Page 4 - Moravian Messenger April 2021
P. 4

Report from the Irish District Conference Spring 2021
As usual at the end of the Autumn conference of the Irish District a date was set for the Spring meeting. Given that we were in lockdown at that time this had been a Zoom meeting but everyone hoped and anticipated that the Spring meeting would be 'in person'. The morning of Saturday 27th February 2021 duly arrived and sadly as we were once again in lockdown this too was a Zoom meeting. However, there were some benefits, one of which was that by the magic of Zoom Br David Howarth was able to join us from Yorkshire to both represent and give a report on the work of PEC.
It was a great pleasure to welcome Br David to his first Irish District conference and as he said he did not even have to get up any earlier than usual. Our district treasurer, Br John Cooper, confirmed our accounts to be in good standing and highlighted the generosity of all those who gave both financially and in kind to ensure our District 'drive-in' Christingle service was such a success.
Br Howarth then spoke about the Provincial Board report, a very detailed paper having already been circulated. Conference particularly asked Br Howarth to convey his sincere thanks to everyone involved in the Provincial services which, it was agreed had been a great success story that had been appreciated by everyone. In addition, it was also highlighted that the services were a real opportunity to see what was going on in other congregations and to develop a sense of the wider fellowship of the Church in the Province.
Arrangements for 'Synod by Zoom' which is planned for June were discussed and it was agreed that there would be a District pre-Synod meeting once the papers had been issued. Conference regretted that much of the opportunities for the fellowship that take place on the side-lines of Synod would not be possible this year and concerns were expressed about Zoom fatigue, accepting that in the circumstance the business of the Church had to go on and there was little alternative.
Congregational reps and ministers reported back on how they were each managing the current pandemic situation in their
locality including a focus on youth activities. It was particularly noted that some people find the online services really helpful and it was agreed that consideration of maintaining these in some form even after the pandemic would be necessary.
Sr Sarah Groves brought an update from the Irish Council of Churches. In addition to highlighting discussions around the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit on the faith community across the island she also reported on the work of the Legacy Issues Working Party including a meeting to discuss a paper entitled 'The Unfinished Business of Peace'. This document was to introduce the Legacy Working Groups approach to 1) support for victims and advocacy 2) Collective commemorations and memorialisation 3) formal Legacy processes and structures 4) tackling paramilitarism. The aim is to shape a new vision for a shared future and to make the Church voice more visible to others. All of which is very relevant at this time as the centenary of the establishment of Northern Ireland/partition approaches.
Br Jared Stephens reported on another very timely and relevant meeting with Christian Aid to look at the pressing issues of Climate Justice.
Given the current pandemic circumstances Sr Sarah Groves proposed that everyone who was currently in office should remain so for a further year given the difficulties of organising an election, let alone a secret ballot by Zoom. Conference was happy to accept this suggestion.
Whilst it was unclear what activities might take place at Easter it was agreed that a District Prayer walk would be organised around the new Bishop's Walk in Gracehill. This would be available for people to do in their own time in the days leading up to Easter. Similarly, a children's trail would be organised within Gracehill Square.
Before the meeting was closed with prayer it was agreed that our Autumn meeting would take place in Kilwarlin which, we all very much hope will be without the need of Zoom.
Br David Johnston

   2   3   4   5   6