MEMBERS of the Church of Ireland General Synod are being
expected to identify and respond to people in their parishes who
are suffering as a result of the recession, after the presentation
of a motion that was passed unanimously.
The motion, proposed by Phyllis Grothier,
All-Ireland President of the Mothers' Union, said: "Recognising
that Ireland is passing through profound social and economic
changes, which have had impacts at societal, community, and
individual levels, and which have substantially changed to the
context of mission of the Church, this Synod requests the dioceses,
parishes, and individual church members to reflect on the nature of
those changes, and to initiate conversations on how we may
practically respond to the challenges we now face.
"We, as a Church, are ideally placed to support people who are
struggling, through prayer and practical ways. We need to listen,
encourage, and support those who find life so difficult at the
present time," she said.
The motion was seconded by Gillian Purser
(Cashel & Ossory). She said that she was involved in packing
Christmas hampers for the Society of St Vincent de Paul. "We're not
looking for more organisations to be set up, or more committees.
We're asking you to talk to the people in your parish.
"We found, when delivering the hampers, they looked like
middle-class houses. Please look behind closed doors. Visit your
neighbours. It's a problem that is visiting more and more families,
and more and more of your friends. It's a problem people keep
secret. You can help by talking to people, and listening to them,"
The Revd David Gillespie (Dublin), a director
of Protestant Aid (PA), said that it offered grant assistance to
anyone, not just Protestants, in financial need in the Republic of
Ireland. "We have money to give away, but we can't give it away
unless we know of a particular need. I appeal to my clerical
colleagues to let us know of cases of concern," he said.
Canon Horace McKinley (Dublin) said that
support had to be in three ways: prayer, pastoral care, and grant
aid or practical action. He said that he had found PA to be a
wonderful support, and the Country Air Association, in Dublin, was
Walter Pringle (Clogher) spoke of the crisis in
the farming community, and the importance of helping people in