Friday, June 03, 2005

The following letter was in the Church of Ireland Gazette last week, and made a profound impact on me... here's the text of it, then I'll tell you why afterwards:

I was ashamed and embarrassed by Archbishop John Neill’s recent comment that the election of the Pope sent a shiver down his spine. He called Cardinal Desmond Connell a “reactionary”.
May I ask he takes the log out of his own eye first. He believes Anglicans are on a faith journey- searching, questioning and with no liking for packaged answers. We are on a journey, but not on the liberal high church path he is on.
A recent ERSI/Independent poll found that 60% of Anglicans in the Republic opposed homosexuality and 58% opposed abortion in all situations. The figures for the North were higher. Sadly, our bishops don’t know this, or refuse to acknowledge it.
The Reformation happened because people wanted a greater biblical emphasis in their faith. A reformation is happening within Anglicanism today. The Church of England was traditionally ‘High Church’ and suffered what the Church of Ireland is at present suffering – a loss in church attendance. Yet in the Church of England a biblical ‘Low Church’ revival is happening and the ‘High Church’ bishops are being pushed out, especially those with non-biblical views.
I pray this too will happen here and that our Northern Anglican brothers and sisters will lead us back to the path of eternal salvation, not eternal damnation.
-Barry William, Ballytarsna, Abbeyleix, County Laois.

So why did that impact on me? Well, when we were preparing for Selection for college and all that, we were told that when we are ordained, we have to commit to working 'anywhere in Ireland' for at least three years. As you may have gathered from this blog, I'm rather fond of my British identity, and Ulster-Scots culture etc... and so, I always squared it in my mind that, while I could end up anywhere, I would prefer to work in Northern Ireland...

And then this letter appeared in the Gazette. I have been thinking about it all week, and was inspired to think on the subject even more after a chat with Stanley Gamble. Now, Stanley is from Lisburn, but for the past two years has been working for Irish Church Mission in Dublin, doing evangelistic mission and outreach. Stanley is so passionate about the Gospel, and reaching people with it, and is also due to start college in September (although he gets to start in Second Year as he has previously done theology). According to Stanley, there is a hunger in the south for the gospel...

So who am I to turn down working with these people in the Republic who so desperately are crying out for the Gospel? Here am I Lord, send me where you will.

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