General Synod opens in Limerick


The General Synod of the Church of Ireland opened in Limerick today with the Presidential address by The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland who focused this year on the theme of identity.

Archbishop Richard Clarke

He stated: 'Many of the extraordinary changes on the world scene over the past year might reasonably be seen as revolving ultimately around a single conception, that of identity.

'Massive difficulties arise when there is a serious clash between differing perceptions of fundamental identity, when each side in the discussion seeks to demean, threaten or even destroy the other, and we have indeed seen many examples of this over recent months, and in many places, near and far.

'As Christian disciples, we recognise that we do indeed have a basic identity that we must share with all others, that of being made by God in His image and likeness. This means that others - all others - must be treated with a complete dignity and with an utter respect.

'There are of course other identities of which we must be aware but these cannot be allowed to deface our essential fundamental identity of being loved equally by God.'

Archbishop Clarke also spoke about the refugee crisis, xenophobia and the terrifying incidence of domestic abuse and violence across the island of Ireland.

He said domestic abuse and violence was in every community and often under their noses.

'People who suffer in this way must be encouraged to seek help. When people cannot come to terms with themselves and their real identity, or cannot be at ease with what they are, then the most terrible things can happen.'

For the full Presidential Address see