Spring 2012


As we go to press at the end of January, two important conferences are waiting in the wings: the C of I Conference on Sexuality for General Synod members in March and the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June. A whole issue of SEARCH could be devoted to the former – and indeed this was done back in Autumn 2004; but given the intensity of feeling on this subject in the Church today it now seems best to offer only a faraway perspective on the issue. New Zealand Bishop John Bluck’s offering should be thought-provoking for both sides of the debate. The Eucharistic Congress, at first sight of interest only to Roman Catholics, is actually very pertinent to the Church of Ireland, in that Archbishop Jackson has been invited to address the assembly on the theme “Communion in One Baptism”. Since we accept each other’s baptism as valid, is there hope we may in our lifetime proceed to accept each other also at the eucharist? Eoin de Bhaldraithe, former abbot of Bolton Abbey in Co Kildare, has long studied this issue and contributes a carefully considered article on the subject.
With the Anglican Communion still struggling with internal disagreement on both the Bible and sexual ethics, it is encouraging that the provinces are still working and conferring together on practical and philosophical matters. David Hewlett reflects in this issue on last year’s meeting of Anglican Theological College principals from around the globe, while former MP Sally Keeble shares her experience at the head of Anglican Alliance, the recently formed body working to redress poverty and injustice through mutual cooperation between nations. Our series on Approaches to the Bible continues with a detailed look at more politically aware readings, in particular with reference to “Empire”, whether old or new, and to postcolonial viewpoints. The writer, Prof Stephen D Moore, is a 1980s graduate of TCD now considered second only to the great R S Sugirtharajah in this area of biblical hermeneutics. Also hailing from TCD – but in the context of last year’s Arab spring - is a consideration by Dr Roja Fazaeli on the possibility of a reformist Islam prevailing one day in Iran. Those concerned to establish more Islamic - Christian dialogue will be particularly appreciative. Finally we offer an In Retrospect on Dean Gonville ffrench-Beytagh by Patrick Comerford, and an extended review of the recent Dictionaries of Biography by Alan Acheson. A shorter than usual crop of book reviews, followed by some shorter “book notes” concludes the issue.


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