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Identify with suffering, Synod told

17 May 2013

Gregg Ryan reports from the Church of Ireland General Synod in Armagh


Recession messages: hundreds of people take part in the  2013 Dublin Council of Trade Unions annual May Day Demonstration 

Recession messages: hundreds of people take part in the  2013 Dublin Council of Trade Unions annual May Day Demonstration 

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," she said.

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 helpful.

Walter Pringle (Clogher) spoke of the crisis in the farming community, and the importance of helping people in great need.

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