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 are commemorating the 150th anniversary through a number of initiatives 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. The official launch of the National Programme was at the opening commemorative National Service in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, on 23rd November 2019 with the Archbishop of Canterbury as preacher. A service was planned in autumn 2020 in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, to close the programme, but plans are currently on hold due to the Covid–19 pandemic.
Other events have included 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 a symposium at the Royal Irish Academy on 27th February 2020. There has also been 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 projected that a cultural exchange would take place in 2020 between the Church of Ireland and the Church of Wales which commemorated the centenary of its 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. 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 and otherwise participate 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.
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