Rector of Irvinestown and Castle Archdale, Co. Fermanagh, Canon Glenn West's new book, 'Connections - Celtic Spirituality' on the Shores of Lough Erne, was launched on Tuesday 30th April by the Rector of Newcastle, Co. Down and editor of The Church of Ireland Gazette, Canon Ian Ellis, at an event in Castle Archdale church, with the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John McDowell, presiding.
From left Rt Revd John McDowell Canon Glenn West Canon Ian Ellis
Introduction and Welcome - Canon West's comments
Welcoming parishioners, friends and guests to the launch, Canon West said: "Connections is an attempt to draw attention to a very special county and to highlight a shared heritage that so many do not recognize even on their own doorsteps. There is also here an invitation to look deeper beneath the surface and to embrace an abundant and enriching life which has a true instinct for the common good."
Launch - Canon Ellis's comments
Launching the book, Canon Ellis described it as a "beautifully produced and thoroughly researched" publication, and continued: "We are living at a time when more and more people are exploring the many dimensions of spirituality. There is a disillusionment with overly authoritarian, institutional religion but, certainly, still a great desire and longing for the things of the Spirit. In this context, Canon West's book is truly refreshing and will clearly have an immediate appeal."
Canon Ellis described the book as "striking" in the way in which it succeeded in being "both ancient and modern at the same time", adding: "Canon West has explored the theme of Celtic spirituality in a way that relates it to the here and now. He shows a real awareness of the diversity of faith in the modern world, and even tackles the subject of social networking and the Internet. The illustrations in Connections also blend the ancient and modern in a way that always makes me want to turn the page to find more glories, more gems."
Noting that Celtic spirituality had "very modern resonances in terms of working from prayer to faith", Canon Ellis said that reading Connections would not only bring readers in heart and mind to Co. Fermanagh with all the beauty of Lough Erne, but would also bring them closer to "the deepest things of the Spirit".
He said that Canon West had not only shown courage by going into print, but had also shown something of his own "spiritual vitality".
Event Conclusion - Bishop McDowell's comments
In concluding remarks at the launch ceremony, Bishop John McDowell commented that, in his book, Canon West had brought out with great clarity "the Celtic heritage of spirituality which is not far beneath the surface of so many places in Co. Fermanagh".
He said: "One of the more positive aspects of life in modern Ireland, North and South, is our greater awareness that we have a very rich and varied heritage to draw on, and we are all heirs to. Sometimes that heritage lies submerged for generations and it takes someone with curiosity and sensitivity to bring it into the foreground. Canon West has done just this."
The Bishop added: "We may live in very difference circumstances from the Celtic saints, but the beauty and depth of their insights into the holiness of the created world, and of our privileges and responsibilities in relation to it, speak directly to the human heart today."
Connections costs £8.00/€9.00 and is available in bookshops, including Enniskillen's Real Life Bookshop (Tel. 028-6632 2400) and St Michaels Bookshop (Tel. 028-6632 4771), and the Oasis Bookshop in Lisnaskea (Tel.028-6772 2677). P&P details are available from the bookshops.