SEARCH Journal

Autumn 2023


PIONEER MINISTRY, as introduced and discussed in this year’s General Synod, has been a major talking point for the Church of Ireland this year. Granted that, for the Church’s very survival, we need to reach out to those whose spiritual needs have not been met by any church worship they have encountered, or who have never experienced the love of God in Christ, do we need a whole new structure to achieve that?

Perhaps, given that our clergy tend to be increasingly overworked and stressed out, that is exactly what we need: a new deal to attract those unresponsive to our traditional styles of ministry. Yet “doing a new thing” can happen within the old structures too, given imagination, determination and courage, as articles by Rob Clements and Abigail Sines in this issue show. As Rob Jones’ introductory article indicates, Pioneer Ministry here is a work in progress, which we pray will bear much fruit and harvest a warm response. SEARCH plans to share further stories of pioneering as the ministry develops over the months and years to come. All offers welcome!

A category of young people in need of special attention in the Church’s ministry today is that of “young carers” - young people constrained to prioritise care for members of their own family above their studies or their employment. Dr Allison Campbell of Ulster University explores their needs, with theological commentary by her husband, Revd Dr Andrew Campbell, to promote further thinking.

We conclude with an In Retrospect by former Archbishop Richard Clarke on Dean John Paterson, who retired from Christ Church Cathedral Dublin some twenty years ago, and a Liturgica from the USA, contemplating the need for inclusivity. And Book Reviews, of course. We also announce the appointment of Dr Bridget Nichols, lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy at CITI, as associate editor of SEARCH, most warmly welcomed by myself! Her self-introduction follows the Contributors’ Page.


A challenge accepted!

THE INVITATION to work with Canon Ginnie Kennerley as associate editor of SEARCH comes as a privilege and a challenge. I have been a member of the editorial committee for most of the six years in which I have lived in Dublin as a member of staff in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute and would describe those as learning years in every dimension. There has been much acclimatising to do.

Dr. Bridget Nichols
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A few words from Bishop David McClay

THE WORK of initiating new ministries, planting new churches, calling into existence new Kingdom initiatives has always been part of the history of the Christian church.

Bishop David McClay
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Why do we need ‘Pioneer Ministry’ - and how will it work in the Church of Ireland?

PIONEER ministry stands in the widening gap between the church and contemporary culture with the aim of reaching those outside the church and creating together new ways of being church - the community of those called out by Christ to share the Good News of God’s love. (Ek-klesia, one of the New Testament words for a church community, means ‘called out’.)

Rob Jones
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The Gathering Grounds Café: The story so far

The Gathering Grounds Café began with the architectural floor plans for the Kilternan Centre. Ours was a new build, and the architect, Stephen, had done an amazing job of creating a new facility in a rather limiting space at the back of the church.

Rob Clements
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Pioneer ministry in England: a pioneer priest’s perspective

IN 2001 some friends and I began to pray together. We had identified a need in the local church Primary School that our children attended. Many parents we chatted to every day in the playground were in difficult situations, with few people apart from the authorities to turn to.

Sue Butler
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Welcoming creativity with choreographer Maria Nilsson Waller

“I WANT TO WORK WITH ARTISTS”. This was my immediate response when, many years ago, two-thirds of the way through theological college, I was being asked to give an account of myself and my sense of vocation: “What type of ministry would you see yourself in in the future?”

Abigail Sines
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Young Carers and the theological call of the Other

THE TERM ‘Young Carer’ refers to a child or young person under 24 whose life is affected by providing significant care, assistance, or support to a sick or disabled relative at home, including those with mental health conditions and/or addiction.

Allison Campbell
Andrew Campbell
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John Paterson in retrospect

It is now two decades since John Thomas Farquhar Paterson retired from the deanery of Christ Church Cathedral, his death sadly coming a mere eighteen months later.

Archbishop Richard Clarke (1)
Richard Clarke
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Liturgica: Us and Them

WHO or what do you first think of when you think of “us and them”? Protestant and Catholic? Liberal and conservative? Republic and realm? What about Christian and Jew, especially when news headlines more often speak of tensions between Muslims and Jews? These questions all point to the continued divisions we live with in church, community, and world. What, however, do they have to do with Christian liturgy?

E. Byron Anderson
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