Arch­bishop makes piece of his­tory in St. Saviour’s

CHURCH OF IRE­LAND EX­TENDS IN­VI­TA­TION TO PREACHER

Bray People - - NEWS - DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

A LAND­MARK MOMENT was ex­pe­ri­enced in St. Saviour's Church, Ark­low, on Sun­day as the Church of Ire­land com­mu­nity wel­comed a Catholic Arch­bishop of Dublin to preach in the church for the first time.

As part of Chris­tian Unity Week Arch­bishop of Dublin Diar­maid Martin ac­cepted an in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend the ser­vice hosted by St. Saviour's.

Clergy and parish­ioners from Ss. Mary and Peters' Church, St. Joseph's, Tem­plerainey, Ark­low Methodist Church and Ark­low Pres­by­te­rian Church gath­ered at St. Saviour's for an en­light­en­ing ec­u­meni­cal ser­vice which in­cluded the joy­ful sounds of Ark­low Re­vival Gospel Choir.

Rev. Nigel Sher­wood wel­comed Arch­bishop Martin and out­lined his pres­ence as a sig­nif­i­cant oc­ca­sion for St. Saviour's.

In his homily Arch­bishop Martin said the call to ec­u­menism is an ur­gent call.

He told the con­gre­ga­tion in Ark­low that prayer is the es­sen­tial step­ping stone to­wards over­com­ing our ‘self-gen­er­ated' di­vi­sions.

He later said that a di­men­sion of si­lence and con­tem­pla­tion must also form part of our con­tri­bu­tion as be­liev­ers to our world, where so of­ten the empti­ness of noise pre­vents us from even ask­ing the fun­da­men­tal ques­tions about life.

‘I be­lieve that per­haps the time is ripe that we in Ire­land ought to un­der­take a sim­i­lar re­view of where we are in our ec­u­meni­cal re­la­tions. We need to do so in or­der to un­der­stand bet­ter the path for­ward,' said Arch­bishop Martin.

‘An im­por­tant di­men­sion of such a re­view would also be ad­dress the doubt and scep­ti­cism and tired- ness that can eas­ily creep into our re­la­tions. There are those who talk of an ec­u­meni­cal win­ter or a lack of progress af­ter many years of con­ver­sa­tions. Such scep­ti­cism can eas­ily lead to frus­tra­tion and im­mo­bil­ism and drain our spir­i­tual en­er­gies in the ec­u­meni­cal field. There is a dan­ger that many will be­come con­tent with the sta­tus quo and sim­ply go through the mo­tions on oc­ca­sions like the Week of Prayer for Chris­tian Unity,' he added.

Out­lin­ing the call to ec­u­menism as ‘ur­gent' Arch­bishop Martin added, ‘We need to con­stantly re­mind our­selves of just how cen­tral ec­u­meni­cal en­deav­our is for the Chris­tian life. Vat­i­can II's De­cree on Ec­u­menism sets out the neg­a­tive con­se­quences of our di­vi­sions. Our di­vi­sion ‘openly con­tra­dicts the will of Christ, pro­vides a stum­bling block to the world and in­flicts dam­age on the most holy cause of pro­claim­ing the good news to ev­ery crea­ture’.

■ Arch­bishop Diar­muid Martin with the Re­vival gospel choir in St. Saviours, Ark­low at the Chris­tian Unity Ser­vice.

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