Archbishop appoints Inter Faith Advisor

Friday March 5th 2021

The Rev Suzanne Cousins pictured at the launch of her Braemor Study, ‘Generous Love in Multi-Faith Ireland,’ in March 2018 with (from left) Mr Shafqat Ayub, Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, (Head Imam of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Education and Cultural Centre, Ireland), and the Rev Canon Dr Maurice Elliott (Director, Church of Ireland Theological Institute). Photo: Lynn Glanville.

The Most Rev John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has appointed the Rev Suzanne Cousins, rector of the Benburb Group of Parishes, as his Inter Faith Advisor.

Archbishop McDowell said: “In recent years, the World Council of Churches has been developing its role in this area of theology and practice and it is keen to liaise with member Churches in this work.  In an increasingly diverse community, here in Ireland and globally, it is important that we are aware of both the limitations and the extent of what can be achieved in inter-faith relations with integrity and love.

“Apart from her invaluable experience of living as a Christian overseas and engaging with Muslim people and communities, Suzanne is a member of the Inter Faith Working Group of the General Synod Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue, and her MTh dissertation (subsequently published in the Braemor Series) dealt with a central Anglican approach to inter-faith encounter, outlined in the Anglican Communion document entitled Generous Love. I am delighted that Suzanne has agreed to act in this capacity.”

Mrs Cousins said: ‘I am delighted and honoured to be invited by the Archbishop to serve in this capacity.  Inter-faith dialogue and the approach of the Anglican Communion and other Churches has developed significantly since the early days of its formal exploration, so that dialogue no longer belongs solely or mainly in the domain of theological academia.

“Rather, Christians in Irish society, north and south, can find themselves on an almost daily basis interacting with people of other faiths, who are a growing minority. Inter-faith dialogue is in many ways the domain of everyone, especially with the digitalisation of dialogue.

“The Church of Ireland, through its committees and structures, is aware of the need to equip its members – disciples of Christ – for faithful, confident and loving everyday inter-faith encounter and engagement in this changing environment.  To this end, I look forward to assisting the Archbishop as he seeks to advise and guide the Church on current related theological, pastoral and practical issues, and on the challenges and opportunities which these present to the Church in its ministry and mission.”

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