Sunday, 14 September 2014

Celebrating 300 years of the mission
work in Ireland of SPG, USPG and Us

In the robing room of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, this afternoon (from left): Bishop Michael Burrows, Archbishop Richard Clarke, Bishop John McDowell, Linda Chambers and Bishop Pat Storey (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerford

This has been a busy working weekend. The part-time MTh students returned for the academic year, the new first year students, both full-time and part-time, were in for an Introductory Weekend, and the Third Year students, who are being ordained deacons during these weeks, are in tomorrow for the beginning of their academic year.

I was lecturing over the weekend on academic writing skills and on community living, and the weekend came to an end with the Community Eucharist and a light lunch

Later this afternoon, I was in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, to take part in the celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Irish branch of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), later the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG), and now known as Us (the United Society).

The celebrations took place within the context of Choral Evensong, sung by the Cathedral Consort.

Former USPG mission partners were there, as well as board members and friends of Us from Us in Britain, the Church’s Ministry of Healing, the Dublin University Mission to Chota Nagpur, and diocesan and General Synod councils for mission.

Four bishops were present too: Archbishop Richard Clarke, who is a patron of Us, Bishop Pat Storey of Meath and Kildare, Bishop John McDowell of Clogher, and Bishop Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory, who is chair of Us Ireland and Us Northern Ireland, and who was this afternoon’s preacher.

The lessons were read by Linda Chamber of Us Ireland and Janette O’Neill, the London-based General Secretary and CEO Chief Executive of Us.

The intercessions were led by Jessica Stone (Church’s Ministry of Healing), the Revd Andrew McCroskery (Bikers on a Mission), Canon Billy Marshall (DUMCN) and the Revd Richard Bartlett, Vicar of Holy Trinity Norwood and a member of the boards of Us Ireland and Us Northern Ireland.

I was invited by the Dean of Saint Patrick’s, the Very Revd Victor Stacey, and the Dean’s Vicar, Canon Charles Mullen, to sit in the Succentor’s Stall and to lead the opening, bidding prayer:

Almighty God,
who called your Church to witness
that you are in Christ reconciling the world to yourself:
as we gather to give thanks and celebrate and give thanks
for 300 years of the work in Ireland
of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,
the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,
and the United Society,
we ask that we may be filled with compassion for those who yearn for Good News,
that we may renew our commitment to sharing the Good News of your love,
and that we may be living signs of the coming of your Kingdom,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Between the occasional prayers and the final hymn, a wreath in Canadian colours of red and white was laid at the monument in the cathedral’s north aisle to Bishop Charles Inglis from Co Donegal, an early SPG missionary who became Bishop of Nova Scotia and the first Anglican missionary bishop.

Afterwards, we were welcomed to a reception in the crypt of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

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