Children & Families Ministry Summer Newsletter

Everyone involved in Children and Families Ministry around the Church of Ireland is encouraged to pick up its Summer Newsletter – available now by clicking here: http://ow.ly/PgtM50Jl48Q

The newsletter is packed with ideas for summer camps, an exciting new Bible reading buddy pack, and three months free off a subscription to www.RaiseUpFaith.com

Further Support for Ukraine from Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal

The Church of Ireland’s Bishops’ Appeal for World Aid and Development is releasing a further €40,000 and £35,000 to Christian Aid and Habitat for Humanity in support of humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and the surrounding countries.  This brings the total released so far to €50,000 and £43,300.

Donations continue to pour in, and Bishops’ Appeal therefore anticipates releasing more funds shortly after Easter.  Financial support is being utilised as soon as it is received and even in anticipation of being received, such is the need. 

Partner agencies continue to focus on people who have been displaced within Ukraine and who have become refugees in Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. They are providing both temporary shelters and longer-term accommodation, food, money and vouchers, help with travel, and medical supplies, and are responding to more specific needs as they arise.  So far, 10 million people have fled their homes – 3.5 million fleeing to other countries and a further 6.5 million displaced in Ukraine itself.  This makes up nearly one quarter of the country’s population.  

Bishop Ferran Glenfield, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh and Chair of the Bishops’ Appeal Advisory Committee, says: “Irish people north and south are known for being big hearted.  The plight of the Ukrainian people has touched many hearts, which is reflected in the generous response to the Ukraine Appeal across the Church of Ireland.”  

A selection of short videos – provided by Habitat for Humanity, ACT Alliance, and the Anglican Diocese in Europe from their responses to the crisis – is available on the Church of Ireland YouTube channel at this link: https://bit.ly/3udFNfw

Readers can find out more about Habitat for Humanity’s response in Eastern Europe at www.habitatni.co.uk/ukraine and www.habitatireland.ie/ukraine and the work of Christian Aid’s partners in the ACT Alliance at www.actalliance.org/news

 Anyone can contribute to the response by making a donation an online at www.bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org/give. Taxpayers can give more help by gift aiding donations (if resident in the UK) or tax relief on donations (in the Republic of Ireland).  The appropriate forms and further details on how to give are also available at www.bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org/give

Ethnic Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Justice Survey

Reminder: Ethnic Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Justice in the Church of Ireland

Please take part and share with others! The survey is open until Tuesday, 22nd March.

A survey seeking to gather the views of members of the Church of Ireland on ethnic diversity, inclusion and racial justice is currently open and all members of the Church are invited to take part. The initiative of the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Revd John McDowell, follows discussions with members and clergy and those serving in lay ministry from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds on the progress made within the Church on drawing on our rich diversity.

At the Church of Ireland’s most recent General Synod in September 2021, the Archbishop said: “It was a little troubling to hear about how we had not drawn anything like deeply enough on the rich diversity of backgrounds in our Church. The meeting had also helped me to understand how difficult it can be to be a person of colour on this island and even, at times, in our Church.”

The research now being carried out has been designed in collaboration with the group of ethnically diverse clergy and lay readers who have now met on a further occasion, and will, along with other strands, examine and make recommendations on how the Church of Ireland can become truly a place of welcome for those from every ethnic background, both lay and clergy. The research is led by Dr Lucy Michael of the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough.

The Archbishop added: “Already in their discussions the group have also highlighted the positive experience of giving and receiving, but there is much we will need to do if we are to be the place which not only includes, but also celebrates, the God-given difference of the Catholic Church which we stand on our hind legs and proclaim ourselves to be in the words of the ancient Creeds, Sunday by Sunday.”

The Archbishop will publish and share the findings of the research and recommendations ahead of General Synod 2022.

All lay and clerical members of the Church are invited to give their views in this survey, which is available at www.ireland.anglican.org/diversity-survey

A Passion for Life

A Passion for Life is a UK wide mission which serves as a rallying cry for local churches in the UK to stand together in proclaiming the good news of life in Jesus Christ.

The aim is to enthuse local churches with resources and ideas to help stimulate an all-year-round culture of evangelism.

It will be up to each church to learn from others, to use what central resources are helpful, and to decide how they want to reach out in their own context.

In County Fermanagh a number of churches across the denominational divide have been meeting together to discuss and pray about reaching our communities with the gospel. People have been trained. Leaders have been encouraged. Congregations have been unified with the good news of Jesus Christ. It is not meant as a one-off mission but a new base level for each church to build from. God willing, we will make progress on mission together.

This has resulted in a week of evangelism being organised from Sat 2nd April – Sunday 10th April (see programme). Taking place in prominent locations, including churches, there is hopefully something to intrigue all types of people. The week will include drive-in services, testimonies, family fun day, gospel concert, training evening and all-age worship event.

Please plan to come to some of the events as listed and bring someone along with you who can receive the blessing of hearing the gospel. In an era where much of our news is negative let’s hear afresh the good news of abundant life to be found in Jesus Christ.

Children’s Ministry Ideas and Resources for Lent and Easter

Building Blocks have shared a 4-page PDF which features some of the ideas and resources presented at their recent online children’s ministry resources evening.

» Click to Download PDF

Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal Responds to Ukraine Crisis

Support for refugees channelled through Habitat for Humanity & Christian Aid

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal for World Aid and Development has committed €10,000 (£8,300) from its emergency funds to assist with the humanitarian response to the current crisis in Ukraine.  Bishops’ Appeal is partnering with Habitat for Humanity Ireland and Christian Aid, and encouraging parishes across the island to contribute to our response to help people seeking refuge.

Jenny Williams, Chief Executive of Habitat for Humanity Ireland, remarked: “UNHCR reports that over 500,000 people fled Ukraine into neighbouring and nearby countries from 24th February to 1st March.  We have strong programmes in Poland, Hungary and Romania and our European office is in Slovakia so we are on the ground responding.

“Habitat is meeting UNHCR daily and co-ordinates with governments to add value and ensure there isn’t duplication of effort.  Colleagues from Hungary and Romania spent the weekend at their borders. In Romania, the need was to provide additional heat for a camp – even more important given that there was more snow at the weekend and people were cold.  More broadly our focus is on supporting the shelter needs of refugees, ensuring that more people can feel safe.  We will support them for the long term.”

Christian Aid’s funds will go to sister agencies in the ACT Alliance.  This network of Christian aid and development agencies includes the Lutheran World Federation and Hungarian Church Aid which are both working in neighbouring countries. As the situation within Ukraine is changing by the day and there is a high level of violence within the country, Bishops’ Appeal will not be funding work within Ukraine at this stage although this will be kept under consideration.

The Most Revd John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, said: “The tragic and wholly avoidable destruction which we are witnessing in Ukraine leaves many of us in the West lost for words and at a loss to know how best to respond to alleviate suffering. However, wars always create refugees and I am grateful that Bishops’ Appeal is targeting its immediate aid efforts to assist trusted agencies working in neighbouring countries to help those who have been displaced by this invasion.  I would urge all parishes to consider helping Bishops’ Appeal to increase the aid which it can provide by contributing generously in one of the ways outlined below.”

The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, said: “The developing and declining situation in Ukraine has already had devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. Prayerful assistance and practical assistance are both important components of our response. I commend the current initiative by Bishops’ Appeal.”

Lydia Monds, Bishops’ Appeal’s Education Advisor, added: “Bishops’ Appeal will continue to monitor access to refugees so that we as a Church can stand in solidarity with them and support them in the most effective ways possible.  We will only release funding through channels that enable vital aid to reach those who need it most.  We will continue to liaise with partner agencies working on the ground to provide relief.  Our emergency funds will be released immediately and we invite parishes to continue to give to the Appeal so that we can continue to support efforts in a constantly evolving crisis.”

How you can help

Parishes are encouraged to contribute to the response and donations can be made, by euro or sterling, in the following ways:

  • An online donation at www.bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org/give
  • A direct lodgement into the Bishops’ Appeal bank account (details of which are provided on the Bishops’ Appeal website at the link provided above);
  • Sending a cheque, payable to Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal, to: Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal, Church of Ireland House, Church Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin 6, D06 CF67;
  • Making a donation through a Church of Ireland parish or diocesan office.

Taxpayers can give more help by gift aiding donations (if resident in the UK) or tax relief on donations (in the Republic of Ireland).  The appropriate forms and further details on how to give are also available at www.bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org/give

 

 

Be Yourself? Church of Ireland Evangelical Fellowship Event – 23rd March

“BE YOURSELF” has become the creed and mantra of our culture. It is influencing everything Disney movies, fashion and sports-wear branding. “Be yourself” is perhaps the epoch-defining idea or concept of our time. Yet, does it bring happiness, is being yourself a good idea? That is the question the Church of Ireland Evangelical Fellowship (CIEF) is asking at our upcoming Zoom conference, as it welcomes Bishop Graham Tomlin as this year’s speaker. Bishop Graham has written widely on this topic, including his 2020 book Why being yourself is a bad idea. Described by the Church Times reviewer Jennie Hogan as:

a sound theological primer, perfect in a parish or chaplaincy bookshelf or for a confirmation group. Tomlin does a fine job in finding a simple structure in which weighty theological conundrums can be tackled without defence or triumph. 

Dr Graham Tomlin is the bishop of Kensington, diocese of London. He was previously Principal of St Mellitus’ College and St Paul’s Theological Centre. He has written widely on both a popular and academic level.   

We look forward to welcoming Bishop Tomlin on 23rd March at 7:30 pm. To register for the event and receive a zoom link, please contact us at Hello@cief.church, and for further information, keep an eye on our social media. 

Dear despairing young person

We’re all too well aware of the struggles with mental health that so many people deal with on a daily basis, often silently. Young people are no exception, and they face so many pressures that can affect them deeply. For some, it can be very difficult to see any hope of things improving.  

With this in mind, the Rev’d. Nick Jones (Rector of the Drung Group of Parishes), has written a series of short messages of hope entitled ‘Dear despairing young person’. He begins with these important words: ‘I just want you to know that you are incredibly valuable. Please hear that you are incredibly valuable. I imagine sometimes you feel you’re not, sometimes you feel life is not worth living, sometimes it hurts so much that you think it’s not worth carrying on, but please listen again, you are incredibly valuable.’

All of these articles can be read at www.drungchurches.com/rectorsblog/; on the ‘Drung Group of Churches’ or ‘YKEA’ Facebook pages; or by clicking the links below. Please share them widely, particularly with any young people you have contact with. You have no idea the difference they could make to an individual! We thank Nick for responding to this need and pray that the Holy Spirit will bring these messages to those who need to hear them, and use them to draw them to Christ who is our hope in every situation.

  1. https://www.drungchurches.com/rectorsblog/2022/2/1/dear-despairing-young-person
  2. https://www.drungchurches.com/rectorsblog/2022/2/2/dear-despairing-young-person-2
  3. https://www.drungchurches.com/rectorsblog/2022/2/3/y1al6xzfjactd6cvr2zkngzgy7v79r
  4. https://www.drungchurches.com/rectorsblog/2022/2/4/dear-despairing-young-person-4
  5. https://www.drungchurches.com/rectorsblog/2022/2/8/dear-despairing-young-person-5