The Rector Writes – course work; Synod and Referendum

This month is an extremely busy one on so many fronts. For a start, I find myself just a few weeks into a full-time Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.) course based in St. Vincent’s Hospital. This is my second unit as I did a similar exercise at the beginning of 2017. I am hoping that following the successful completion of this unit, I will be eligible for accreditation which is a requirement of the H.S.E. to minister in any of the H.S.E.-run hospitals. The previous unit allowed me to spend two days a week in Cork with the practical element being exercised in the parish. However, for this unit, I have to spend five full days in St. Vincent’s together with prescribed reading and weekly written assignments!

The General Synod of the Church of Ireland will meet between Thursday 10th and Saturday 12th May in Armagh. This year’s session should see the authorisation of the revision of the Book of Common Prayer 2004. The current edition has been out of print for the past two years and it is hoped that the new edition will go to print later this year. The most significant revision will be the provision of alternative contemporary Morning and Evening Prayer Services. Thankfully, this revision will not necessitate the purchase of new Prayer books as we will be able to download materials to print Service Sheets if and when deemed appropriate.

Elsewhere in this Newsletter, you will find details of the following: A work party in the Church Grounds which is scheduled for Saturday 12th May. The support of as many as possible would be greatly appreciated. On Friday 18th, you are invited to don your Stetson and boots/stilettos for an evening of Line Dancing. On Saturday 26th, there will be a Coffee Morning in the Rectory in aid of “Aoife’s Journey”.

As well as this, there is the National Referendum on whether the 8th Amendment to the Constitution should be repealed or not. Posters encouraging either a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote are everywhere whilst large chunks of current affairs articles in newspapers and programmes on radio and television are devoted to this topic. Yet, there seems to be widespread confusion as to what the referendum is actually asking the electorate. For some, it is simply a vote about whether abortion should be available in the country or not. It is not that simple  as abortion is already available here under limited circumstances – many of which circumstances have had to be established through Supreme Court challenges due to it being enshrined in the Constitution. The actual question is whether the subject of abortion is something which can be properly and appropriately dealt with in our Constitution or whether it would be better to have it dealt with by legislation and the legislature; i.e. the functions of government. Meanwhile, much of the debate is focused at an emotional level rather than carefully considering the moral and ethical principals involved. Nevertheless, we will be asked to exercise our democratic privilege on Friday 25th May and I would encourage everyone to examine their conscience and to cast their votes accordingly.

With every blessing,


Rev. John Tanner, Tel: 01- 289 3154 / 086 302 1376