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Ireland in crisis – new group calls for radical rethink

Fergus and Lynda Hogan smaller

Methodist Lay Leader, Dr Fergus O’Ferrall, is pictured with Professor Linda Hogan of Trinity College Dublin,  at today’s launch of A Dialogue of Hope – Critical Thinking for Critical Times.

The book, to which Dr O’Ferrall has contributed a chapter on ‘key areas for constructive engagement, community, solidarity and active citizenship’, calls for the creation of a new narrative for 21st- century Ireland based on input from a representative and inclusive range of Irish people.

Gerry O’Hanlon SJ, convenor of the Dialogue of Hope group notes: “We have a housing crisis; we have serious systemic problems in our health service and policing structures, and we see villages dying on their feet in rural Ireland, yet all we hear talk of is of  economic growth and increasing stability. But the reality is that the economic model is patently failing and we need a new narrative that is much broader and deeper than the neo-liberal economic model can provide.”

The group, which came together in March 2016, is calling on people of all views in Irish society – poor and rich, secularists, atheists, believers, scientists, artists, poets, and philosophers – to come together and work out an alternative vision for Ireland based on common values and not on the single economic model that they see as underpinning thinking today.

They say that they take hope from the signs of social activism, courageous witness and some creative responses to the crisis but that more is needed.

In the newly launched publication, they analyse the roots of the current crises, outline a vision that could help mobilise a broad coalition of those willing to work for change and suggest possible approaches for developing a platform for this coalition. They also propose lines of action that demonstrate the potential for Christian engagement with secular society in tackling specific common concerns.

 

 

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October Methodist Newsletter now published

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The October issue of the Methodist Newsletter is now ready for collection.

Installation of new All-Ireland MWI President

Members and friends from all over Ireland  recently gathered in Finaghy Methodist church, Belfast, to welcome Elizabeth McWatters (pictured) as the new MWI All-Ireland President.

Born in Dublin, Elizabeth later moved to Belfast and had a career as an academic bookseller before taking early retirement to focus on mission work and theological studies.

An intrepid traveller, her theme for her two years of office (2017-2019) is ‘Journey with Jesus’ and she encouraged all present to join her in that journey and to step out in faith, seizing opportunities to witness and to serve in the days ahead.

Following a time of praise led by Cairnshill Praise Group, the act of installation was led by the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Rev Dr Laurence Graham, who said how much the Church valued the work of Methodist Women in Ireland.

The scope and vitality of this work came through in the 2016-2017 report brought by Linda McGuffin, Elizabeth’s predecessor, who was thanked most warmly for the lead she had given over the past two years.

Amongst other contributors to the service were Dr Fergus O’Ferrall, the Lay Leader of Conference; the Rev Dr Livingstone Thompson of the Moravian church; the Rev Colin Gracie, the minister of Finaghy Methodist; and Louise Wilson, World Federation of Methodist & Uniting Church Women Area President.

As her President’s project, Elizabeth will be raising funds in support of the Joint European Area Seminar of the WFM&UCW to be held in Belfast in June 2018.

The uplifting service was followed by a festive spread in the church hall organised by Finaghy Methodist church catering team.

Photos: Peter Mercer

 

 

Joint statement on homelessness crisis

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The Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Rev Dr Michael Jackson, and the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Rev Dr Laurence Graham, have issued the following joint statement on the homelessness crisis:

‘We welcome the Government’s decision to convene an emergency housing summit this week to address the escalating homelessness crisis. Our hopes and prayers are that all who are involved in these talks will devote their energy and efforts to finding an innovative, well thought out, structured resolution for all those who are most deeply affected by homelessness.

‘While accepting that homelessness has many causes and there is no “one size fits all solution”, we believe it is imperative that the Government takes the brave decisions needed to tackle the crisis that has been an increasing scandal for our country. The flow of families and individuals into homelessness must be addressed urgently.

‘We express our sorrow at the recent deaths of people who have become homeless. We also continue to pray for all who are affected by homelessness and those who seek to serve them. We appeal for constructive compassion as a matter of extreme urgency.’

 

Photography competion – last chance to enter!

Photo Competition A5

Thanks to all those who have sent in entries for the God’s Mission, Our Mission photography competition! This is a reminder that 31st August is the closing date  so if you have a good photograph of an activity that has taken place in your church, send it in to newsletter@irishmethodist.org today.

The September issue of the Methodist Newsletter has just been published

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The September issue of the Methodist Newsletter has just been published and is available for collection.

Methodist Missionary Society (Ireland) changes name to Irish Methodist World Mission Partnership

 

 

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The Methodist World Family – the Rev David Nixon administers communion in South Africa.

In the September issue of the Methodist Newsletter, the President, the Rev Dr Laurence Graham, explains the reasons for changing the 200-year-old name of the Methodist Missionary Society.  He says:

 

‘In the early years of the Methodist Missionary Society we sent missionaries to various places to pioneer new outreach work and establish new churches. Through such initiatives, churches have grown all around the world. In tandem, though, the Church here in the western world has experienced substantial numerical decline. As a result, many of the areas that were once described as the ‘mission field’ are now, in fact, where the global strength of the Church is to be found. So, we have at least as much to receive and to learn from our partners around the world as we have to give them.

As our new mission statement puts it: “World Mission Partnership… enables Methodist people in Ireland and friends to join with partners around the world to proclaim Christ’s love and his offer of salvation and to promote Church growth. We do this by partnering through giving and receiving, learning and teaching, praying and being prayed for and serving and being served”.”