Chairing an ordinary session of the Diocesan Synod of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory for the first time, Bishop Wilkinson began with words of thanks to all those who has made him and his wife Jacqui welcome since their arrival nearly a year ago. He then gave a brief overview of developments in the diocese over the past year, commenting in particular on new administrative arrangements and personnel in the Diocesan Office, as well as the valuable link between the bishop as patron and the primary schools throughout the Diocese.
Bishop Wilkinson went on to highlight the presence of the Revd Rob Jones, the national director of Pioneer Ministry in the Church of Ireland, as a speaker at the Synod. Highlighting the potential of Pioneer Ministry in the Diocese the Bishop said that ‘while some initiatives may be completely new, others can happen within established structures given imagination, determination, and courage.’
Commenting on the fact that the Synod was meeting on St Luke’s Day, Bishop Wilkinson said it was ‘a day when we traditionally focus on the healing profession and are often concerned with the healing of individuals. But healing should take place at a much broader level too. We pray for the healing of fractured communities and supremely healing among the nations where there is conflict. The horrific war in Ukraine and the tragedy unfolding before our very eyes in Israel, Gaza and the tensions more broadly in the Middle East is at the forefront of our concern and prayers. The bombing of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital yesterday was truly shocking. It is run with support from the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem which in turn has close links with the Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. This morning I was in contact with Archbishop Jackson. He asks that we pray for all the people of Gaza and Israel and for peace that the human dignity and life of every single person in the Land of the Holy One be respected. I echo that call.’
Concluding his first Synod address, the Bishop said, ‘I leave you with a final thought. One of the metaphors used to describe the church is the image of the boat. Let us not be so focused on the process of building the boat that we forget the joy of sailing. Yes, we need to construct the vessel and make sure that it is seaworthy and that is a lot of what today is about. But we also need to look up and out to the sea and the far horizon. We need to remember the thrill and adventure of sailing the high seas to journey beyond the horizon and perhaps to experiences and encounters we cannot yet imagine. Under God let us go home this evening encouraged by all that has been done and have vision and enthusiasm for what potentially lies ahead.’
Full report of Diocesan Synod will follow in the coming days.