Howth has a very proud tradition of ecumenicalism. At the very heart of this integrative approach to life is the notion of looking at commonalities that exist between our various communities as opposed to focussing on the differences. For many years members of various churches in the region of the peninsula worked together on social action projects and held joint faith initiatives that encouraged each other and enriched the community. The value of re-energising the focus of the community on this group was discussed by various church leaders and lay people and so it was agreed that an ecumenical project should be one of the main priorities for the area in 2017.
A series of planning meetings were held in early 2017 to discuss options for progressing with a joint initiative. Church leaders agreed to request the support and assistance of at least three parishioners from each church to join a new committee that would support involve itself in planning and prioritising the work of a new inter-church group for the areas of Howth, Baldoyle and Sutton. A focus group was established with representatives from St Peter and Paul’s Baldoyle, St. Fintan’s, the Church of the Assumption, St Mary’s and Sutton Methodist Church. The focus group worked together to discuss possible projects that could be undertaken together. The first goal was to produce a fitting logo that would reflect the new Howth Baldoyle Sutton Inter Church Group and would become recognisable for all of the various promotions that would happen in the region. The verse that reflected best the rationale for the group was chosen to be “we love, because he first loved us’.
The group completed a joint walk in October 2017 from various churches to St Mary’s in Howth to celebrate our Harvest of thanksgiving. This was a wonderful experience and many visitors who had never been in a church of Ireland setting came to share in our celebration. A joint Taize style service took place in the Church of the Assumption this month to show how effective silence can be in terms of connecting to God and rejecting the busy part of the season. In January there was a joint study led by Dr Kieran O’Mahony OSA for 5 weeks entitled ‘Come and See: exploring the Sunday Gospels’ in St. Peters and Pauls Church, Baldoyle on January 22, 29; February 5, 12 and 26 at 7:30.
The work of the Group is growing, and just as Jesus looked beyond labels and saw the human heart at the core, the inter-church group is also working together to look at ways to encourage harnessing the good that exists in the human spirit and attempting to re-energise the local church and community to look to Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith.