The 58th Annual Church of Ireland Theological Lecture at Queen’s University, Belfast took place in the Great Hall at Queen’s University, Belfast, on Monday February 16.
In order to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Chaplaincy Centre at Queen’s, the event departed from the normal pattern of hearing from one guest lecturer.
Instead it heard from four leading figures from the Church of Ireland, the Methodist, the Presbyterian and the Roman Catholic Churches in Ireland, each addressing the subject of ‘The Mission of the Church in Northern Ireland in 2015: Obstacles and Opportunities.’
Following a welcome from the Bishop of Connor, The Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, and the Vice Chancellor of Queen’s, Professor Patrick Johnston, The Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh, spoke from the Church of Ireland perspective; the Rev Dr Heather Morris (former President) from the Methodist Church; the Rev Dr Stafford Carson (former Moderator and Principal of Union Theological College) from the Presbyterian tradition and the Rev Dr Eddie McGee from the Catholic Diocese of Down & Connor (representing Bishop Noel Treanor).
Each spoke about the significance of discipleship, disciple–making and the mobilisation of church members across the Christian traditions in a markedly changed cultural landscape where church members now find themselves in a minority position.
The event was in two parts: The individual contributions were followed by a lively and engaging hour–long Question and Answer session chaired by the Rev Barry Forde, Church of Ireland Chaplain at QUB.
Addressing a wide range of topics from engaging with the issues of our day and clashes between liberal and secular culture with faith–based viewpoints to the economy and exploitation, the panellists spoke about the need for Christian people to show grace, love, compassion and courage, to build relationships across society and with individuals and to find better ways to communicate intelligibly and intelligently.
In a pre–lecture reception, former Church of Ireland Chaplain Canon Edgar Turner, who inaugurated the Theological Lectures at Queen’s, said a few words to mark the special event, recalling that the lectures were established to convey ‘all that is best in the Church of Ireland and Anglicanism,’ criteria which he felt they had tried to stick to faithfully over the subsequent 58 years.
For more photos and audio downloads follow this link.