Autumn 2014


With all the excitement and negotiations about Search’s ‘new look’, it was quite a gift that articles for Autumn 2014 came in as easily as they did. With three anniversaries claiming space in our pages – the outbreak of World War One, the bi- and tri -centenaries of our two leading missionary bodies, and the launch of auxiliary ministry training in the Church of Ireland 40 years ago – the remaining articles had to be chosen with care.
A new feature of  Search should be mentioned first. As a refreshment for weary preachers, we thought we should offer some insights on the scripture readings for the coming season.  So I was delighted when Dr  Katie Heffelfinger of the Theological Institute agreed to write for us on preaching from Isaiah in Advent.  Pondering this year’s Isaiah readings and their relevance today, she offers some inspiring thoughts as a highway for Advent preachers. Like so may other Churches, the C of I is still working to reconcile divisions and foster mutual respect between those who differ on the matter of same-sex partnerships between church members. The way we approach the listening process is perhaps as challenging as the theological, biblical  and scientific issues themselves. The eirenic and thoughtful Convener’s address to this year’s Church of Scotland Assembly by the Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance, which he has kindly allowed us to reproduce, is an object lesson in mutual respect; and we are grateful to his colleague Rev Dr Marjory MacLean for putting it in context for us. A related issue is that of the need for humility. By chance a former history graduate of QUB, Raymond Whelan, offered a scholarly article on this virtue as expressed in a sermon by Archbishop King of Dublin some 300 years ago, arguing for its relevance today. It is to be found after Ken Fennelly’s reflections on the Churches and education policy in Europe and what we have to learn from schools administrators there. In relation to the anniversaries mentioned above, I am grateful to John Cooney for his personal reflection on the experience of Scots and Irish in World War One; to Linda Chambers and Roger Cooke for their digests of Us and CMSI activity through the years; and most especially to Terry Lilburn for his warning of dangers to the survival of non-stipendiary clergy under present conditions in the C of I. (Frank Dobbs seems more sanguine about lay readers!) Both writers give food for thought on how we value and treat our volunteers. Thank you also to our distinguished book reviewers, and to their ‘shepherd’, Stephen Farrell. We hope you like the new layout. Do let us know through our new website.


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