Editorial – POLITICAL TURMOIL AND PEACEMAKING
One dictionary defines turmoil as “a state or condition of extreme confusion, agitation or commotion.”
‘Turmoil’ is a word that could be used to describe what we are observing on many political fronts at the moment, with a sense of division that is unsettling. What might Christ’s call to be a peacemaker, in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’, look like at the moment?
The Archbishop of Canterbury, in a recent speech at the House of Lords, spoke about political debate. He was referring to the passions stirred by the issue of Brexit. In truth, his words are relevant to
any matter of passionate political debate.
He said: “Our Christian heritage and the heritage of other faiths and non-faith traditions call for us to treat others as we would wish to be treated – ‘the golden rule’. Christ himself went on to call for love for enemies. That does not mean the absence of passionate difference but calls for respect
for human dignity. That requires active leadership … and it must require now, not after 29th March, examples of reconciliation by public figures who have differed most profoundly during this painful process over the past two or three years. That is leadership.” These are words relevant in any international, national or local context.
However, being a peacemaker is not just the responsibility of our political leaders – of whatever hue. What can we do? The encouragement of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as just quoted, also applies to each of us. Reading his words again gives us pointers as to how we might be peacemakers, as we engage with those who differ from us politically. We will get the costly challenge of living this out on a daily basis. As human beings, none of us will live it out perfectly – but at least we know what we are
There is one more thing we can do. The rhythm of our liturgy ensures that there are things we pray for
on a regular basis. Depending on which jurisdiction we live in, we are variously enabled to pray for those who lead us. Whether it is with the words “O Lord, save the Queen” (N.I.) or “O Lord, guide and defend our rulers” (R.I.), the intent of the prayer is plain. The congregational response in both jurisdictions is similar, asking for wisdom for those who govern us.
The sense of dependency on God is borne out earlier in the liturgy by the words, “O God, make speed to save us,” along with the response, “O Lord, make haste to help us.”
The familiarity of these words belies an urgency in the prayer.
Prayer is not the abandonment of political difference of opinion. Neither is it a substitute for us finding ways to be peacemakers in our everyday lives. Yet, in a time of turmoil we are reminded of the importance of regular and sustained prayer, whether in our church services or in our private prayers. It is to pray for guidance for those who lead us. Whatever our political views, on any matter, it is an acknowledgement of the need for God’s help and guidance.
The call to pray for those who lead us may seem unremarkable. Whilst being hard to argue with, it is notalways our first response. Surely,asking for God’s help seems like an appropriate and crucial response – especially in times of turmoil.
‘THE LIGHT OF CHRIST WINS IN THE END’ – BISHOP GOOD TELLS WORSHIPPERS
AT BAPTISM SERVICE DISRUPTED BY LONDONDERRY BOMB ATTACK
LITTLE LIGHTS PRAISE PARTY
‘TOGETHER DAY’ IN KILMORE, ELPHIN AND ARMAGH
MBE FOR JACQUELINE WEIR
MONTHLY GAZETTE: ‘A VALUABLE RESOURCE’
TUAM, KILLALA & ACHONRY DIOCESE : A YEAR IN REVIEW
BELFAST CATHEDRAL BLACK SANTA RAISES FUNDS FOR CHARITIES
WICKLOW WELCOMES PEOPLE LIVING IN DIRECT PROVISION
FORMER ARCHBISHOP CONDEMNS MURDER
NEW ’LEADERS IN TRAINING’ COURSE – CORK, CLOYNE & ROSS
MBE FOR BELFAST CATHEDRAL PARISHIONER
WEXFORD FAST RAISES€45,000 FOR LOCAL CHARITIES
EARLIEST PARISH REGISTER IN IRELAND IS 400 YEARS OLD THIS MONTH
BISHOP GETS HIS BOXING GLOVES ON
2018 BLACK SANTA CHRISTMAS SIT-OUT AT ST ANN’S CHURCH, DUBLIN
SEARCH JOURNAL – FOCUS ON BISHOPS
Church of Ireland In Pictures
‘FREE TO SHAPE YOUR OWN FUTURE’ – YOUTH FORUM EXPLORES ISSUES AFFECTING YOUNG PEOPLE
MU MEMBER HONOURED
FRIENDSHIP SERVICE IN FERMANAGH
Interview: Brett Lockhart QC
Thinking Wellbeing: EMOTION AND THE CHALLENGE OF LIVING WELL
Opinion: TODAY I SAW A FAMILY
Guest Column: THE MINISTRY OF ABSENCE by Philip Yancey
Opinion: A CHURCH WITHOUT WALLS?
Practical Advice: WINTER IS COMING
Thinking Communication: WHAT DEFINES A GREAT WEBSITE IN 2019?
Thinking Leadership: Do you Listen like Jesus?
Devotional: A PLACE OF RESTDISCOVERING GOD’S PRESENCE
Practical Advice: TEACHING ENGLISH TO ASYLUM SEEKERS, REFUGEES AND MIGRANTSNEW GRANTS AVAILABLE
Children: WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE CHILDREN
Youth & Young Adults: YOUNG PEOPLE AND MENTAL HEALTH
- APP REVIEW: DAILY WORSHIP APP Publisher: Church of Ireland
- DARING TO SEE GOD NOW
Author: Nick Baines Publisher: York Courses
Tribute: REV GRAHAM JONES
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY CAUTIONS AGAINST POLITICAL MOOD OVER UK’S BREXIT DEBATE
QUEEN HONOURS FORMER MU WORLDWIDE PRESIDENT
US BISHOP FACES ‘PARTIAL RESTRICTION ON MINISTRY’ OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE STANCE
DIRECTOR OF ANGLICAN CENTRE IN ROME STEPS DOWN AFTER ‘SEXUAL MISCONDUCT’ ALLEGATION
CONGREGATION VOTES TO SECEDE FROM THE SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH
I welcome any development that cuts across divisions in Ireland that have hampered progress towards peace and reconciliation. We certainly do not need snowflakes on the subject of abortion, a deeply troubling issue with many serious consequences for the future.
On the issue of abortion there is a measure of agreement between Sinn Féin and the DUP, and that
is certainly to be welcomed when important moral principles are
at stake. Perhaps by a curious turn of fortune, the fraught subject of abortion will lead to a greater understanding between Roman Catholics, Protestants and Dissenters. We certainly need it as Brexit approaches.
It might seem foolish or naive of me to suggest that Leo Varadkar show some trust in the DUP on the subject of the backstop. I for one, cannot see how the DUP can be expected to support it and there will be many in England who will agree with them.
I am so old as to agree with Provost Mahaffy in 1918 that the partition of the island of Ireland would be a catastrophe, and who can doubt in 2019 that it has been? I do not think that any Irish man or woman wanted partition (even with a front gate in the Republic and a back gate in Northern Ireland), not even Carson. Nevertheless, the inexorable progress of malign events for all that brought it about.
I also cannot believe that anyone who has lived through the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s will want a hard border. I still remember a visit to Crossmaglen – with the watch tower in place – and Cullyhanna, with a lady from Drumcondra and Glasnevin whose mother was born in the Orchard County (in Cullyhanna itself, in fact). We are surely not intending to revisit the devastation of south Armagh.
Gerald Morgan (Dr) Dublin 4
Congratulations on the new formatGazette. It is diverse and inclusive on such a wide range of themes. It is also easy to read and return to, as it takes time to take in all the elements, so it is better to take time to enjoy it properly.
I have spoken to a number of other readers including fellow parishioners here at St Bartholomew’s in Belfast and the general consensus is very positive and welcoming of the change. Indeed, one of my favourite articles is on ‘wellbeing’, written by a fellow parishioner. It is a most timelyreflection in terms of the personaland community challenges we are all facing right now.
One small suggestion might be for a regular article featuring a church, parish and its history. For example, St Bartholomew’s will be celebrating its centenary this May, and I am sure such a piece would be of interest to our wider Church family, in terms of parish history, architecture and the varied examples of how our faith is celebrated here. It would be so interesting to see such articles about other historic parishes.
Again, well done on taking us into a new era of enjoyable reading and helping us even better understand our place and potential contribution within the wider world. Thank you.
Ian Elliott Belfast
MOTHER AND BABY HOMES
Patsy McGarry wrote (23rd January): “The amount of time spent by children in mother-and-baby
homes and county homes was brief compared with those who had been in reformatories, industrial schools, and orphanages, so their redress may be lower.” The hundreds of Bethany Home children in unmarked graves in Mount Jerome Cemetery are in no position to contradict the correspondent.
I survived in Bethany Home for over four years and at one point was expected to die. I am now 77, and suffer daily the effects of my illness there.
Minister Zappone’s recent decision to extend the Mother and Baby Home Commission by another year extends a denial of justice. When redress is granted to Bethany survivors those still standing will oppose any attempt to lower our expectations.
Derek Linster Rugby, Warwickshire