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‘A time for courageous leadership’ – Church leaders

Church Leaders at Stormont House (1) (20190514)-2

In a joint statement on 14 May, the leaders of Ireland’s main Churches said that talks between Northern Ireland’s political parties to restore the devolved institutions, were ‘a fresh window of opportunity, born of tragedy, but nestling in hope for the future that now requires courageous and compassionate leadership.’

The leaders of the Church of Ireland, Methodist Church in Ireland, Roman Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Irish Council of Churches, were speaking at Stormont House in Belfast, as they met to encourage those taking part in the inter-party talks.

Church Leaders’ joint statement in full

‘As leaders of Ireland’s main churches, we want to add our collective voice to support and encourage everyone taking part in this new round of political talks to seize the opportunity for a new beginning that lies before them.

‘In welcoming this fresh initiative, together, we hope and pray that there will be substantive progress over the next number of weeks that builds relationships, bridges the gaps that remain and leads to the establishment of a sustainable power-sharing executive – one that is built on accommodation and trust, has reconciliation at its heart and is focused on the common good and welfare of all.

‘Having met with the five main party leaders last autumn, and since then having organised a series of meetings on the ground with elected representatives and many in civil society, we have been impressed by the genuine willingness of those involved to engage. At the same time, we all need to be realistic about the significant challenges that lie ahead in finding the necessary agreement.

‘In our churches and faith-based charities, as in other areas of society, we are witnessing daily the damaging and continuing impact of not having a functioning devolved government. Across our community, there is also a growing sense of hopelessness and even despair at the lack of progress. For the sake of the most vulnerable in our society, for the sake of the victims of our past, for the sake of children in our schools and for the sake of people who need improved health and social care services, now is the time to find a resolution to the political impasse.

‘The Lord Jesus calls us all to go the extra mile for one another and to do what is necessary for the greater good. While the timing for these talks may not be perfect, we believe this to be a fresh window of opportunity, born of tragedy, but nestling in hope for a future that now requires courageous and compassionate leadership.

‘At times we can all become so focused on the issues that are significant to us, that we can fail to adequately take into account the concerns that are important for others. However, a way forward can be found when we all have a genuine desire to find a balanced accommodation that can serve the common good. That can be a difficult, but not impossible task. Today we want to support and encourage all those taking part in the search for such an accommodation.’

Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke,Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh & Primate of All Ireland; Most Rev Eamon Martin Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh & Primate of all Ireland; Rt Rev Dr Charles McMullen Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; Rev William Davison President of the Methodist Church in Ireland; Rev Brian Anderson President of the Irish Council of Churches

Pictured at Stormont House in Belfast with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD and the leaders of Northern Ireland’s political parties are (left to right) the Rev William Davison, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Most Rev Eamon Martin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh & Primate of all Ireland, the Rev Trevor Gribben, Clerk of the General Assembly and General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (Joint Secretary of the Church Leaders’ Group (Ireland), the Rt Rev Dr Charles McMullen, Presbyterian Moderator, the Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland and the Rev Brian Anderson, President of the Irish Council of Churches.

 

 

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May Methodist Newsletter now published

Copies of the May magazine are now available for collection from Edgehill House (opening hours as per usual from Thursday 25 April).

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April Methodist Newsletter out now!

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Copies of the April issue of the Methodist Newsletter are available for collection.

March issue of Methodist Newsletter out now

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The March 2019 issue of the Methodist Newsletter has now been published and is available for collection.  Apologies that there was a delay in delivery to Edgehill House due to transport problems.

March 19 contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if your church notice board read, ‘Minister – All Members’?

In the March issue of the Methodist Newsletter, Grace McGurk, MCI’s Learning and Development officer reflects on her new role.

Grace McGurk interview

Grace says her new role involves working across the Church departments to promote and communicate effectively the vision of every-member-ministry. This involves designing, developing, managing, evaluating and contributing to a range of learning and development activities to help support the ministry and mission of vocational lay employees and local congregations. 

Grace reinforces the point that everyone in the local church should be involved in ministry by asking the question, “What if the noticeboard outside your church said, ‘Minister: all members’?” Church noticeboardA question well worth thinking about!

 

Will our faith have children?

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In 1993, the Methodist Church in Ireland published a survey called “Will our faith have children?” looking at the impact or lack of it on the next generation in church life. Now some 25 years later IMYC is repeating the survey – The Big Survey.  There is no doubt that the connection of young people with their local Methodist church has continued to decline.  Statistics show that for the three years, 2013-16, the number of children in all groups associated with church from Sunday School to the uniformed organisations had declined by about a third.

However, writing in the March issue of the Methodist Newsletter, Lisa Best says this:

IMYC firmly believes our faith will have children, but it will require us, as the God’s Mission our Mission commitments state, to ‘live as if we want young people and children to be part of the Church family, even if that means making hard choices.’ The hope of IMYC is that the survey will help us to understand more fully what some of those hard choices might be.

February magazine now published

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Copies of the February 2019 issue of  the Methodist Newsletter are now available for collection.