Disestablishment has seen a renewed focus on ourselves as a developing and evolving spiritual community. It has enabled the Church to find afresh its independence and mission. It has conferred freedom for laity and clergy to develop a synodical way of life and understanding and to engage with confidence with those of other traditions.
Recognising these positives, we plan to commemorate the 150th anniversary through a number of initiatives in 2019 and 2020 at national level entitled ‘Free to shape our future’.
The Church of Ireland Youth Forum was the first event of the 2019 commemorations marking the 150th anniversary of Disestablishment with the theme of the forum being ‘Free to shape our future‘.
The official launch of the National Programme will begin at the opening commemorative National Service in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral which will take place on the 23rd November 2019 with the Archbishop of Canterbury as preacher. We hope to also have a service in autumn 2020 in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, to close the programme.
Other projected events include a colloquium in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute on 30th November 2019, architectural walking tours incorporating the key sites in Dublin during Heritage Week 2019 and 2020 and a symposium at the Royal Irish Academy on Thursday 27th February 2020. There will also be a small exhibition within the Representative Church Body Library and a small exhibition that will travel to the Cathedrals across the Church of Ireland. It is also projected that a cultural exchange take place in 2020 between the Church of Ireland and the Church of Wales who will be commemorating the centenary of their own Disestablishment from the Church of England in 2020.
Information on the programme’s events and news will be shared on this webpage as they arise throughout 2019 and 2020. There are also liturgical resources available to the Church including a Disestablishment Prayer, Disestablishment Service of the Word and Disestablishment Service of Holy Communion for use in dioceses with episcopal permission as appropriate.
We seek to build up a country–wide programme. To this end we encourage individual dioceses to contribute initiatives to the National Programme by sending their initiatives for advertisement on the National Programme events page to Disestablishment Coordinator, Caoimhe Leppard (firstname.lastname@example.org). This will enable everyone to see what is happening and to attend as much as they possibly can.
While these initiatives are being organised to commemorate Disestablishment as a national programme, each diocese is encouraged, should its Bishop wish it to do so, to organise events locally whether in a diocesan cathedral or elsewhere.
I very much hope that you and members of your diocese will enjoy the year ahead and also feel free to build the total programme with us as we journey together through this time of exciting possibilities.
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