Bishop Pat Storey highlighted discipleship as being at the core of diocesan life. She made her remarks during her Presidential address at the Meath and Kildare (Church of Ireland) diocesan synod. This met on Saturday 1 October in the new parish centre in Dunboyne.
The dioceses of Meath and Kildare has set itself three priorities in the coming years. Bishop Pat spoke of the three priorities during her address. These included:
- Encouraging personal discipleship.
- Developing and encouraging ministry
- Taking initiatives to meet practical need, to serve others
These priorities aim to bring the diocesan vision statement into reality – ‘Together in God’s love transforming lives’.
She talked of the importance of action when we set goals and priorities. She encouraged synod members by highlighting the various actions that are already being taken across the dioceses to see the goals become reality. These include plans for the use of the ‘Pilgrim’ course in every across the dioceses in 2017. This is an Anglican course already used to great effect across these islands.
During the afternoon session Rev Adrian McCartney facilitated an imaginative session for synod members to reflect on what discipleship can mean in everyday life. Rev McCartney leads a church planting initiative in east Belfast (Down & Dromore dioceses).
Members were also encouraged to hear of various important initiatives to support our Good for the Sole project. Last year parishes and schools across the dioceses raised over €41,000, exceeding its target of €25,000. This partnership project is between the dioceses, Leprosy Mission Ireland and the Bishop’s Appeal. In the coming year the dioceses aims to raise funds to support foot surgeries for leprosy patients. €50 will buy a life-changing surgery, including aftercare. There will shortly be an announcement of a very imaginative fundraising initiative.
Members were encouraged to hear of work amongst young people during reports from the Diocesan Board of Education as well as from our Diocesan Youth and Children’s Officer, Emma Rothwell. Emma highlighted the interest that young people still have in faith. She also talked of a planned diocesan visit to India in 2017. Those taking part will see, at first hand, work to combat leprosy and alleviate the suffering it causes. This is part of our Good for the Sole project and the partnership with The Leprosy Mission Ireland.
Receiving reports about different parts of diocesan life was very encouraging. It was also an important reminder of the goodwill, volunteer hours and expertise that is offered throughout the year. Bishop Storey and a range of other speakers expressed gratitude to all the work of diocesan members as well as the commitment of clergy.
The presence of various organisations who exhibit their work was also a reminder of important work that goes on beyond the confines of the dioceses.
Meeting for coffee before the synod business began, as well as having an excellent lunch, provided a great opportunity for synod representatives to meet informally and renew friendships.