Thursday, October 13, 2011

happy anniversary!

I'm just back from our annual diocesan clergy conference. Since it was last year's speaker who encouraged me to start a blog, this kind of makes it the first anniversary of this forum ... & I suppose I should be grateful that this year's speaker didn't suggest I stop writing!

This year's conference was looking at some historical perspectives on the Church of Ireland and we had as our guest speaker the distinguished historian (& my former Theological College principal) Professor/Canon Adrian Empey. I learned a lot at the conference & I'm not going to do disservice to all that Prof Empey had to say by trying to condense it all into a few paragraphs here. Suffice it to say that it is always good to know something of the history of any organisation or group, because history provides context, and from context flows greater understanding.

Equally important at these clergy gatherings is the fellowship that ensues. It is especially good when those who might have different perspectives on various issues are able to sit at table and chat about their varying views and listen each to the other with respect.

Perhaps this is the approach to take any time a contentious issue arises: take those who shout the loudest on either side of the debate and lock them in together for a few days ... get them to commit to live, eat, & pray together during that time ... and most importantly, to commit to really listen to what the other side has to say ... avoiding polemic, rhetoric, debate, point-scoring and all the rest ... simply commit to listen respectfully to each other ... and see if they can't find a way to journey forward in Christian fellowship.

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