EDITORIAL – KINDNESS COUNTS
Kindness – a word that crops up in various connotations in this issue of the Gazette. Courtesy, civility, generosity, understanding, thoughtfulness, compassion – different words for essentially the same thing – being kind to others.
The Rev Linda Frost refers to kindness it when answering the Big Question on page 13, reflecting that perhaps kindness is slipping away in today’s culture.
In an interview on pages 14-15, Dr Richard Clarke, who retired as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland at the start of this month, also expresses concern that courtesy – again I believe a form of kindness – is a virtue ebbing out in the Church and in life. Like Linda, Dr Clarke relates this to the continuing growth of social media.
Writing in The Irish Times on January 20, the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Rev John McDowell, shared some thoughts on civility – ordinary politeness in everyday life, at work, in company and in the home. A form of kindness.
“Civility as a civic and political virtue goes a lot deeper than mere politeness and has been in rather short supply for the past three years in the politics of Britain and (with few exceptions) in the politics of Northern Ireland since 1921,” Bishop Mc Dowell wrote. As a political virtue, civility doesn’t mean being nice all the time, he added.
Yet stories in this magazine show that kindness in all its forms is alive and well. The selflessness of people within the Church is touching the lives of others.
Read about Hollie Calvin, just 17-years-old, travelling to India to spend time with little children in a slum; hospital chaplains Hilda Plant and the Rev Terry Lilburn just ‘being there’ with the sick, dying and grieving. Kindness. Day after day.
Upper Falls Parish, where young boys are learning about dementia to better enable them to communicate with older people who may be isolated because of their condition. A chance for them to show kindness where before there might have been fear.
In South Sudan, young pilot Daniel Gill takes on crowded skies, dirt runways and overbearing officials to transport people carrying the Christian message around a country presently in a state of civil war. A selfless (kind) desire to spread the Gospel, whatever the challenges.
You will be moved by our interview with Janice Barr, whose daughter Charlene’s wish to make life better for children in Uganda led to the foundation of a charity with kindness at its very core. Charlene died aged just 20, but her remarkable family has continued to make her dream a reality.
The Week of Prayer of Christian Unity during January had as its theme ‘Unusual kindness.’ The stories we share show that within the Church, such kindnesses are anything but unusual.
Connor says thank you to Bishop Alan Abernethy
‘In your new role, be brave’ – Annette McGrath reports on the ordination of Bishop David McClay.
Consecration in Derry and Raphoe – Paul McFadden on the consecration and installation of the Rev Andrew Forster.
New life for old courthouse – a new outreach centre opens in Kesh, Co Fermanagh.
End of an era for St Mary’s Home – Lynn Glanville reports on the final service at the home.
Creation Care – The new Sacred Path Centre of Spirituality on Achill Island.
‘I have enjoyed it thoroughly’ – Archbishop Dr Richard Clarke reflects on his seven years as Primate.
Journeying with patients – Dublin hospital chaplains Hilda Plant and the Rev Terry Liburn talk about their work.
Why all churches should have skills in first aid – Ken Patterson of First Aid for Churches Training Service gives some practical advice.
Dementia Friendly – a personal story. Jacqueline Higgins tells how supporting her late grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease led to an award-winning initiative in her own church.
Australia – the danger continues. The Rev Cameron Jones, a native of New South Wales, brings us stories from friends and families impacted by the bushfires.
‘I saw God at work in the slums’ – Hollie Calvin, 17, from Loughgall and Grange Parish, writes about volunteering in India
Exchange focuses on justice and peace – young people in Limerick and Killaloe spend time with friends from Germany and Romania.
‘Mission aviation is not just work, it’s my passion’ – MAF pilot Daniel Gill, who spent part of his childhood in Co Antrim with his parents, CMSI mission partners Mark and Ally Gill, talks about his childhood in India and his work in South Sudan.
THE BIG QUESTION:
What will you be giving up for Lent? With answers from the Rev Linda Frost, Dean Paul Bogle and the Rev Campbell Dixon MBE.
A warm welcome for little ones – The Children’s Ministry Network’s ‘Make yourself at home’ initiative.
The Archive of the Month features some ghostly images of the past. We also hear something of the history of St Stephen’s Parish Church, Belfast.
Charlene’s Inspiring legacy – the story of Charlene’s Project.
‘My children are afraid of the wind’ – Tearfund’s Northern Ireland Director Ruth Koch on a visit to Mozambique in the aftermath of Hurricane Idai.
Water for life this Lent – Christian Aid’s Lent appeal
Book traces the life of the late Ronnie Lee – learn more about the renowned choral conductor
Choir Call meets the choir of Nenagh Union of Parishes, Diocese of Killaloe
Change is on its way – by the Rev Elizabeth Hanna
Coverage of the Abrahamic Faiths Initiative dialogue in Rome and the Anglican Primates meeting in Jordan.
Looking back at the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign across Ireland.
The Rt Rev James Mehaffey
The Rev Canon Derick Swann
Archdeacon Raymond Hoey