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Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’

New Year Reading 

As the New Year beckons with its promise of a new beginning, perhaps a good resolution would be to read more. And, from a Church of Ireland perspective her is much that is recent and readily available.

For those approaching the Church of Ireland for the first time and indeed for those who need to be refreshed a good starting point is Kenenth Milne’s A Short History of the Chrich of Ireland (Messenger Publications).  Now in its fifth edition, and at under 100 pages, the Church of Ireland Historiographer briskly guides the reader through the Church ‘s past from the early days of the Church up to the 20th century.

Since 1996 the Publications Sub–Committee of the Association for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge has been producing leaflets about aspects of the Church of Ireland – history, administration, belief, worship. For example there are leaflets on the Eucharist, the Virgin Mary, baptism, confirmation and marriage. They are available, free of charge, from the Dublin & Glendalough Office in Church of Ireland House, Rathmines, and can be downloaded from the APCK section on the Church of Ireland website.

On a larger scale, but more focused, is Michael O’Neill’s An Architectural History of the Church of Ireland (Church of Ireland Publishing). Based on the remarkable collection of architectural drawings in the RCB Library and generously illustrated, often with the author’s own photographs, this is a splendid survey of cathedrals, parish churches and glebe houses throughout the country, delightfully designed by Wendy Dunbar.

In 2013 Church of Ireland Publishing began to publish the Braemor Studies series of booklets. This was an initiative of the General Synod’s Literature Committee to encourage theological publishing among younger clergy. It was agreed with the Church of Ireland Theological Institute that the best final year student dissertation would be published. Each year a booklet has appeared, written from the perspective of applied theology. And so there have been titles on the sacraments, pastoralia, ethics and multi–faith engagement among others.  These booklets are available from the Church of Ireland Theological Institute and from the on–line store on the Church of Ireland website.

The publication of books of sermons was once a staple of Anglican publishing. This is less the  case today and so when such a volume appears it is especially welcome. Preaching the Passion: Interpreting the Evangelists (Sacristy Press) is a series of sermons preached in St Matthew’s church on Belfast’s Woodvale Road by the then rector, Gregory Dunstan, who subsequently was appointed as Dean of Armagh.

More topical are Journeying into Light: Daily Readings through Advent and Christmas (Messenger Publications) by the former Dean of Belfast, John Mann, and Called to be One, Canon Ian Ellis’s account of the Irish Council of Churches, while Second Sight: Rugby and Redemption (Reach Sport) by Ian McKinley, is an inspirational story, by a son of the rectory, of fighting back from a serious sporting injury.

Margarita Cappocke has edited and contributed to Sarah Cecelia Harrison: Artist, Social Campaigner and City Councillor (Dublin City Council).  Although best known for her activism in Dublin she was born into a Church of Ireland family in Holywood, Co  Down. There are also Church of Ireland connections in David Caron’s Michael Healy, 1873–1911. An Túr Gloinne’s Stained Glass Pioneer (Four Courts Press), Among Healy’s works ae windows in Belfast’s St Mark’s Dundela, Castlerock in the Diocese of Derry, St Mary’s, Castlecomer, and in Dublin, Holy Trinity, Rathmines.

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