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Irish Times Notes

Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’

Parish Record Guidelines

The care and custody of parish records is an important responsibility of the Church of Ireland for these are not only the records of a religious denomination but, in part, are also records of the state. Following disestablishment the older registers of baptisms, marriages and burials were, by act of parliament, designated as public records. This status still applies in both jurisdictions and so these registers, and their copyright, are, irrespective of their place of custody, the property of the state, and the Church of Ireland is responsible to the National Archives in Dublin and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast for their safe keeping.

Many of these records have been transferred to the Representative Church Body Library where they are readily available for consultation. However, a significant number remain in the custody of local clergy, where from time to time there have been concerns about access to them. Both the civil law and the Constitution of the Church of Ireland require that access be given to enquirers but, on occasions this has been denied because of concerns about confidentially. However, these concerns are misplaced for there is no confidentiality in older parish registers.

More recently there has been concern also about the keeping of confirmation registers by parishes and this has been made a constitutional requirement by the General Synod. Similarly, with the growing popularity of electronic record keeping, concern was expressed that hard copies of signed vestry minutes were no longer being kept. This, too, is now required as uncertainties remain about the status in law of computer generated records.

To emphasise these concerns and to advise more generally about the care of all parish records, new guidelines have been issued by the RCB’s Library & Archives Committee. These may be found at www.ireland.anglican.org/selectvestry/guidelines

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new regulation which aims to harmonise data privacy and protection laws across Europe. It will come into effect on 25 May and will also continue to apply in both jurisdictions following Brexit. The Representative Church Body will hold a number of seminars on GDPR and parish accounts. Next week they will be in Derry on Monday, Belfast on Tuesday and Armagh on Thursday.

Tomorrow (Sunday) BBC Radio Ulster’s Morning Service on the Second Sunday of Easter will come from St Columbanus’ church, Ballyholme, and will be conducted by the rector, Canon Simon Doogan. The programme will start at 10.15am.

On Monday evening there will be a Celebration of the Life of St Tighernach with a community event in St Tighernach’s church, Clones, at 7pm to remember St Tighernach, his ministry and his significance to the cross–border parish and to the Diocese of Clogher and Clones. Both Bishops of Clogher, the Right Revd John McDowell and the Most Revd Joseph Duffy, will attend and there will be music by Ballyreagh Silver Band, Lynda Lindsay and Ballybay Country Gospel Group.

The lunchtime recital in St Mary’s cathedral, Limerick, on Wednesday will be given by pianist, Malcolm Green, who will play works by Haydn, Sibelius, Debussy and Chopin.

On Thursday at the Radison Blu Hotel, Little Island, Cork, the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross, Dr Paul Colton, will deliver the opening address at the Annual Conference of Saint Luke’s Charity, Cork. He will speak on ‘Innovations in Dementia Care’.

The Annual General Meeting of the Church Education Society will be held on Wednesday, 18 April 2018, at 4.15pm, in Church of Ireland House, Rathmines, Dublin.


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