My dear friends,
One of the most encouraging traits in church life throughout Ireland at present has been a new emphasis on the crucial importance of prayer in the life of discipleship. It seems as though we have unitedly returned to the crucial realisation that a church which does not place prayer the very centre of its work has a very limited shelf life indeed. Prayer is something both for the Church as a fellowship of Christian disciples, and equally for individual Christians in their day-by-day discipleship. And certainly, as we seek to reach into God’s future for us as a diocese, we can only do this when we undergird our endeavours with prayer.
With all this in view, I hope to focus this autumn’s “Archbishop’s Roadshows” on prayer. The series will probably follow a slightly different format, even perhaps making use of the possibilities of multi-media, if someone will give me sufficient tuition! I intend that we will look at different aspects of prayer and different ways of praying. As diaries are already beginning to bulge for the rest of the year (including mine), I am giving dates at this stage. There will be roadshows over three weeks in November, “available” in different areas of the diocese on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 3-5 November, 10-12 November, and - mind the gap! - 24-26 November. Venues are not yet finalised, but the events will take place in the southern, middle and northern areas of the diocese on the Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays respectively. After some confusion last year, please assume that 8.00pm will be the starting time in each of the venues.. I hope that you will avail of the opportunities to share in these discussions on how we may better integrate our spiritual lives with our everyday living.
It is wonderful to point the diocese towards our very attractive new web-site. Grateful thanks are due to our new DCO, Jonathan Hull who has certainly hit the proverbial ground running in his new role, and to his son Christopher, for setting up the new site. We wish Jonathan well, and encourage all parishes to keep in close touch with him. A DCO can only be as effective as those gatekeepers of news who are prepared to make the effort to communicate with him or her.
Finally, a note of thanks to Theo Saunders, Organist and Master of the Choristers of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral Armagh, who has recently announced his retirement. Over the past decade, Theo has served the music and the worship of the Cathedral with immense dedication and musical skill. We thank him for his devotion and service, and we will keep him in our prayers in his retirement.