The Church of Ireland:
- is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion which has 70 million members in 164 countries.
- is an apostolic church, maintaining an unbroken link with the early apostles and drawing on the apostolic faith in its teaching and worship.
- is a Catholic and Reformed church.
- is able to trace its roots to the earliest days of Irish Christianity.
- is a church with three orders of sacred ministry – Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
- has services which follow an accepted liturgical form and structure.
- has one prayer book – The Book of Common Prayer (2004) – plus other services authorised for use by the General Synod.
- keeps a balance in doctrine and worship between Word and Sacrament.
- has the Holy Communion or the Eucharist as its central act of worship.
- is one church embracing Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
- has 390,000 members – 248,821 in Northern Ireland and 129,039 in the Republic of Ireland (Census 2011).
- has two provinces, Armagh and Dublin, each with an Archbishop.
- has 12 dioceses, over 450 parochial units and over 500 stipendiary clergy
- is a representative church, with each diocese electing those who will represent them at the General Synod, the ‘Parliament’ of the church.
- has in its General Synod a House of Bishops which has 12 members and a House of Representatives which has 216 clergy and 432 laity.
- also has Diocesan Synods where representatives of the parishes meet usually once a year.
- has a parochial system where decisions at local level are made by Select Vestries whose lay members are elected each Easter by the people of the parish.
Detailed information about the Church of Ireland is available from the APCK Study leaflets, which may be accessed by clicking here.