Archbishop Richard in his Presidential address spoke on 4 themes:
hospitality, sincerity, engagement and enchantment –
relating to how the Church reaches out to its neighbours.
Archbishop Richard said: ‘In a world where people feel increasingly alone and bereft of dignity and worth, it should surely be within a Church community that they can find that they do matter, in the eyes of God’s people, and so they may come to understand that they matter, infinitely, to God.’ He referred to the response of local churches and other faith communities to the Grenfell Tower fire in London, and the command to be ‘engaged with the world around us … fully and even sacrificially’.
Archbishop Richard concluded by speaking on the ‘immensely deep need in people … to be captivated by something beyond themselves’ which can ultimately be met by ‘the magnetic love of Christ calling people out of themselves, their misery and fear and anger, towards his love.’
There is an inherent and unmistakeable beauty in true faith – the beauty of holiness. If men, women and children in the grip of pain, fear and loneliness are to be helped on their journey into the Kingdom of God, it will not be by clever argument or strident threats. It will be when they come upon that beauty of Christ the good shepherd, that magnetic enchantment of faith, in the life of the Church wherever they may encounter it.
Hospitality, sincerity, engagement and enchantment – let each of them be what people can see in us as the Body of Christ in this diocese of Armagh.
For a fuller version of the address please click here
Archbishop Richard as usual took time to express his appreciation and thanks to the many people who serve and minister in our Diocese. Tribute was paid to the Diocesan Office staff members, to the Archdeacons and Rural Deans and Council and Committe members, to Clergy and Readers and to the multitude of lay people and volunteers in minister in our parishes and communities.
Special thanks and gratitude were paid to Mr Ivan Davison (picture below) who has retired after many years service to diocesan boards and committees and as honorary lay secretary.
Synod welcomed Mrs Nicola Brown who is Parish Support Officer for the RCB. Nicola provided a very inspiring presentation on "Encouraging Generous Giving." She challenged us to think of "faith raising" and not just "fund raising." To not just concentrate on money to pay the bills but giving and spending to expand and grow the Kingdom of God.
For a full Synod photo gallery click here