The leaders of Ireland’s four main Christian denominations and the president of the Irish Council of Churches have issued a joint New Year Message on the theme: “Hope in Christ in uncertain times”.
You can read
their message below:
As with all people, none of us are immune from standing at the gate
of the New Year and reflecting on what the last twelve months have
brought – and wondering what 2017 might bring.
The world is an uncertain place. As we enter this New Year we are
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.
As we pray for these situations, we also remember and lift in prayer
those in our own communities who are affected by homelessness and those
struggling to make ends meet. As the Psalmist reminds us, “God is our
refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will
not fear …” (Psalm 46:1). 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.
As Church leaders, last year we remembered together the events of 1916,
events that shaped relationships and the future of these islands. A
century on, new events of a different kind have the potential to alter
political and economic relationships here, as the UK prepares to leave
the European Union. It is our united prayer that our political leaders
in Belfast, Dublin and London will have wisdom, grace and patience
during this process that will have implications for the whole of
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).
Let us commit to living out His words in these uncertain days as we also
remember that our eternal hope is in Christ, at this time and always,
we fix our eyes upon Him.
Archbishop Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh
Rt Rev John McDowell, President, Irish Council of Churches
Rev Bill Mullally, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland
Rt Rev Dr Frank Sellar, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland