Autumn 2013


Much attention in the world at large as well as in the churches has been focussed this year on the two new men elected to lead the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, Pope Francis and Justin Welby; and much hope is being placed in these two “new brooms”, whose style is refreshingly different from their predecessors. So this issue of SEARCH offers a closer look at their words and deeds in an attempt to consider the challenges that lie ahead in our two communions. We are grateful to Peter Admirand and Yazid Said, Roman Catholic and Palestinian Anglican theologians respectively, both teaching in Dublin, for collaborating in the reflections offered below.
In Ireland recently we have possibly been more excited by the election of our first woman bishop, an event which delighted many, though for a variety of reasons, but caused concern or even outrage in groups at opposite ends of the conservative – progressive spectrum.  The new bishop faces many challenges and we offer her heartfelt support in all that lies ahead. A matter of deep concern of late has been the violence prompted by flag riots and Orange marches in and around Belfast over the past eighteen months. Bishop Harold Miller was present through some of the worst events and reflects on what lessons the Church has to learn from them and how we can best minister to those involved. Increasing poverty and the threat of climate change are two other concerns that have led to animated discussion this past year. So has the noticeably increasing number of people of different faith traditions in our country, both north and south. Alec Purser of the St Vincent de Paul Society and Andrew Orr of Eco-Congregations Ireland offer some challenging thoughts on the first two subjects, while Celia Kenny takes a radical look at how we read the Bible in relation to pluralism. Past relationships between different cultures in Ireland get a look in with Mark Empey’s careful study of Protestant links with Gaelic culture in the 17th century. The historical theme continues with Samuel G Poyntz’s celebration of Bishop Jeremy Taylor, 400 year’s after the great churchman’s birth. To conclude, Robert MacCarthy offers an In Retrospect on an episcopal figure of more recent times, Robert Wyse Jackson. A varied crop of book reviews completes the issue.  


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