Irish news – 29th June

USPG announces plans to change its name;  Dean of Limerick Appointed;  Enniskillen revisited – Archbishop of Dublin reflects on the Queen’s Jubilee Service;  University of Tennessee Chamber Singers’ tour;  Ex-service Parishioner met the Queen;  £7m funding to tackle NI alcoholism       

USPG announces plans to change its name
At its annual conference this week (25-27 June 2012), the 311-year-old Anglican mission and development agency USPG announced it will be changing its name.

The decision was taken by USPG’s trustees following a lengthy consultation with churches and supporters of the charity.

Delegates attending USPG’s annual conference were given a preview of the new name and logo, which have been designed to reflect the contemporary nature of the work today, and invite many more individuals and churches to find out more and get involved.

The new name – United Society to be known as Us. –will be officially adopted [at a launch event in November 2012.

Canon Linda Ali, chair of USPG’s Trustees, explained: ‘We are very proud of our heritage and take seriously our remit to work through Anglican Churches to help global communities tackle poverty.

‘We were founded in 1701. To put this into historical context, in 1701 the composers Bach and Handel were still young men! The original title given to us by our founder, the Revd Thomas Bray, was The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which was later abbreviated to SPG.

‘No doubt this name worked well in its day, but words like “propagation” are simply out-dated in the twenty-first century. So it was time for a change.

‘Our new name, Us, is directly derived from USPG, so it speaks to our heritage, but it also speaks about inclusivity. There is no “them”; we are all “us”. Our work – in partnership with the churches of the Anglican Communion – is for the benefit of the whole community, regardless of ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality, age or faith. No-one is excluded.’

The new strapline for the charity is ‘Every person. Every community. A full life.’ This is designed to underscore the concept of inclusion and point to a vision of the future, where the words of Jesus in John 10:10 become a reality – the experience of life in all its fullness.

Dean of Limerick Appointed
This week Bishop Trevor Williams announced the appointment of the Rev’d. Sandra Pragnell as Dean of Limerick and Rector of Limerick City Parish.

Sandra has been Rector of the Dundalk Group of parishes since 2005. Sandra serves on the Liturgical Advisory Committee; led pastoral training in Theological Reflection for NSM ordinands at the Church of Ireland Training College, from 2004-2008. She chaired the Archbishop of Dublin’s Working Group on combating racisim and co-authored the report “Welcoming Angels”. From 2011 she has been a member of General Synod and of the Inter-Faith working Group of the General Synod’s Commission on Christian Unity and Dialogue.

Sandra notes her special areas of interest in Ministry as Collaborative Ministry, Liturgy and Music, Ecumenism, Mission and Justice. She has been involved in supporting Asylum seekers and was a founder member of Friends of Sabeel (Ireland), an ecumenical grassroots biblically-based theology movement among Palestinian Christians in East Jerusalem.

Sandra writes of herself: 
” Originally from the south of England, I have been in Ireland since 1994 and trained at the Theological College (as it then was) in Dublin from 1998-2001. As I had been opposed to the ordination of women for years, and never wanted to set foot in Ireland, I know for sure that God has a sense of humour. Ordained in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, I spent 4 years as Curate in the Parishes of Castleknock and Mulhuddart with Clonsilla where I learned so much that has helped me. During that time I also studied at All Hallows College, gaining an MA (1st class) in Pastoral Leadership, with a thesis on Spirituality and the Older Person. I also enjoyed being a Priest Vicar at Christ Church Cathedral at that time. Since moving in May 2005 to the cross-border parochial group of Dundalk, Heynestown Union, Ballymascanlan and Rathcor (Carlingford) Union, and Creggan, I have been studying at Milltown Institute for a Doctorate in Ministry, and am now desperately trying to complete the thesis.

My immediate family are in Scotland and England, and my mother Beryl (who grew up in Jersey) usually comes to stay with me three or four times a year. At present, I share my home with my spaniel Toby, two cats, 5 ducks, and over a dozen chickens. Holidays are important: most of my friends are in London, so visits there are vital for keeping up with people; and this is the first year in ages that I have not been back to Jerusalem. The Old City is my favourite place on earth. And I know how important it is for our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land to feel that the rest of the church world-wide remembers and supports them. Other interests (when time permits!) include cooking and entertaining, and researching the family tree (though the Scottish and Breton branches are hard to unravel)”.

Enniskillen revisited – Archbishop of Dublin reflects on the Queen’s Jubilee Service
“Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Enniskillen was hugely significant and enabled the community to show how far its members have come, according to the Archbishop of Dublin. Speaking after the Service of Thanksgiving to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in St Macartin’s Cathedral, Archbishop Michael Jackson said it was a privilege to be invited to Enniskillen for the service which marked the beginning of the Queen’s two day visit to Northern Ireland as part of her diamond jubilee celebrations.

“Following on from Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland last year… the significance of her visit to Enniskillen cannot be underestimated,” he stated. “People worldwide will remember the Enniskillen bomb. They will also have seen today the great expression of community healing and cross community cooperation that has taken place. The service brought together the best of talent and good will of the people of Fermanagh. The presence of four church leaders symbolises how far the community has come in the political situation where people have made time and effort to heal and envision a new society.”

The Thanksgiving Service, attended by about 750 people, was conducted by the Very Revd Kenneth Hall. The lesson was ready by the Rt Hon Peter Robinson, First Minister of Northern Ireland. The Prayers of Intercession were led by the Revd Ken Lindsay, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland; Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland; and the Rt Revd Dr Roy Patton, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Alan Harper OBE, delivered the sermon (full text below) and pronounced the Blessing. The Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John McDowell, led the Diamond Jubilee Prayer.

“The utter naturalness of the service is something that came across powerfully along with the presence of local church leaders and people from the community,” Archbishop Jackson commented. Following the service in the cathedral Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip moved across the road to the Roman Catholic St Michael’s Church where she met local leaders, representatives of local schools, businesses, tourism, farmers, scouts and guides, charities, public services and sport. “It was a story of how the community comes together and looks to the future and as former Bishop of Clogher, it was an honour to be invited today,” the Archbishop of Dublin concluded.

University of Tennessee Chamber Singers’ tour

The University of Tennessee Chamber Singers will be in concert in St Nicholas Parish Church, Lisburn Road, Belfast, on Friday July 6 at 8pm.

The Concert is part of the group’s 2012 Tour which includes Christ Church Cathedral and Saint Patrick’s in Dublin and Downpatrick Cathedral where they will sing Evensong. The group is giving just two concerts with a mixed secular/sacred programme, one in Saint Nicholas’ and the other in Bangor Abbey on July 10 at 7.30pm.

A suggested donation of £7.50 can be paid at the door. Children and young people will not be asked for a donation, and all proceeds from the concert will go to St Nicholas’s link parishes in Kajiado Diocese, Kenya.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast will be attending and going to address the audience. On the evening there will also be a Church Mission Society Ireland (CMSI) Market Place stall selling made in the various CMSI partner areas. Everyone is welcome.

The choral evensong with the choir at Down Cathedral is on Sunday 8 July at 3.30pm.

Ex-service Parishioner met the Queen
John Leishman, who served in World War II at El Alamein and Normandy is a parishioner at St Mary’s Ballybeen. He went on the Nolan Show last week to say how upset he was that he couldn’t get to the event at Stormont. He is 92 and met Princess Elizabeth when she was working in the ATS and wearing dungarees! The First Minister got John a place on the Queen’s table at the dinner in the Titanic Quarter on 27 June. Sammy Douglas MLA brought him there and then on to Stormont.He was shown on TV news meeting the Queen.

£7m funding to tackle NI alcoholism
The Big Lottery Fund is giving £7m in grants to help tackle alcohol abuse in Northern Ireland.