As we face into the month of November 2012, many eyes are turned towards the United States of America. In this presidential election year, the campaign of the two candidates, Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama, is drawing to a close in what is widely seen as the most closely fought contest in recent years. And whether we like to admit it or not, the result could have wide-ranging implications and repercussions across the entire world. At a time when there are a number of politically volatile flashpoints – especially in the Middle East – one hopes and prays that whoever wins the presidential election will steer a moderate course which will not make an already bad situation worse.
However, the presidential election is not the only reason that eyes have been focussed on the U.S. in recent days. At the time of writing, the devastating hurricane Sandy is forecasted to hit the densely populated East Coast, including the cities of Washington D.C., New York and Boston. All of this will undoubtedly place a huge strain on emergency services as they deal with loss of life and having to put a major clear-up operation in place. However, we should also remember that both Cuba and Haiti also bore the brunt of this hurricane and with much less means to deal with the devastation.
Closer to home, Dublin and Glendalough Diocesan Synods took place in Taney Parish Centre on 16th and 17th October. In his presidential address, the Archbishop opened his remarks with a reflection on the general assumption held by most people of choice. We are all faced with a myriad of choices every day and how we make those choices has a knock-on impact on both ourselves and others. In particular, “as disciples of Jesus Christ, it must always do a number of good things at once: deepen compassion; strengthen commitment; give joy and delight. Choice can also lead us into those most exciting and fulfilling areas of human life: the formation of relationships and the outworking of responsibilities.” His address went on to comment on the choices we now face as a United Dioceses under the headings of Engaging with Mission abroad, Growth and New Expressions at home, Ecumenical Relationships at a local level, Inter-diocesan co-operation and relationships, Education, and Human Sexuality to name a few. In his concluding remarks the Archbishop looked forward with optimism as he stated, “The capacity of the people of this dioceses has inspired me and I have every confidence that it will continue to do so in the years ahead when we travel this road of responsibilities and relationships together – with joy and fun as well as with hard work and careful planning.”
Finally, November is the traditional month for Remembrance. Services will be held over the weekend 9th to 11th November to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in the cause of peace and freedom over the course of two World Wars during the last century. Many now question the relevance of these ceremonies, whilst others claim they glorify war. However, both these viewpoints are incorrect as the ceremonies highlight the horrors of war with the resultant loss of life and hardships caused. They also serve to remind those who are inclined to take such things for granted of the preciousness of the peace and freedom we enjoy. However, November (All Souls) is also the traditional month for the remembrance of loved ones who may have recently died. Many hospitals, Nursing Homes and Sports Clubs hold ecumenical ceremonies which are well supported and provide both a helpful and tangible milestone for families in their grieving process.
With every blessing,
The Rev’d John Tanner. Tel, 289 3154 / 086 302 1376