Derry’s Church of Ireland Bishop has spoken of the challenging times currently being faced by the church and by its parishioners.
Speaking in his Presidential address at last week’s Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Synod, The Right Rev Ken Good said for many “the way forward is uncertain and where solutions are unclear.”
The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe said many were experiencing considerable stress and anxiety due to ongoing economic worries.
“Many families and individuals, including senior citizens, are facing real hardship as they are forced to make tough choices between heating their home or buying sufficient food to eat.
“What is vital in cases of serious hardship is an approach by the banks and other lending institutions which is as flexible and compassionate as possible.”
Bishop Good also urged those who “for whom these times are not so difficult financially” to grasp the “opportunity for a more generous and compassionate sharing of resources.”
The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe also said a major conference planned for next year is the best way for the Church of Ireland to debate the issue of same sex relationships.
He said the conference - planned for the Spring of 2012 - will allow for “a more measured and considered debate” on the issue that has caused tensions within the Church over recent months.
“I commend to the Synod the proposed conference in Spring 2012,” Bishop Good said.
“This approach allows a more measured and considered debate, providing some weeks of reflection after the conference until we then come to General Synod in May, to vote on a well prepared motion, or motions, if that is what the General Synod should decide to do,” he said.
Bishop Good told the Derry and Raphoe Synod it is important that “we are very clear about the church’s universal and long-standing interpretation of scripture.”
“The biblical and theological status quo still is what it has been and is not altered by changes in cultural norms or by the actions or opinions of individuals,” he said.
The Church’s stance on same sex civil partnerships has come under the spotlight since it was revealed the Very Reverend Tom Gordon, the Dean of Leighlin Cathedral, had entered into a civil partnership with his partner of 20 years.