The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has delivered his Presidential Address to the Church of Ireland’s General Synod in Derry/Londonderry.
He said it was a great pleasure to be in the City of Derry but acknowledged the challenges and sadness that recent events in the city have brought to its people.
He said: “Our prayer is that, as this city has in so many ways demonstrated to us over the past years that there is a wholesome way forward following decades of division and violence, so the people of Derry/Londonderry will be enabled to show us again what can be done for the good of all the people of the city, and hence for the whole country.”
It is one hundred and fifty years since the Church of Ireland was disestablished by act of the Westminster parliament and the Archbishop looked ahead to the events and publications that will mark this milestone.
On the theme of history, he warned that populism was “imperilling the very roots of democracy” and referred to the 1930s when “self–appointed messiahs sprang up … but at the price of being given absolute and unaccountable power over the lives of their people.”
The Archbishop also considered the ongoing fourth industrial revolution and the questions it raises around the value of human beings as more automation takes place in society and the economy. He affirmed: “God does not evaluate us in terms of our usefulness. Through grace, we each have an infinite and unique value in the eyes of God, and the call of God in Christ to us is to convey that truth to those who do not see this, or who have never had the opportunity to see it.”