Wonderful Web of Diocesan Work Presented at Dublin & Glendalough Synods
All that is good about the spider’s web was used as a symbol for the work of Dublin & Glendalough at Diocesan Synod yesterday evening (Tuesday October 10) in Taney Parish Centre. Proposing the report of Diocesan Councils, Canon Adrienne Galligan said it highlighted the huge range of work and ministry carried on in the dioceses.
“Mostly we think of webs as death traps for unsuspecting insects: but I would prefer to view it from the point of view of the newly discovered medicinal properties that this durable, flexible, functional, tensile, communicating device, all of which silk weave is, and offers the world. Our dioceses also have those attributes of durability, flexibility, communication, functionality and rigour. Applying the science of our Creator God in the form of the enzymes, proteins and vitamin k that spider silk contains offers repair to damaged heart tissue and enables the heart muscle cells to regenerate and repair. That is our purpose as the Body of Christ in the world: Proclaiming the Good News of our Christian hope and faith we offer repair, ease, listening, restoration and the discovery of the possible to parishes and the communities in the part of the world we inhabit and the wider world beyond Dublin and Glendalough,” she said.
Canon Galligan emphasised developments in children’s, youth and young adults’ ministry and in Third Level Chaplaincy. Projects including the development of Come&C around the Five Marks of Mission and the partnership with the Irish Refugee Council and Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza were raised. The gold silk thread of development, adaptation, flexibility and durability was being applied for the benefit of many, she stated.
A web needs a minimum of seven radial threads, like guy ropes, to secure the eventual construction to its surroundings, Canon Galligan said. She suggested the seven radial threads of ministry as celebrated in the report of Diocesan Councils were: Ministry to children, young adults and third level students and child protection; Lay ministry and training; Diocesan outreach and worship; Pastoral responses to elderly members, hospital chaplaincy and the homelessness initiative; Fabric, finances (parish life, clergy life), furnishings – RB supports and requirements; Mission statement, communication and evaluation; Opportunities for personal journeys of faith through baptism, confirmation, the Camino de Glendalough and Santiago, pilgrimage and ecumenism.
“At the centre of all this work, ministry, aspiration and dedication, who connects the entire structure, is Christ, our Saviour and Lord and motivator,” she said.
Opening the discussion on the report, the Revd Ruth Noble (Crumlin and Chapelizod) spoke of the work of Dublin & Glendalough Youth Council. She said that youth ministry had a tremendous effect on the lives of young people but noted that it was not easy and came at a cost. “We as the youth council want to support you in your work with young people in parishes,” she explained adding that the Diocesan Youth Ministry Development Officer, Susie Keegan, was there to help. She urged all parishes to contact Susie and not to feel alone in youth ministry.
The Revd Stephen Neill (Celbridge and Straffan with Newcastle–Lyons) highlighted the forthcoming Rubicon Ireland event which takes place in the Sugar Club on Leeson Street on Saturday October 21 and said it provided a wonderful opportunity to engage in discussion on faith and society. See wearerubicon.com for details.
Canon Gillian Wharton (Booterstown and Carysfort) urged a rethink on the timing of Diocesan Synods suggesting that a Saturday synod would better suit young adults who would otherwise have to take a half day off work to attend and represent their parishes.
The Revd Lesley Robinson (Clontarf) flagged the CIYD Christmas event which takes place in the Church of St John the Baptist in Clontarf on December 9 and 10. The event sees busloads of young people coming from all over Ireland but very few from Dublin & Glendalough and she encouraged parish youth groups from the dioceses to attend. The event includes a Christmas service and party with the option to stay overnight in the parish centre and join parishioners for worship on the Sunday morning.
Lynn Storey (Rathfarnham) alerted Synod members to the forthcoming Building Blocks Children’s Ministry Conference which takes place in St Andrew’s College, Dublin, on November 18 and focuses on reaching out to fathers and their children. The main speaker will be Mark Chester of Who Let the Dads Out. See their Facebook page for details.
Archdeacon Ricky Rountree (Powerscourt and Kilbride) addressed Synod about the Camino de Glendalough which he said sought to make use of the wonderful resource of Glendalough. He said it is now set to become associated with the Camino de Compostela with the announcement that 25 percent of that Camino can be done in pilgrims’ home countries. He said stamps had been made for the Camino de Compostela passport and there were further developments in the pipeline.
Carol Reynolds (Bray) urged members of Synod to be open to the idea of Church of Ireland clergy being able to solemnise marriages in places other than churches. She suggested that the Church of Ireland was missing out on an opportunity to reach out to young people who wish to get married in places other than churches. Canon William Deverell (Tallaght) agreed and said that he had had no weddings in the parish for the past year and none for the foreseeable future. The Revd Olive Donohoe (Athy) also agreed saying she feared that clergy would be left “sitting in our churches twiddling our thumbs” and adding that “we need to be where the people are”.
The Revd Stephen Farrell (Zion and Diocesan Registrar for Marriages) sounded a note of caution warning that any clergy who felt minded to take something upon themselves could find themselves in trouble. He said clergy were bound by Church of Ireland regulations, which were set by General Synod, and if a cleric married a couple outside a church and anything happened to a marriage in the future, one party to the marriage could say they had never been properly married and the cleric could be held liable.
Olive Good (Castleknock) is the diocesan regulator for Safeguarding Trust and warned members that as of December 31 this year, anyone working with children in a parish must have Garda vetting. After that date parishes who fail to have people working with children vetted may be liable to a fine or imprisonment.
The Revd Nigel Waugh (Delgany and editor of the Church Review) pointed out that in the punishing world of print journalism, magazines could put someone attractive on the front cover to up their sales. “The best we could do was to put Alan Breen on our front cover and it hasn’t upped our sales!” he joked. He said that the Church Review aimed to reflect the dioceses through coverage of the many diverse events throughout the dioceses. It does this without cost to the dioceses but can only continue to do so with subscriptions and advertising. He urged parishes to make sure subscriptions continued and asked them to consider advertising, even just once a year, to ensure that the diocesan magazine continued without cost to the dioceses.
Archdeacon David Pierpoint (Christ Church Group of Parishes) raised the issue of hospital chaplaincy and commended the work of local clergy in answering emergency calls from hospitals outside chaplaincy hours. He praised the work of the Hospital Chaplaincy Team made up of Hilda Plant, Olwyn Lynch and Alex Morahan but wondered if the Tallaght and Mater Hospital Hub should be reconsidered for logistical reasons. The Archdeacon, assisted by Canon Mark Gardner and the Revd Ross Styles, is chaplain to St James’ Hospital.
The Revd John Tanner (Tullow) recommended that clergy should take the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) course for healthcare chaplaincy. He said the chaplains needed to be trained for to accompany people on their journey at the end of life or while in hospital. He added that details of hospital chaplains and where they served needed to be better publicised.
Canon Robert Warren (Taney) praised the full time hospital chaplains and the support provided by the Revd Bernie Daly, the Revd Terry Lilburn and the Revd John Tanner as well as the clergy who respond to emergency calls out of hours. He said that the Tallaght Mater Hub would be kept under review but that Alex Morahan was not travelling back and forth across the city to perform his role. Rather he spent one day in Tallaght and another day in the Mater.
Derek Neilson (Calary) spoke of the Diocesan Homelessness Initiative which supports a transitional housing programme being run by the Irish Refugee Council for those exiting Direct Provision. He said the project was very important in welcoming people coming to Ireland and thanked the subcommittee of Diocesan Councils for their work on the project. Canon Horace McKinley (Whitechurch) added that all the information on the programme was available on the diocesan website and there were regular updates in the Church Review.
The Revd Alan Rufli (Clondalkin and Rathcoole) described prison chaplaincy as the forgotten chaplaincy and suggested that Dublin & Glendalough needed to take the lead in strengthening prison chaplaincy. He praised the work of the Prison Chaplaincy Review Group set up by Diocesan Councils and chaired by Canon Horace McKinley and said it had helped to validate the work of prison chaplaincy. He is the Prison Service appointed chaplain for the West Dublin Campus and is the only non Roman Catholic Prison Service Chaplain in Dublin.
Leo Kilroy (Rathdrum and Derralossory) commended the work of university chaplains and in particular Philip McKinley for participating in an RTE series on chaplaincy.
Canon Nigel Sherwood (Arklow Inch and Kilbride) brought the work of the Country Air Association to the attention of Synod and urged parishes to continue their support for it and clergy to take grant forms for any people in their parishes who they feel may be eligible for holiday grants.
Canon Kevin Brew (Howth) highlighted an issue that had arisen in his parish. During drainage works carried out as part of the restoration of the church they discovered they were sitting on a National Monument and had to undertake a number of surveys as a result. He said the parish must pay for these surveys, at great cost which included VAT, but was told that anything found would be the property of the State.