Join Bishop Ferran this Lent as he explores some of the places Jesus went on His journey to the cross, thinking about what it means to keep close to Jesus and follow Him.
In the final episode of the Lent and the Bishop podcast, we think of Jesus’ entry into the city of Jerusalem as described in Mark Chapter 11. This climatic point in the journey to the cross raises a number of questions for our own following of Jesus and encourages us to renew our allegiance to Christ our King.
There are lots of legends and misconceptions about who Saint Patrick was and what his mission was. However, we are privileged to have the real Patrick preserved for us in his own words in two writings: his ‘Confessio’ and his ‘Epistle to Coroticus’, both of which are readily accessible (https://confessio.ie/).
To celebrate Patrick and the biblical Gospel he believed and preached, and also to make people — young and old — more familiar with the truth about him and the Lord he served, over 30 young people from the majority of parishes in the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh recorded themselves reading a section of the Confession (based on the translation by Pádraig McCarthy and published by the Royal Irish Academy, as found at confessio.ie). The completed video will be available to watch (from 7 pm on 16th March) at this link: https://youtu.be/kb7WnhYcV3I.
This video was created for Saint Patrick’s Day 2021, when, in the midst of continuing Covid-19 restrictions, the usual events and celebrations for this day cannot happen. We hope that it will be an encouragement to all who watch it, and that they, like Patrick, will know personally the difference the Lord makes to those in difficult circumstances.
Love our neighbour • Protect our communities
The Archbishops of the Church of Ireland have issued the following statement in support of the Covid-19 vaccination programmes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland:
‘We encourage all Church of Ireland members to take up the opportunity offered by the Covid-19 vaccination programmes currently being rolled out across the island of Ireland. We believe, as Christians, that it is our civic obligation and duty to serve others and to love our neighbours as ourselves.
‘Vaccination against Covid-19 helps to protect individuals in our communities by preventing and reducing illness and death caused by the virus. In the past, vaccines have made a significant difference in society, and they continue to do so. The Covid-19 vaccines are already bringing hope and a possibility of a return to relative normality, and should be made available globally as a priority.
‘The Church of Ireland has, throughout the pandemic, advocated following public health advice from trusted sources, including the Health Service Executive in the Republic of Ireland and Health and Social Care services in Northern Ireland. All who have questions about vaccination are encouraged to consult those sources of information and discuss their questions with health professionals.’
The Revd. Mark Smith has been appointed as Bishop’s Curate of the Kildrumferton Group in the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh. Mark has previously been serving as Curate in the parish of Holy Trinity, Frogmore (just south of St Albans over in England) since 2017, and had several years working for a church in London in a lay capacity before that.
Mark is married to Ruth, a chartered accountant by training, but currently working full time as a Mum, looking after their 16 month old daughter, Martha. Ruth is originally from the other side of Castleblayney and so is looking forward to moving back to a good Irish border county after a longer-than-expected stint in England!
This is obviously a somewhat difficult time to be moving country and to be beginning ministry in a new place. But Mark is nevertheless very much looking forward to getting to know the parishioners, community and schools in the local area; and throwing himself into life both within the churches and beyond.
Mark has a passion for good engaging preaching, for visiting and spending time with individuals, for children’s and youth work, and for reaching out into the community with the good news of the Lord Jesus. He also enjoys playing and watching sport, reading and watching a good box set. Mark and Ruth love people and are looking forward to their home in Ballyjamesduff being a place of hospitality, fellowship and friendship (when restrictions permit!)
The Church of Ireland has launched a new Daily Worship app which brings content from the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible to your smartphone by presenting their content in one place, including readings and liturgies for each day of the year.
Luke Hawkins, Chaplain of Wilson’s Hospital School has created this series of seven studies from the book of Daniel. They are a wonderful reminder that God is in control in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.
The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal for World Aid and Development is encouraging parishes across the island to take part in its #Connect4Creation project for Lent 2021. This initiative helps members of the Church to connect with God, who is in our midst, and with their surroundings and the natural world.
#Connect4Creation provides activities for taking time to learn about the wonder of bees, doing simple actions to support them, and getting involved in supporting communities and bees across the world.
Christian Aid, a Bishops’ Appeal partner agency, is working in communities in Zimbabwe where bee–hives form a crucial part of complex, flourishing ecosystem that contains bees, crops, woodlands and people – each needing to play their part for the flourishing of the whole. The resource has also been put together with help from Eco–Congregation Ireland and Muddy Church.
Locally, parishioners can plant flowers to increase the number of habitats for pollinators, make bee hotels, and explore their local areas, using specially designed Muddy Bee Trail prompt cards full of interesting facts and Bible verses to help you wander and wonder this Lent.
Actions that can help to focus on global issues include fundraising (it costs around €67/£60 to fund the building of a bee–hive in Zimbabwe), prayer, and creating crafts, a bee trail, or honeycomb crunchie bars, which can help as a fundraiser too. Donations can be saved up and sent in after the end of Lent – see www.bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org/give for options for bank details and how to increase the value of what you give through Gift Aid or charitable tax relief.
Have a great time exploring God’s creation over these next few weeks as spring starts and the days get longer. And feel free to share how you’re getting on with the hashtag #Connect4Creation.
Mrs Sarah Taylor
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