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steve

The Rock who is Christ


It was my privilege to attend the General Synod for the Church of Ireland, and to be part of discussions, presentations and debates around a variety of issues that touch upon our shared ecclesial identity and those which rest at the core of who we are as a Christian people.


There were many emotionally charged words around two particular areas discussed at the General Synod.  One concerned questions around companies the Representative Church Body invests their money in order that it obtain the most benefit from its investment.  To this end it was decided that the Church of Ireland look more carefully at the ethics around their investment, and particularly when those investments are believed are with companies whose activity detrimentally impacts upon the world’s environment.  The members of the General Synod were in favour of more careful consideration around the nature of the Church of Ireland investments.


A second issue that was very prominent during the General Synod was the discussion around a motion that Bishops from the Church of Ireland should consider, discuss and develop a blessing ceremony for same sex couples.  There were many comments made in favour of the motion, and there were numerous comments and arguments contrary to the motion.  The General Synod defeated the motion by a vote.  As a result the Bishops in the Church of Ireland have not been granted the General Synod’s permission to explore the possibility of public same sex blessings within the Church of Ireland.


In both discussions, regarding the one on environment and regarding the possible blessing ceremony of same sex couples, people spoke from their hearts and in both cases concerns were heard.  Among the difficulties in such discussions involve people aligning themselves with ecclesial and or theological positions which are not wholly endorsed by everyone listening to or taking part in the discussion.  As a result, there can be a shared-sense that when church representatives stand on varied theological and ecclesiastical groundings, that then there exists no terra firma, no place of wholeness or Holiness.


Our discussions at the General Synod remind me of the parable of the rock and the sand, found in Matthew chapter 7 and Luke chapter 6 respectively, where Jesus says, everyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like the one who laid his/her foundation on rock.
Perhaps as you read this, you too wonder, is the Church of Ireland standing on rock or on sand when it comes to discussions and disagreements?  If we are to live, the only place any of us can ultimately stand is on Christ our Lord.  As Paul reminds us in Romans (8:6), the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and truth.


Our current earthly expression of church will one day pass away; and regardless if it has been governed well or for ill, it will pass away.  However, the Church founded upon Christ does not pass away.  Christ our chief cornerstone will remain, no matter how harshly our earthly opinions may vary.  The choice for we the church members and we the Church is between a faith founded upon the foibles of human governance or upon the Christ who will sustain us in the midst of our human foibles.  Regardless of your choice, there remains one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Ephesians 4:5).

 

Rev Stephen McCann


The Rectory
Church Road
Ballydehob
Co. Cork

Tel. (028) 37117
Email:  Ballydehobrector@gmail.com

 

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