15 May 2008

Helping the cyclone victims in Burma through USPG

Patrick Comerford

The Bishops’ Appeal Fund announced a generous donation of €10,000 USPG – Anglicans in World Mission to help the emergency work of the Anglican Church in Burma with the victims of the recent cyclone. As a board member of USPG Ireland, I was pleased to thank the bishops for this important donation in the wake of the cyclone

Speaking during the debate on the report of the Council for Mission, I pointed out that USPG has a long-standing relationship with the Church in Burma as the main overseas funding partner of their work. Over the last 50 years, USPG has become the chief source of overseas finance for the Church of Myanmar (Burma). Through its Rapid Response Fund, USPG enables churches in the Anglican Communion to provide food, practical support and spiritual comfort in times of emergency.

A reported a communiqué this week from Archbishop Stephen on the plight in one parish that includes three villages; in one village, only three houses remain; in the second, 18 villagers have survived, but the other 70 have died; the third village has disappeared totally and the fate of the villagers is still not known.

The people of Burma are suffering under a brutal regime. There are practical ways to support the work of the Anglican Church in Burma through USPG:

● Donate directly through USPG Ireland;

● Sign up for the 300 Plus Club, a practical way of engaging with the work of USPG Ireland.

● Take a USPG collection obx, and place it in a prominent position in your church or at home;

● Take USPG donation envelopes and distribute them to your parishioners and friends.

The report of the Council for Mission was introduced by the Rev Geoff Wilson (Kilmore) and seconded by Miss Mavis Gibbons.

The report of the Methodist Covenant Council was introduced by Canon Adrian Empey and Bishop Harold Miller. The Rev Chris Matchett spoke of the conference on “mission-shaped church” at the Jethro Centre in Lurgan. Synod members also received a copy of a new publication, Working out the Covenant: Guidelines for the Journey, by Gillian Kingston.

During the late morning session of the synod received the report of the Church of Ireland Marriage Council, which was introduced by the Revd John McDowell. Canon Horace McKinley, reading Canon Jonathan Barry’s seconding speech, drew attention to the website of the Marriage Council, and urged all sections of the Church to develop their presence and resources on the web.

Just before lunch, the winners of competitions for the best websites, magazines and innovative use of modern media by individuals, parishes and dioceses were announced. This year also saw the introduction of two new awards in addition to the existing categories. Dublin and Glendalough’s Youth initiative, 3 Rock Youth won the award for most innovative use of newer technologies for its Crucial series of DVDs, designed for training young people for confirmation. Hollywood parish in Co. Down was runner up in the same category.

Canon Katharine Poulton collected the prize for the Revd Ian Poulton of Killiney-Ballybrack, Co Dublin, www.forthefainthearted.com, who won the award for the best blog for his “For the Fainthearted” blog. How pleasant it was for this new and sometimes naïve blogger to find I was the runner-up in this category.

In the websites category there were joint winners for the best diocesan websites between the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross and the Diocese of Connor. The winning parish website was Christ Church Lisburn (Diocese of Connor) with CORE in Dublin as the runner-up.

In the magazines category, the best parish magazine prize was won by Willowfield parish (Down), while the runner-up was Together, the magazine of Holy Trinity with Saint Silas and Immanuel (Connor). N’Vision (Diocese of Derry and Raphoe) won in the Diocesan Magazine category, with the Church Review (Dublin and Glendalough) the runner-up in this category. In Mission, the magazine of CMS Ireland, was highly commended.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological College. He is a representative of the Diocese of Dublin at the General Synod.

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