Dublin City Interfaith Forum

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Tuesday 8th December 2015

Christian, Pluralism

Church of Ireland Chaplain Commissioned for Dublin City University

Church of Ireland News

07 December 2015

Church of Ireland Chaplain Commissioned for Dublin City University: Philip McKinley was commissioned Chaplain of Dublin City University in the Church of Ireland tradition by Archbishop Michael Jackson. The service took place in the university’s unique Inter Faith Centre in the presence of Philip’s family and friends, the President of DCU Professor Brian MacCraith, clergy and fellow chaplains from other third level institutions. Music was provided by Discovery Gospel Choir, of which Philip is a member.
As a member of the Student Services team, Philip will be primarily based in the University’s Inter Faith Centre in Glasnevin. The appointment comes against the backdrop of a major incorporation of St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Mater Dei Institute of Education and the Church of Ireland College of Education into DCU.
Preaching during the service, Archbishop Jackson noted that DCU established itself as the university that engaged with the secular from the start but it also respected the Faith component. This was shown through its Inter Faith Centre which is located in the heart of the campus, he said, and is the only one of its kind in the country.
He said that he was not starry–eyed about the witness of faith in a secular world, explaining that it was a hard thing to do and required a combination of innocence and courage. The context for witness, he suggested, was against a backdrop of indifference or even aggression, but with the hope that religion would still be there when something terrible happened.
He suggested that in a world of religious standoff and distortion there was an urgent need to embrace chaplaincy with a confident openness in an Inter Faith space. “This space is the only one of its kind. DCU remains poised, as indeed it does in other things and in other ways academically and intellectually, it remains poised spiritually to lead the way in the Ireland of today in the proclamation of respect for difference and openness to enquiry and in the interplay of respect and openness to the love of God in the discernment of a wisdom that is humble enough to do two things: Follow me and Come&C. We in our own time and place can do both,” Archbishop Jackson said.
Describing Philip the Archbishop said: “His human instinct overlaps with his theological instinct and he is ready at all times to engage, to learn, to share and to teach. His capacity to communicate in a wide range of media interacts with his innate grasp of something I describe as caritative altruism.”
After the service, Professor MacCraith said it was a pleasure to formally welcome Philip to DCU. He noted that 35 years ago, DCU welcomed its first 200 students. Today there are 13,500 students of many different nationalities and with a rich cultural ethnicity. It is not only a fast growing university but is also ranged in the top 50 young universities, he added. There will be further growth next year with the incorporation of St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Mater Dei Institute of Education and the Church of Ireland College of Education.
The university president said that they no longer described DCU as a secular institution but as a progressive pluralist one. “Our approach is to provide institutional diversity and Faith can flourish in such circumstances,” he stated. He said that chaplains had a significant role in the university. The role was both spiritual and pastoral, he said and suggested that Philip’s expertise and skills would enrich DCU.
Head of Student Services, Claire Bohan, said that Philip was a member of a team of fifty people who take care of all the students. There were also messages of support from some members of the student body.