Summer 2014

Editorial

It was not planned that way, but so strong is the concern around the Church today with matters of reconciliation – between groups within the Church, between individuals, or between Churches – that every article contributed for this issue has something to say on the matter.
David Hewlett, who in his five years teaching in Braemor Park must have taught nearly half our clergy to think theologically, kicks off this edition with the proposition that we learn most and change most transformatively when we listen to those who are most different from us. William Olhausen follows up by challenging us to think and speak in a logical and disciplined manner – even in the sexuality debate! Stanley Gamble follows by asking us, as we approach July 12th perhaps with some anxiety, to take a new look at the Orange Order, and what it can do and has done to promote peace in Northern Ireland. And David Godfrey, a longstanding member of the Corrymeela Community, reflects on what Corrymeela has taught us about the incarnational aspect of our “face to face” relationships with one another, as channels for Christ’s compassion and healing. Healing is the theme of Iva Beranek’s article about another community that crosses divides in Northern Ireland – Restoration Ministries, founded by Ruth Patterson in 198??, and still offering a ministry of spiritual listening and healing to individuals and groups alike. It has taught her lessons that all our parishes could learn from in terms of allowing time to go deeper into past trauma so that painful scars can be erased in prayer. From another angle, Ian W Ellis looks at the potential for community reconciliation through shared education systems in Northern Ireland. Lastly we come to healing of rifts between Churches, a topic of the moment now that mutual recognition of ministry has been agreed with the Methodist Church in Ireland. But this is nothing new! We have been in communion with the Lutheran Churches of the Nordic area for around two decades now, but few of us are aware of the depth of mutual recognition and cooperation between us. Helene Steed, originally from the Church of Sweden, and Ása Björk Ólafsdóttir from Iceland, have both been in parish ministry in the Church of Ireland for some time, and they offer respectively an outline of the developments and a personal story, to give us a sense of how such relationships proceed. Our thanks to reviews editor Stephen Farrell and reviewers for a great and varied set of book reviews!

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