The Co-Chairs of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting (IICM) have released the following statement on the death of Bishop Gerard Clifford RIP, who was a long-term member of the IICM and its associated committees:
“With great sadness we offer our condolences to the family and friends of Bishop Gerard Clifford, and to Archbishop Eamon Martin and the Archdiocese of Armagh. As Co-Chairs of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting, we give thanks for the legacy of Bishop Gerry’s faithful witness to Christian unity. As a priest, and later as a bishop, he was at the heart of inter-church relations in Ireland from the early days when the first tentative steps in ecumenical relations were being taken against a backdrop of violence and fear. Over the years, his unwavering commitment to this work was a source of reassurance and encouragement for many. His gentle words of wisdom helped pave the way for deeper understanding, shaping the context in which change can happen. He valued dialogue, reflection and respectful listening, yet was always ready to push boundaries and try new initiatives.
“As a long-term member of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting, and its associated committees, Bishop Gerry worked tirelessly to ensure that dialogue was accompanied by practical action that visibly demonstrated the commitment of churches to working together on issues of shared concern. The support, encouragement and guidance he gave to staff as a member of the Joint Management Committee was always greatly appreciated.
“Significantly, one of his final contributions was as a member of the working group which shaped a new vision for the inter-church structures as ‘Churches in Ireland – Connecting in Christ’. His leadership has left a lasting impression on the landscape of Irish ecumenism. May the Lord console all those who mourn his passing and inspire those who will continue his work.”
Rt Rev John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher
Most Rev Brendan Leahy, Bishop of Limerick