The Co-Chairs of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting have payed tribute to Archbishop Richard Clarke to mark his retirement as Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh. Dr Clarke has been a representative of the Church of Ireland on the Irish Inter-Church Committee and made a significant contribution to the work of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting.

Established in 1973, the Irish Inter-Church Meeting is the formal structure for dialogue between the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Irish Council of Churches. Its membership reflects the major Christian traditions on the island of Ireland — Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and independent.

The current Co-Chairs of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting are Bishop Brendan Leahy, Catholic Bishop of Limerick, and Rev Brian Anderson, President of the Irish Council of Churches.

Wishing Archbishop Clarke every blessing for his retirement, Bishop Brendan Leahy and Rev Brian Anderson said, “Archbishop Richard brought heart-felt commitment to the work of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting. His leadership in the work of deepening relationships between the Christian churches on the island of Ireland began long before his appointment as Archbishop of Armagh, and draws on his significant international experience in ecumenical dialogue.

The Co-Chairs continued, “His insightful contributions have helped shape the evolution of the national inter-church structures, emphasising the value of friendship and good personal relations at the heart of our shared Christian witness to a society in need of hope-filled pastoral support. As President of the Irish Council of Churches and Co-Chair of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting (2010-2012), Archbishop Richard gave generously of his time in support of staff.

In conclusion, Bishop Leahy and Rev Anderson said, “As a facilitator of dialogue between member churches, and a representative of the inter-church structures in the public square, he set a tone for reasoned debate and honest engagement that reflected the Christian call to be good neighbours. We wish him every blessing in his well-earned retirement.”

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