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Church of Ireland General Synod: praise for new liturgical resources tackling modern issues

19 May 2023

Church of Ireland

The General Synod service at St Iberius’s, Wexford

The General Synod service at St Iberius’s, Wexford

Liturgical committee

NEW liturgical resources tackling subjects from stillbirth to the war in Ukraine were praised by Synod members during a brief discussion on Friday afternoon. The Revd Adrian Dorrian (Down & Dromore) said that the Liturgical Advisory Committee (LAC) mostly worked in the background, but had produced more than a dozen new resources in the past month. Some of these dealt with the war in Ukraine; others marked the centenary of the end of the Irish Civil War, and royal occasions in the UK.

The Dean of Cloyne, the Very Revd Susan Green (Cork, Cloyne & Ross), said that developing online resources was a focus of the LAC, but that there were others now in print, too, such as liturgies for sudden or unexpected death, and services for use after miscarriage or stillbirth.

George Woodman (Connor) thanked the LAC for its work, especially in how the changing concerns of society and topics hard to speak about had been reflected in the prayers provided. The Dean of Clonmacnoise, the Very Revd Paul Bogle (Meath & Kildare), thanked the LAC for the resources provided for neonatal death and stillbirth. He had used these in a very sensitive pastoral situation, and said that they were “a great support for clergy”.

Canon Mark Harvey (Down & Dromore) noted that gender issues were on the agenda for the LAC’s work, and asked if Mr Dorrian could give any clarification on what was meant by that reference. Mr Dorrian said that it was not yet determined what resources about gender would look like, as a consultation was still to be held.

The report was then received by the Synod. Motion No. 3 was then moved by Mr Dorrian. This would amend the Table of Readings in the Book of Common Prayer to clarify when, exactly, readings for Remembrance Sunday should be used. After a vote by orders, the motion was carried.

 

Christian unity

BUILDING unity between Christians at times of conflict was the theme of a brief discussion of the report from the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue (CCUD). The Revd David White (Dublin & Glendalough) presented the report and informed the Synod of the meetings joined by the CCUD over the past year. Discussions included those about the war in Ukraine, the Northern Ireland Protocol, the future of the European Union, and building back after Covid.

George Woodman (Connor) raised the issue of the Church’s relationships with Russian Orthodox Christians, including those living in the West who are affiliated to the Moscow Patriarchate who are horrified by Patriarch Kirill’s support for Russia’s war. Contacts within Russia should also be maintained, he suggested.

The Bishop of Derry & Raphoe, the Rt Revd Andrew Forster, noted that this year marked the centenary of the formation of the Irish Council of Churches as Ireland emerged from civil war and partition. Also, the Irish Inter-Church Meeting between Protestants and Roman Catholics, set up during the height of the Troubles, was 50 years old this year.

“That’s why I love being involved, because we share hope together,” Bishop Forster said. What would once be unthinkable, such as a cross-denomination prayer walk around the old city walls of Derry, was now unremarkable. “We were in our siloes for far too long, battling issues of doctrine the world didn’t care about,” he said. “What counts is we have a message of hope for this island, and we can share it more powerfully together than alone.”

The Synod voted to receive the report and approved the new membership of the CCUD.

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