Photo: Lord Mayor of Armagh, Northern Ireland, Sharon Haughey (center); Rev. Grace Clunie, of the Center for Celtic Spirituality (first row, blue scarf); present John Hunt and students with a plaque. Kelly Pigott (first row, left)
A group of Hardin-Simmons University Baptist Student Ministry students came back with a memento from their spring break trip: a plaque and a group photo of them posing with the Lord Mayor of Armagh, Northern Ireland, where the students worked through the Celtic Centre for Spirituality.
Armagh, is an ancient place known as the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland, where both the Roman Catholic and Anglican Archbishops reside.
The Centre for Celtic Spirituality is a shared charitable project with members from the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, and the Quakers, all sharing management of the center.
John Hunt, director of HSU’s Baptist Student Ministries, says the 20 BSM students did traditional missions work, but 13 were also enrolled in Ancient Spiritual Practices, a course taught by associate professor of church history, Dr. Kelly Pigott. Throughout the spring semester, HSU students have learned about the Celtic traditions and its approach to prayer and worship.
“The Celtic Church is one of the most ancient in Christendom, tracing back to the second century,” says Pigott. “Its roots are in the Greek-speaking Eastern Church instead of the Latin Church, giving it a unique character. For example, Celtic Christians developed a deep appreciation for God as Creator. And their approach to theology incorporated both wisdom and beauty, perhaps best exemplified in the Book of Kells,” says Pigott.
“Students on the BSM trip also served in traditional missions capacities as they helped Habitat for Humanity of Northern Ireland, visiting a youth outreach organization as well as helping in a couple of peace and reconciliation centers,” says Hunt.