NEW Church of Ireland primate the Rev Dr Richard Clarke (pictured) says the church is called to be “magnetic” in calling people to the Christian faith.
Dr Clarke, speaking ahead of his enthronement as primate in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh this afternoon, said this approach came in different ways, but he highlighted the quality of the church’s worship, the kind of communities the church represented, and action in the world, especially at local level, while also acknowledging the role of the church centrally and at diocesan level.
Dr Clarke, in an interview with the Church of Ireland Gazette, spoke of his own faith, of his upbringing in an Anglican rectory, of his feeling that “Christ is there”, of his personal recognition that Christianity made sense to him and of how, despite questions, “this is the way I run my life and I’m not going to run it any other way”.
Dr Clarke, the former bishop of Meath and Kildare and a widower, encouraged all Christian disciples to be a “frontline evangelist”, articulating their faith in their own contexts.
The new primate, who also becomes archbishop of Armagh, said his primary commitment as primate will be to get to know his new diocese, and with life in Northern Ireland, not just at a church level.
He favours the ordination of women bishops, but is opposed to same-sex marriage within his church.
Dr Clarke, 63, a leading theologian and academic in the Church of Ireland, succeeds the Rev Alan Harper as primate.