The leaders of Ireland’s main Christian denominations have joined in praying for a year in which people remember both God and neighbour.
In a joint New Year’s message, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, Rt Rev John McDowell, President of the Irish Council of Churches, Rev. Bill Mullally, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and Rt Rev. Dr Frank Sellar, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland call for “hope in Christ in uncertain times” among those struggling at home and abroad in 2017.
“Mindful of people who continue to suffer as a result of conflict, especially in the Middle East, and the humanitarian crisis that continues to unfold in Syria,” the leaders write, “we also remember and lift in prayer those in our own communities who are affected by homelessness and those struggling to make ends meet…It is our prayer that people will look to Him for that comfort and help and see Him move in those who offer much needed practical support.”
Mindful too, of political moves closer to home, with implications for all, the leaders write that “it is our united prayer that our political leaders in Belfast, Dublin and London will have wisdom, grace and patience during the [Brexit] process that will have implications for the whole of Ireland”.
The message concludes: “As we begin our journey through this coming year, we are reminded of the Greatest Commandment that our Lord Jesus Christ gave us: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength …’ He continued, by giving us a second, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mark 12:30-31).