The Church of Ireland established a new committee to augment their ability to deal positively with differences both within the church and in society, Jan. 30, 2004. The new initiative, entitled, “The Hard Gospel Committee” will begin its work by examining the responses of prepared questions to the twelve Church of Ireland Diocesan Synods and from the Boards and Committees within the church.
Archdeacon David Chillingworth, rector of Seagoe Parish, Portadown, and a member of the church’s Sectarianism Education Project Committee that has been responsible for planning this new initiative, said such a study on “sectarianism” is critical for the future of Ireland and Christianity.
“Dealing creatively with sectarianism and with other forms of difference requires faith, courage, generosity, knowledge and skill. It is our view that the Church of Ireland and other churches in Ireland should be ready and able to address sectarianism. We believe that this is of fundamental importance to the future of Ireland and of Christianity in Ireland.”
The initial study for “The Hard Gospel” was published last year, as one of the most comprehensive research project undertaken by one church or denomination in Ireland. Materials from this study along with appropriate scripture studies have been issued to clergy and parishes since.
The church’s Standing Committee has appointed twelve members that will form two sub committees to address central issues and engage with clergy and laity at diocesan and parish level. The members, who will serve until Jan. 31, 2007, include: Mrs Joan Bruton, Diocese of Meath and Kildare; Archdeacon David Chillingworth, Diocese of Down and Dromore; the Revd Eileen Cremin, Diocese of Cork, Cloyne & Ross; the Revd Kenny Hall, Diocese of Armagh; Ms Ruth Handy, Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough; the Revd Michael Parker, Diocese of Down and Dromore; the Revd Earl Storey, Diocese of Derry and Raphoe; Ms Kate Turner, Diocese of Connor; Mrs Elaine Way, Diocese of Derry and Raphoe; the Revd Canon Trevor Williams, Diocese of Connor; Lady Sheil, Nominee of the Honorary Secretaries; and a Nominee of the House of Bishops still to be chosen.