At the Morning Service in St Columb’s Cathedral on Sunday the ribbons from the Christmas Rotary Tree of Remembrance were dedicated by the Dean of Derry, Very Rev Dr William Morton.
Illustrating his dedication with observations from the famous song ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old oak Tree’, he said the Rotary yellow ribbons formed important, meaningful and tangible ways by which, through love and affection, loved ones were remembered. This year’s campaign raised £12,000 for local charities. The beneficiaries were Rotary Foyle Food Bank, Foyle Search & Rescue and Kinship Care NI.
Commending the Rotary Club, Dean Morton went on to appeal for people to be ever-mindful of others in need and said the First Sunday after the Epiphany, when Christ was Baptised, The Baptism of Our Lord, marks the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. So, it is a most suitable occasion for this dedication, as Rotary captures the essence of the spirit of service in the footsteps of the One who came to serve and not to be served. The Baptism of Jesus, in signifying the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, a ministry characterized by love, service, and identification with those in need.
“The actions of the Rotary Club provide the living out, the embodiment, of what, as Christians, we are called to do in the Name of the Lord. It is the duty of every single one of us, and it is the duty of society which would call itself Christian, to respond to the needs of those who are vulnerable and less fortunate.
“And, by this initiative, you have set us all an example, of just what can be achieved with planning, effort and a spirit of generosity. This is what the Lord requires of us.
“Throughout the pages of the Bible we are directed to respond to human need. We need to take every opportunity to challenge the values of our society. In both Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland, hospital staff are having to work under increasing pressure.
“The medical director of Altnagelvin Hospital was on the radio one morning this week saying that never before was the situation so acute, the pressure so intense for staff, and the shortage of money in the health service so impacting.”
He said the service was an occasion to affirm the tremendous work done day and night in hospitals by consultants, doctors and nurses, amid what he called the worst cutbacks imaginable.
“It is a credit to them. The Church should acknowledge that most strongly. And, in parallel, also to express the need to lobby public representatives to knock on all doors in the corridors of power to find, and release, resources to help health care professionals in their work and to lighten their load.
“Constant vigilance is necessary to ensure that society continues to care to the very best of its ability and by that I mean in all other of need, not only in hospitals.
“On this Sunday, when we acknowledge the tremendous work of Rotary, and the generosity of all who contributed to this worthy cause, we must all resolve to strive constantly for a society which makes caring for the vulnerable, the sick and the needy.”
, absolute priority,” he said.