New Braemor Study on the Church of Ireland and black theology launched

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A book with “potential for real and lasting change” in the Church of Ireland is how the fifteenth volume in the Braemor Series was described at its launch in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute last Monday evening (April 8).  The Revd Philip McKinley’s From George Berkeley, to George Floyd, to George Nkencho – The Church of Ireland and Black Theology suggests a need for a fresh paradigm to help the Church to fulfil its commitment to racial justice and seeks to explore the extent to which black theology can inform and assist in this.

The book was launched by the Revd Eileen Cremin, formerly Rector of Fermoy in the Diocese of Cloyne, who said that the book was not just an academic exercise but “an instrument for change”.  Ms Cremin observed that in the last 25 years, Ireland had witnessed the arrival of increasing numbers of people of colour from many countries and Irish people had had the opportunity to encounter these people first-hand.  She acknowledged the establishment of the Primate’s Ethnic Diversity Working Group, and also the Hard Gospel scoping study, produced in 2003, which “in my humble opinion … was an amazing piece of work and pretty ground-breaking for the Church of Ireland at the time.”

A lot of the focus since has been on the Hard Gospel project’s work on sectarianism but its remit was to focus on difference, and she suggested that the Church missed an opportunity to do further work on dealing with difference.  Encouraging people to read the book, she said it was challenging and moving and hoped that it can be a catalyst.  “It has certainly made me more curious,” she added, “and I hope and pray that Philip’s vision towards a black theology for Ireland can become a reality in helping the Church of Ireland to become a church where all are welcome, all can participate, and we can learn from our history.”

Referring to the Church of England’s report From Lament to Action, Mr McKinley said that an element of lament needed to take place. “We need to move from lament to action and from formation to reform and renewal. I hope this book may sow the seeds of action,” he remarked.  Mr McKinley is a curate in Dunboyne and Rathmoylon in the Diocese of Meath and curate in Kildare and Newbridge in the Diocese of Kildare; he grew up in Whitechurch parish in Dublin.

The book is available online from the Church of Ireland bookstore – https://store.ireland.anglican.org – and the Hard Gospel scoping study is available to download and read from the Church’s online document library:www.ireland.anglican.org/resources 

  1. The Revd Eileen Cremin, the Revd Philip McKinley, and Canon Dr Maurice Elliott.
  2. The Revd Eileen Cremin launches the book.
  3. The Revd Philip McKinley, author, speaks at the launch at CITI.