Church of Ireland learns to live with difference
The Church of Ireland has announced plans to deal positively with differences both within the church and in society.
In a new initiative, the church has set up a committee to respond to lessons learned from a scoping study of members' attitudes to sectarianism and living with differences.
The study entitled 'The Hard Gospel', published last year, was one of the most comprehensive pieces of research yet attempted into one church or denomination in Ireland.
Archdeacon David Chillingworth, rector of Seagoe Parish, Portadown, and a member of the church's Sectarianism Education Project Committee which has been responsible for planning this new initiative, said, "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 new committee, to be known as 'The Hard Gospel Committee' (HGC), will begin its work by examining responses to the scoping study from the twelve Church of Ireland Diocesan Synods and from Boards and Committees, with a view to developing a strategic vision.
Meanwhile material has been issued to clergy and parishes linking the main themes of 'The Hard Gospel' with appropriate scripture studies.
The HGC will consist of twelve members and will form two sub-committees to address central issues and to engage with clergy and laity at diocesan and parish level.