) (Photo: Janet Maxwell)

The Church of Ireland Central Communications Board (CCB), chaired by the Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, the Rt Revd Trevor Williams, recently hosted a Communications Day in Church House, Rathmines, Dublin, for a range of people involved in Church communications throughout Ireland.

Facilitated by the Church of Ireland Press Officer, Dr Paul Harron, the usually biennial event provides an important opportunity for Diocesan Communications Officers (DCO s), diocesan magazine and website editors, Press Office staff and members of the CC B to reconnect with each other, share ideas and discuss matters of mutual interest and concern.

The day was designed to be an opportunity to address core issues and challenges surrounding effective communication of the Church’s news and mission in today’s complex and fast-moving multimedia society. Full Text >>




The ongoing violence in Syria figured prominently last week during the tour of Europe and the Middle East by the new United States Secretary of State, John Kerry. Mr Kerry indicated that the Syrian opposition needed “more help”. So far, the US has provided only non-military aid for the opposition; American officials have been against sending actual military aid due to the fear that weapons could end up in the hands of radical fighters, Voice of America, the official international broadcasting organisation of the US federal government, stated.

Following a meeting in London with Foreign Secretary William Hague, the US Secretary of State recalled how the Assad regime had “rained down rockets on Aleppo in recent days” and described the action as “just the latest example of Assad’s brutality”. Both leaders condemned the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians “in the strongest terms”, Mr Kerry describing it as “further evidence that Assad has to go”. Then the US Secretary of State attended a ‘Friends of Syria’ meeting in Rome, when there was a focus on intensifying support for the Syrian rebels.

At the Rome meeting, Mr Kerry promised more non-military aid in terms of medical and food supplies and an additional $60m to help the opposition deliver basic governance in rebel-controlled areas. The BBC reported that after this ‘Friends of Syria’ meeting, the EU announced changes to its Syria arms embargo, allowing EU states to provide “armoured vehicles, nonlethal military equipment and technical aid to the rebels, but not weapons”.

However, the Syrian National Coalition leader, Moaz al Khatib, was reportedly still “frustrated” by lack of actual military help for rebel fighters.

While the politics and strategizing still has a long way to go, it has been heartening to learn from the World Council of Churches how Christians have been especially active in humanitarian work in Syria. The development arm of the Damascus-based Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East has delivered around 75,000 humanitarian aid kits in Syria amidst its continuing conflict, the WCC reported. An emergency programme distributing food, warm clothes, blankets and stoves to help people get through the harsh winter has also been part of this compassionate initiative.

This Church relief work is continuing in partnership with the ecumenical ACT Alliance through its member organization, International Orthodox Christian Charities. This practical outreach to those who are suffering in unimaginable ways is a true Christian witness both within Syria and to the wider world.


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Book Reviews

QUO VADIS? Author: Mary McAleese Publisher: Columba Price: €19.99

SCIENCE AND RELIGION IN QUEST OF TRUTH Author: John Polkinghorne Publisher: SPCK; pp.143

LIVING THE GOSPEL STORIES TODAY Author: John Pritchard Publisher: SPCK; pp 120


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