100 delegates from across our member churches gather for our annual assembly. This year the meeting will be held in Arklow, Co.Wicklow and Rev Dr Donald Watts will be installed as President of the Council until 2016.
The theme our meeting will be the ‘Theology of the Remnant‘ and our speakers will be Prof Frances Young, Professor Emeritus of Theology at the University of Birmingham and Rev Dr Heather Morris, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland.
The relationship of the churches to society and to each other has altered dramatically over the past decade. Particularly in the Republic of Ireland we have moved from dominance and authority to humility and uncertainty, questioning often how to compete in the post modern marketplace of ideas. There is at times a yearning from the public for a better church, at times a need for national catharsis, at times a demand that the church stays away. In this context Clergy can have a sense of loneliness and isolation both from the community where they serve and indeed from their own tradition. This impacts on the way we perceive ministry, pastoral care and mission in the church.
In exploring our theme will will try to learn from a changing church community in Arklow which is at heart both missional and community focussed. We hope also to learn what the Bible teaches us about the children of Israel in exile. Though the empire is different and less tangible, the anguish of the church is just as real and the call and covenantal promises of God are the same.