The ‘Being Churches together in 21st Century Ireland’ Symposium took place today in the Helix at Dublin City University.
The symposium is part of a number of events marking the Centenary of the Irish Council of Churches (ICC) and 50 years since the Ballymascanlon Talks which led to the formation of the Irish Inter–Church Meeting (IICM).
‘Called to be One’, an updated history of ICC and IICM written by Rev Canon Dr Ian Ellis, a former editor of The Church of Ireland Gazette was also launched today.
Bishop Andrew Forster, ICC President and Co–Chair of the Irish Inter–Church Meeting shared that,
“Today was a great day of coming together as churches across the island. Participants were given space to share about what being churches together means for them in practical terms. We were addressed by leading academics on how to effectively bring Christian values to the fore in public discourse. There is still work to be done but today was a impactful day in our journey together.”
The event offered an opportunity to come together to reflect and examine how churches can bear witness to our vision of hope for society in Ireland today.
Three Speakers were invited to address how churches together in Ireland can effectively bring their values to bear on polarising and fracturing pressures in society. Prof. Philip McDonagh (DCU) spoke on Witnessing for a Reason: Connecting Christian values and public concerns. Dr Nicola Brady (CTBI) addressed Witnessing Together: How churches build connection and work together effectively. Rev Dr Livingstone Thompson (Moravian Church) spoke on Witnessing in Diversity: Churches working for an Ireland of belonging.
Following this there were discussion group sessions exploring how churches can work effectively on different issues affecting society today such as sectarianism, economic inequality, ethnic and gender discrimination and the climate crisis.
Bishop Brendan Leahy, Co–Chair of the Irish Inter–Church Meeting reflected on the day:
“It has been a worthwhile day to join together to explore the vision of hope we have as churches on this island. We have been given an opportunity to really think about how best we can bear witness to this hope in today’s Ireland. With the launch of ‘Called to be One’ as a reminder of the work we have done, today we look towards the future together and with hope.’