The three-day Church of Ireland General Synod took place at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Galway, from May 13-15.
In his Presidential address, The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Reverend Alan Harper, reflected on the recent visit by the four Irish Church leaders to the Holy Land at the invitation of Trócaire and Christian Aid. Archbishop Harper joined Cardinal Seán Brady, the Rev Roy Cooper, President of the Methodist Church and the Rev John Finlay for a four day visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The Archbishop also outlined a vision for the Church of Ireland in the 21st Century developed by the House of Bishops with particular reference to changes in the training of clergy for ministry in the Church. Download the Archbishop’s Presidential address in full here.
Preaching in St Nicholas Collegiate Church in Galway at a Eucharist for members of the Church of Ireland General Synod on the evening of Tuesday May 13, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr John Neill stated that the crisis in the Anglican Communion “can be viewed positively.”
His comments come in the lead up to the 14th Lambeth Conference when for the third time he, along with the Archbishop of Armagh and the other Bishops of the Church of Ireland will travel to Canterbury, England, for a once a decade conference of worldwide Anglican Bishops.
Speaking on the broad topic of unity in diversity, the Archbishop said: “In the Church of Ireland, we have set a great store by the fact that we have been able to remain one in times of deep political division, and in spite of the fact that our ministry, North and South, is in a very different context.
"This is something that must not be taken for granted.”
Archbishop Neill's full sermon can be downloaded here.
The President of Ireland, Ms Mary McAleese, addressed the General Synod on Wednesday, May 14, the first head of state to do so.
Referring to the progress achieved in recent years across the island of Ireland, the President told a well attended Synod that “we stand today at what I believe to be a pivotal moment in Irish history, one of those rare moments when all the accreted pain, planning and persuasion, do indeed lead to a sea change, to a sharp and manifest shift in direction.”
She went on: ”Over the course of the past decade, we have seen the steady advance of the process of releasing ourselves from the grip of history’s vanities and a wasteful past. For the first time ever, this island has a chance to feel the surging power that comes from working hand-in-hand rather than going toe-to-toe.
“Underpinning the work of peace and prosperity building is the gospel challenge to love one another, to forgive one another, and to be charitable to one another, especially to those from whom we have been most estranged.”
The President’s speech was greeted with enthusiastic applause from members of the General Synod. Before the President ended her visit Mr Sam Harper, the longest-serving Honorary Secretary of the General Synod, presented her with a half size replica of St Patrick's Bell. The original bell is located in the National Museum, Dublin.
For a full review of the General Synod visit the Church of Ireland Synod website.