Irish Inter-Church Meeting opens in Swords

10 Nov 2006


10 NOVEMBER 2006



The Irish Inter-Church Meeting (IICM) opened today in the Emmaus Centre,
Swords, County Dublin.  Co-chairs Archbishop Sean Brady, Catholic Primate
of All Ireland, and Mrs Gillian Kingston, President of the Irish Inter-Church
Meeting, welcomed over 80 delegates to this two-day meeting on the theme
‘Light of Christ shines on all’ (John 8.12).
Archbishop Brady said: “In St John’s Gospel, Jesus describes himself as
the light of the world.  It happened during the feast of the Tabernacles.  
So, as we have come here on pilgrimage, let’s shed the sentiments of the
disciples on the road to Emmaus and take on something of the spirit of
joy which permeated that Feast of Tabernacles.  It was joyful because it
celebrated the harvest of grapes, olives and autumnal fruits.  I am sure
that many of you have been organising Thanksgiving Services in recent
“Jesus proclaimed himself ‘The Light of the World’.  He had promised that
those who followed him would never walk in darkness but would always have
the light of life.  Yes, of course, the theme of light implies its opposite,
darkness.  But, as we come together we draw hope – hope from the statement
of Christ: that the light is not to be hidden under the bushel but is to
shine for all to see.”
Archbishop Brady continued: “We all believe that Jesus, the true light, has
come into the world.  He declared himself the ‘light of the world’, the
treasury.  The great candles which have lit here today remind us of the four
huge candelabras which were lit every evening at nightfall to light up the
courtyard of Jerusalem during the Festival of Tabernacles.  They were there
to celebrate the light of the presence of God as the pillar of fire.  Lit
for the people during the wandering in the desert.
“Our shared ecumenical journey takes us from Cork in May 2005, to the Emmaus
Centre today.  We are also preparing for the Third Ecumenical Assembly, as
you all know will be held in Sibiu, next September.  At Basil in 1989 and
in Graz in 1997, the Christian Churches of Europe resolved to develop the
fellowship that exists amongst us.  It was agreed that we cannot be content
with the present situation if we want to be faithful to the prayer and desire
of Christ.
“Things are changing fast in Europe.  Last month, for the first time ever,
the President’s of Europe’s 34 Catholic Bishops’ Conferences met in Russia
in St Petersburg.  It was something unthinkable a few years ago.  Its guests
included representatives of the Moscow Patriarch, Lutheran bishops and
representatives of the civic authorities in the City of St Petersburg”.
Also addressing the delegates, Mrs Gillian Kingston, President of the Irish
Inter-Church Meeting, said: “We welcome you all to this conference where
there are familiar faces and some not yet familiar faces – but a stranger
is a friend that we have not yet met.  As Christians, we need to make common
cause – in the face of the rising tide of secularism – in our encounter with
persons of other faiths.  
Notes for Editors:

*The Irish Inter-Church Meeting represents a partnership between the Catholic
Church and the Irish Council of Churches.  It serves as a forum for ecumenical
debate and action by churches in Ireland. The first Irish Inter-Church Meeting
was held in the Ballymascanlon Hotel, Co Louth in 1973.  
*The Irish Council of Churches serves the following 15 members: the Antiochian
Orthodox Church in Ireland; the Church of Ireland; Coptic Orthodox in Ireland;
Greek Orthodox Church in Britain & Ireland; Lifelink Network of Churches;
Lutheran Church in Ireland; Methodist Church in Ireland; Moravian Church Irish
District; Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church in Ireland; Presbyterian Church
in Ireland; Religious Society of Friends; Rock of Ages Cherubim & Seraphim in
Ireland; Romanian Orthodox Church in Ireland; Russian Orthodox Church in Ireland;
Salvation Army (Ireland Division).

Further information:

Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)