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Institute hosts international consultation on diaconate
Added on Saturday 8th June 2013

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The Church of Ireland Theological Institute was the venue for the recent Porvoo Communion Consultation on the Diaconate.

Focusing on the theme Diaconal Ministry as a Proclamation of the Gospel, about 30 people representing different member churches of the Porvoo Communion took part in the consultation. The Director of the institution, the Revd Dr Maurice Elliott, welcomed the consultation members to CITI. This followed two earlier Porvoo consultations on the subject, in London in 2006 and in Oslo in 2009.

The Revd Canon Patrick Comerford, Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, was the conference chaplain, and was the member of a panel discussion involving ‘key listeners.’ The Bible studies were led by Dr Katie Heffelfinger, Lecturer in Biblical Studies and Hermeneutics, the Revd Dr Kieran O’Mahony, President both of the Irish Biblical Association and of the National Bible Society of Ireland, and the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Right Revd Dr John Armes.

The ‘Companion Papers’ for the Consultation included a paper by Canon Comerford, ‘Deacons, the Diaconate and Diakonia: The Church of Ireland experience.’

The consultation provided space for reflection on fresh opportunities to strengthen the ministry of deacons in today’s fast–changing European scene. It called on the Churches of the Porvoo Communion to co–operate in this endeavour and to add momentum to Christian witness to contemporary society.

The participants came from Churches in Denmark, England, Estonia,Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Sweden and Wales. The incoming President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Revd Dr Heather Morris, also attended.

The Consultation was co–chaired by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson and the Bishop of Uppsala, the Right Revd Ragnar Persenius.

Other participants from the Church of Ireland included the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, the Bishop of Clogher, the Right Revd John McDowell, the Bishop of Cashel an Ossory, the Right Revd Michael Burrows, the Bishop of Tuam, the Right Revd Patrick Rooke, and the Rector of Clones, Canon Helen Steed.

The consultation participants also visited Marsh’s Library and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and were guests of the Dean of Saint Patrick’s, the Very Revd Victor Stacey, at a reception in Saint Patrick’s Deanery.


The Provoo Consultation Co–Chairs, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson (left), and the Bishop of Uppsala, Sweden, Dr Ragnar Persenius, in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute