|Friday 10th September, 2010|
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Leading English laywoman pays tribute to Church of Ireland Ordinands
|Dr Christina Baxter at the Down and Dromore Bible Week|
Dr Christina Baxter, the Chair of the Church of England General Synod’s House of Laity, Principal of St John’s Theological College in Nottingham and a lay canon of Southwell, has paid tribute to those preparing for ordination in the Church of Ireland. In an interview with the Gazette editor during a visit at the end of August to the Diocese of Down and Dromore, where she led the Bishop’s Bible Week, Dr Baxter said that the Church of Ireland ordinands were all doing a professional certificate through St John’s College, which prepared them for Master’s level training. She said she had been working with the Church of Ireland Theological Institute Principal, Dr Maurice Elliott, on these arrangements.
Science And Religion
The current, intense controversy surrounding the new book, coauthored by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, in which Hawking declares that physical laws can themselves account for the existence of the Universe, is surprising because the controversy has proceeded as though the way in which things came into existence is the ultimate religious question. Full Text
Leading author and evangelist to share challenge of faith in Belfast visit
The challenges of explaining and sharing the Christian faith will be the focus of a special evening to be held in the Church of the Resurrection, Queen’s University, Elmwood Avenue, Belfast, on Friday 1st October, at 8.00pm. The guest speaker at the evening, which is being organised by the Church of Ireland Evangelical Fellowship (CIEF), will be Canon Michael Green. Many Christians today struggle to talk openly and honestly about their faith and are reluctant to articulate what they believe, lest they face ridicule from others. In a largely ‘consumer choice’ society, many are no longer even sure of what sets Christianity apart from the many other spiritualities on offer.
Details announced of ‘Building Blocks’ children’s ministry conference
Details have been announced of this year’s annual ‘Building Blocks’ children’s ministry conferences to be held in Belfast and Dublin. The Dublin conference will take place in All Hallows College, Drumcondra, Dublin 9, on Saturday 13th November; it will cost €35 (including lunch and all conference materials). The venue and date for the Belfast event are Orangefield Presbyterian church, Castlereagh Road, Belfast, on Saturday 20th November; the cost will be £25 (including packed lunch).
The Revd John Andrew McKay
The following is an abridged version of the sermon of the Very Revd Nigel Dunne at the funeral service of the Revd John McKay in St Bartholomew’s church, Clyde Road, Dublin, Diocese of Dublin, on Wednesday 11th August 2010.
As we gather here this morning to commend to God the soul of Fr John McKay, we also call to mind his life as a husband, father, friend and faithful priest of the Church. For John, simply speaking of a vague ‘life hereafter’ or of the joys of salvation, without acknowledging our participation in the sacrifice of the Cross and of Christ’s identification with all our humanity - warts and all - was to put too much distance between ourselves and God. His sincere devotion to our Lady - combined with an uncompromisingly Catholic understanding of the passion, the Eucharist and the communion of saints - lay at the heart of who he was as a priest. As I journeyed with him and he with me in my diaconal year, the importance of keeping true to the ancient Catholic faith, counterbalanced with an ongoing acknowledgement of the reality of our humanity as people of faith, became very clear in John’s instruction.
Evangelical Fellowship of Irish Clergy asks: ‘Is Wright right?’
Community or conversion? Belonging or believing? Was Augustine manic? Did Luther’s personality impose itself on his reading of St Paul? Has Calvin distorted traditional understandings of faith from the Church Fathers onwards? Indeed, how does a sinful human being relate to a perfect God?
Joint event on sexuality
The Church of Ireland group, Changing Attitude Ireland, has teamed up with a group of Methodists and the Irish Peace Centres to discuss the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in churches. The three groups are committed to a more equal, just and loving acceptance on issues of sexual orientation.
The Revd Obinna Ulogwara (2nd left) is pictured at his institution as bishop’s curate of St George and St Thomas’, Cathal Bruga Street, Dublin, Diocese of Dublin, with Archbishop John Neill and church marshalls, Gillian Dean (left) and Yvonne Mushonga (right).
The Ven. Craig McCauley (left) and Canon Steve Clark (right) are pictured following their recent respective installations as Archdeacon of Kilmore and a canon of St Fethlimidh’s Cathedral, Kilmore, in the Cathedral, with Bishop Ken Clarke. Archdeacon McCauley is the Gazette’s assistant editor online. (Photo: Canon Billy Stafford)
Dr Tutu urges South Africans to oppose new media law
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former South African Primate, Dr Desmond Tutu, has joined hundreds of high-profile South Africans calling on their compatriots to oppose a proposed media law that critics say resembles apartheid legislation. In an unscripted speech at the Institute for Democracy in Cape Town, Dr Tutu, who is due to retire from public life in October, has challenged South Africans to fight for press freedom by mobilising the spirit that made the 2010 soccer World Cup a success.
All Africa Bishops’ Conference issues communiqué
Following a meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, from 23rd - 29th August, the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa issued a communiqué in which they said they had met in "a spirit of unity and trust, and in an atmosphere of love", along with Archbishop John Chew, the Chairman of the Global South, which, the communiqué indicated, "represents the majority of the active orthodox membership in the entire Anglican Communion". The meeting was held during the second All Africa Bishop’s Conference.
Most Scots favourable or uncommitted on Papal visit
A new opinion poll suggests that the majority of Scots are not ill-disposed towards the 16th September visit of Pope Benedict XVI to their country, despite disagreements about his views - with the majority being "neither for nor against". The Opinion Business Research poll, which was commissioned by the Scottish Catholic Media Office, found that 31 per cent of respondents were "very or fairly favourable" to the papal visit, while 63 per cent were neither in favour nor opposed. Those opposed comprised a smaller than expected minority, with three per cent objecting and just two
Focus on world mission
Keeping mission at the top of the agenda
Representatives of some mission agencies under the auspices of the Association of Mission Societies give an overview of their agency’s work.
CMSI - Tom Bleakley, Killowen parish, Diocese of Derry, with the Revd Naftaly Lemooke, Diocese of Kajiado, Kenya
Many people in Ireland are currently preoccupied with holding on to both job and home, but, as far as Christians are concerned, there is always the challenge to maintain a wider vision: to look at the world as God sees it and seek to share the Gospel of Christ with everyone, irrespective of their faith or their lack of faith. The Association of Missionary Societies (AMS ) brings together mission agencies which have a close connection with the Church of Ireland and seeks to encourage Christians in their commitment to mission beyond the parish walls. The agencies represent an important source of expertise for parishes, having connections to build parish links and partnerships into projects at home and worldwide, making it possible to: • respond to present emergencies in Pakistan, China and Haiti • fund development projects in many of the world’s poorest communities • support Christians to provide medical care to those with disease • build the capacity of churches at home and abroad to develop their witness • place Scripture in churches that could not hope to afford Bibles for their people and • encourage evangelism among the people who live around us.
Down At St. David’s
By Patrick Towers
The vacancy vestry meeting was chaired by the Archdeacon. The crux of the meeting was the Vacancy Report on the rectory. Improvements, renovations, decorations - the list went on. Work was going to have to be done and, more to the point, money would have to be spent. The eco-warriors on the vestry were passionate in requesting - or, rather, demanding - solar panels, insulation throughout, low carbon heating, air quality tests and the provision of bicycle stands for the parish’s increasing number of cyclists. The Archdeacon was not well able to manage the ecopassion, but - fortunately - somebody requested that the rectory must be made far more friendly for the disabled. The bathroom would have to be redesigned, as would the downstairs toilet, and access would have to be made much easier.
By the Book
The idol factory VII
When we read about idolatry in the Bible, it is very hard for the modern Western person to relate to what is being said. Our mind conjures up images of people that we see as ‘primitive’, bowing down to statues and worshipping them. In the age of the worldwide web, nothing could seem so remote. What is really at play here is not the irrelevance of the Bible, but the naïvety of our culture. Idolatry is all around us. I have my individual idols to which I am attracted, but there are also idols embedded within our culture. Idolatry is rampant in our lives and, indeed, in our Church. There really can be no way forward for Irish society in general, and the Church of Ireland in particular, until we confront the idols we hold so dear.
It has been a long time coming - but threats from my daughter that she was going to clear out my desk meant that I had to get there before she did. So, one morning in August, I embarked upon this Herculean task. I would confess to you how long it is since last I cleared out my desk, except my mother would be mortified; suffice, then, to say, a very long time indeed. Over the years, I have moved from one place to another, jammed a few more important-looking documents in there, locked it up again and away I’ve gone, promising myself that I would ‘see to that’ very soon. The months and years have passed and desk was at breaking point - literally. The moment had come.
AFRICAN THEOLOGY ON THE WAY, CURRENT CONVERSATIONS
Edited by: Diane B. Stinton
LIVING WELL: FINDING A ‘RULE OF LIFE’ TO REVITALIZE AND SUSTAIN US
Author: Alan Hargrave
CLIMATE AND CHRIST: A PROPHETIC ALTERNATIVE
Author: Edward P. Echlin
Publisher: Columba Press
St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, choir visits Carlisle Cathedral
|The choir of St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, pictured during its summer visit to Carlisle, accompanied by Dean Patrick Rooke (extreme right) and some friends of the choir|
The choir of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, recently returned from a successful, residential week in Carlisle Cathedral, where it sang the daily services, including six Choral Evensongs and a Sung Eucharist. Theo Saunders, organist and master of the choristers at Armagh, conducted the choir, with the organ accompaniment provided by Thomas Moore, the recentlyappointed
director of music at Wakefield Cathedral. Mr Moore was previously an assistant to Mr Saunders at the parish church of St James the Greater, Leicester, and had his first organ lessons with Geoffrey Carter, whose father was formerly organist and master of the choristers at Armagh.
Cathedral prayers for troops in Afghanistan
The Royal Irish Regiment 1st Battalion and some troops from the 2nd Battalion will shortly commence a six-month deployment in Afghanistan. It is planned to hold ‘Prayers for our troops’ in the Royal Irish Chapels of both St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, and St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.
Appointment / Death