Voices of the Climate Crisis

The Irish Council of Churches is hosting an online ‘Voices of the Climate Crisis’ event on Tuesday, 25 May 2021, from 10.30am to 12.00noon in collaboration with Christian Aid.

The aim of this event is to equip people in church leadership (lay and ordained) to develop their church response to climate change by connecting them with people directly impacted by climate change and introducing them to resources developed by Christian Aid that will support their churches’ engagement.

You will hear Bob Kikuyu, Global Theology Advisor at Christian Aid, and Julius Mbatia and Rebekah Wilson, young climate activists from Kenya and Ireland, about the impact of climate change on peoples’ lives, and find out about resources from Christian Aid that can equip their churches to respond to the climate crisis.

You can find out more here on the Irish Council of Churches website and register at irishchurches.org/voices

Revd. Mark Smith welcomed as the Minister-in-Charge of the Kildrumferton Group of Parishes.

On Sunday, 16th May, as churches across the country returned to worship, the doors of St Paul’s Church, Ballymchugh opened to welcome the Revd. Mark Smith as the new Minister-in-Charge of the Kildrumferton Group of Parishes. The service, which was led by the  Rt. Revd. Dr. Ferran Glenfield, the Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, was livestreamed with many parishioners, friends and family joining in online.

Revd. Mark, his wife Ruth and their daughter Martha have come to Co. Cavan from Holy Trinity Church, Frogmore just outside London. During the service words of welcome were said by Sharon Higgins, on behalf of Ballymchugh, Neil Hawthorne, on behalf of Ballyjamesduff and Ian Stokes on behalf of Kildrumferton Parish church. Revd. Nick Jones (Drung Group of Parishes), who has also served as a curate in Holy Trinity Church, Frogmore, welcomed Revd. Mark and his family to the Diocese. Revd. Nick Weir, vicar of Holy Trinity Frogmore sent greetings via audio recording.

Mark’s mother, Linnet, unable to travel to Ireland in person, was able to participate in the service by a recording of the Old Testament reading from Jeremiah 25 vs 1-5. Preaching from this passage, Bishop Ferran challenged the congregation to pay attention to the Living God and to be his distinctive people in this place. After the sermon Revd. Mark led the congregation in an affirmation of faith.

We are thankful to God for Revd. Mark’s arrival just as our churches reopen. We pray for all God’s blessings on him and his family as they love and serve God in the Kildrumferton Group of Parishes.

Can you spare 15 minutes for mental health?

By Bishop Pat Storey

On World Mental Health Day last October, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev John McDowell, launched MindMattersCoI, the Church’s new mental health promotion initiative.  Wellness in body, mind and spirit is something that our Church wishes to promote and our faith deeply desires. 

We have been working hard, gathering a lot of information, developing a website and establishing an advisory group of experts to guide the project.  I am pleased to let you know that we’re now starting to collect information on awareness and attitudes towards mental health within the Church, and we need your help.  Gathering your thoughts on mental health awareness and understanding is a key phase of the project as the results will inform and shape everything else we do. 

Therefore, I would really appreciate if you would visit our website – https://mindmatters.ireland.anglican.org – and complete a short survey. It will only take about 15 minutes to complete, and the information you share will be anonymous and confidential.  We will also be running a number of online focus groups, and if you would like to join one of these, please let us know by emailing: mhp@rcbdub.org

If you don’t have internet access but would still like to participate, please call + 353 (0) 1 4125 660 and leave your name and address. We will post you out a copy of the survey with a stamped addressed envelope, to return directly to the project manager, and will also provide details of the focus groups should you wish to participate in them. 

The success of this initiative depends on your participation, so I would really like to encourage you to contribute and also tell your friends, relatives and fellow parishioners about this opportunity to take part and help us to respond best to the mental health needs in the Church and wider community. Updates on the project will be available on our website so do visit it regularly. Thank you in advance. 

Bishop Pat Storey chairs the Project Team and Advisory Group for MindMattersCoI.  This article was first published in the May 2021 edition of the Church of Ireland Gazette, an all–island magazine serving the Church.

Invitation Back to Church May 2021

CIYD Aurora Course

Applications for the Aurora Certificate in Youth Ministry are now open. This ecumenical training course is designed to meet the needs of volunteer youth leaders who have busy lives and no formal youth work qualifications. More details can be found in the attached leaflet or at www. https://www.auroratraining.org.uk/eire

CIYD Young Leaders in Ministry Fund 2021

Who is it for?

Church of Ireland young people aged from 15-25 years who can demonstrate a current involvement in the Church of Ireland.

What is it for?

Training and development courses, mission teams, leadership opportunities and placements that can be shown to:

  • Significantly develop the faith of the young adult applicant.
  • Grow the skills of the applicant especially, but not confined to, leadership skills.
  • Be of significant use to the ministry of the Church of Ireland in the 12 months following the completion of the opportunity.

For more information, click HERE.

Closing date is Monday 31st May 2021.

Thy Kingdom Come: an Encouragement to Pray as Pentecost Approaches

Everyone can pray for five people from Ascension to Pentecost

The Church of Ireland’s Archbishops and its Council for Mission have endorsed the Thy Kingdom Come global prayer initiative which takes place each year from Ascension Thursday to Pentecost Sunday, and will this year run from 13th May to 23rd May.

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Revd John McDowell, remarked: “From fairly modest origins back in 2016, Thy Kingdom Come has grown from year to year, and has caught the imagination of many people, perhaps because of its simplicity and directness – praying that our own faith may be deepened, and that others who we love may come to share in the same faith. The wind of the Spirit would appear to be in its sails and I trust it will commend itself to many.”

The Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, said: “Thy Kingdom Come captures the dynamism and energy that flows between Ascension and Pentecost. Disciples now as then are not left comfortless but are inspired to move from the departure of the Jesus they knew to the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We in our day are called to witness and to serve and Thy Kingdom Come invites us to do so.”

The Revd Adam Pullen, Chairperson of the Council for Mission and Rector of Stranorlar, in the Diocese of Raphoe, added: “We in our parish will be taking part in Thy Kingdom Come this year yet what, you may ask, is it?

“It is taking time to pray over 11 days from Ascension to Pentecost, praying that God’s Kingdom will come on Earth. It is as simple as praying for five people, family and friends, that they will come to know Jesus, and have faith in Him. It is for all ages and all situations. Among the resources, there is Cheeky Pandas for the children, Escape Room for the youth and, for the rest of us, an app from Lectio 365 for phones and tablets, and even a paper journal we can follow each day.

“Whatever our age, our circumstance, or our level of confidence, we can all pray. I encourage you to take part and be encouraged that you are making a difference. It is amazing for me that the creator God asks us to join Him in His work: Thy Kingdom Come.”

Thy Kingdom Come is an international and inter-denominational prayer movement which started in the Church of England in 2016. Those who take part are encouraged to deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ, pray for five friends or family members to come to faith in Jesus, and pray for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit so that the Church would be effective in its witness.

The Thy Kingdom Come website – www.thykingdomcome.global – features a prayer map where participants can pledge their support from where they live around the world, and includes a range of ideas, guides and resources to encourage prayer by children, young people, adults, families, schools, churches and small groups. Resources for churches include suggestions for prayer stations and 24-7 prayer, and prayer journals for parishioners.

Bishops’ Appeal Helps with Fight Against Covid in India

An opportunity to support responses to the crisis from Asha and Médecins Sans Frontières

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal has released €10,000 (equivalent to around £8,600) in emergency funding to support two frontline agencies responding to India’s second coronavirus wave: Asha, a Christian charity working in communities in Delhi; and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Donations in support of this appeal can be made online or by post using the reference ‘CIBA India Covid Relief’ and all details about how to contribute can be found at www.bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org/give

Asha has committed supporters across the world and enjoys good relations with development agencies, diplomatic missions and governments. It is well-placed to bring medical treatment and to model good practice in terms of hygiene and face-coverings.

Asha’s founder, Dr Kiran Martin, who has worked in over 60 slum communities in Delhi for 25 years, has made an impassioned plea for support. The agency needs N95 masks and medical masks, nebulisers, pulse oximeters and thermal scanners, steroids and anti-coagulants, or the funds to purchase the supplies. Her team is treating people who present with Covid in their homes. Dr Kiran says: “Asha has instituted a protocol for home treatment of Covid patients with mild, moderate or severe disease. The situation with hospital beds and oxygen continues to be horrendous. We are treating severely ill patients with amazing success. I truly think it’s a miracle of God through willing and compassionate hands.”

Holywood Parish, outside Belfast, became associated with the charity almost 20 years ago and has sent a number of teams to visit two projects in the slums of Zakhira and Peera Garhi. The parish has funded building work for community centres and the creation, resourcing and staffing of IT centres. The work of Asha has also been embraced by many schools in Northern Ireland where young people have learned valuable life lessons.

Canon Gareth Harron, Holywood Parish’s Vicar, says: “When you visit an Asha centre in the slums of Delhi the values of the society – dignity, empowerment, justice etc. – are not displayed on posters on the walls; they are held in the hearts of the people who have embraced them. Asha means ‘hope’ and I had the privilege of seeing their hope-bringing work first-hand when I visited with a team from our parish in March 2020. We flew home just as the number of cases of Covid-19 began to rise in Delhi, not anticipating the crisis levels that have now been reached there. Having stood alongside the work of Asha for some years, we are grateful and encouraged that Bishops’ Appeal has pledged its support as we know this will bring relief to the poorest residents of Delhi.”

Médecins Sans Frontières has restarted its emergency response amid a surging second wave of Covid-19 in Mumbai, in Maharashtra state. The city’s population density, poverty, and poor hygiene conditions are a triple trigger for the virus to breed, infect and spread rapidly.

“This is the largest upsurge since the pandemic started,” says Dilip Bhaskaran, Covid-19 Co-ordinator for MSF in Mumbai. “MSF stands ready to further pace up its services in support of the health facilities that are currently completely overwhelmed.”

Among many other responses, MSF is supporting two units within a jumbo hospital in Mumbai. The units will include two tents with the capacity for around 1,000 intensive care beds in each.


Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal Releases Emergency Funds to Respond Urgently to Covid in India

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal has released €10,000 in emergency funding to support Covid relief efforts in India. Individuals and parishes are invited to contribute to support these efforts. Funds will be channelled to partner agencies working on the ground in communities in India providing vital support and supplies.

More than 200,000 lives have been lost to the pandemic in India. The pandemic has spread from large cities to smaller cities, towns and villages where its impact is largely under-reported, and the peak of the outbreak may still be two to three weeks from now.

Bishops’ Appeal’s Diocesan Representative for Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, the Revd Albert Dawson, says: “As we look at the news bulletins over the last few weeks, the situation that has evolved with Covid-19 in India is very distressing to watch. We can only imagine the distress the doctors and nurses are working in to care, as best they can with extremely limited resources, for the sick and the dying in the hospitals.

“Let us remember the doctors and nurses who have travelled to our country from India and provided care for our citizens over the last year in the hospitals and nursing homes throughout Ireland. These are very valued members of our healthcare staff and it would be one way of showing them how much we value their contribution to our society.”

Donations can be made online or by post using the reference ‘CIBA India Covid Relief’ and all details about how to contribute can be found here: https://store.ireland.anglican.org/donations/the-bishops-appeal

Crosslinks is hosting a Link Meeting on Monday 24th May 2021

Crosslinks is hosting a Link Meeting on Monday 24th May 2021, 7:30pm, via Zoom. David Kleinhans will be joining us from South Africa! David is a theological student at George Whitefield College and is currently receiving a bursary from Crosslinks through the BEST scheme. BEST stands for Bursaries Enabling Strategic Training. Crosslinks set up BEST to offer bursaries for theological education to clergy and ministry workers around the world.

This meeting will highlight the importance of theological training and how the Crosslinks BEST scheme is helping men like David be equipped to correctly handle God’s Word.