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Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’


Since the Reformation one of the defining characteristics of the Church of Ireland has been the centrality of the Book of Common Prayer in worship but given the ebb and flow of religious sentiment its survival to the present day seems remarkable.

Originally compiled, largely by Thomas Cranmer, and printed in 1549, it was suppressed during the reign of Queen Mary, restored by Elisabeth I, proscribed during the Commonwealth but revived again at the Restoration. There followed a lengthy period of use during which numerous editions appeared, many of which are in the Watson Collection in the RCB Library, only for it to become an object of controversy again at disestablishment. Lengthy debates within the Church of Ireland produced a new edition in 1878 which was revised in 1926. In the second half of the 20th century the work of the Liturgical Advisory Committee produced a steady stream of new services which were gathered together in the Alternative Prayer Book 1984. As the title made clear this was an alternative but the marked emphasis on its use caused traditionalists to fear for the BCP. However the continued work of liturgical reform married the contemporary with the traditional in the Book of Common Prayer 2004, which has proved to be an astounding success.

Now there is a new edition of the BCP in a smart blue cover, containing the newly approved Order for Morning and Evening Prayer for Use on Sundays. The pew edition at £20/€22 (10% discount for orders of 10 or more) may be ordered through the Church of Ireland website.

Today (Saturday) Church Music Dublin will hold the first Living Worship session of 2019 in St Bartholomew’s church, Clyde Road, from 10am to 12.45pm. Tristan Russcher, Director of Music at St Bartholomew’s church, will lead a seminar on ‘Accessible Anthems for Holy Communion’. This will be a very practical session suitable for choir directors, singers and all interested parties. The cost will be €10, to include refreshments, and a friend we will admitted at no extra charge.

On Wednesday the Bishop of Cork will address the Cork Theology Forum on the subject of the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Centenaries Commemoration and Reconciliation Project.
The latest newsletter from Eco–Congregation Ireland highlights progress made by St Anne’s church, Shandon, towards becoming an Eco–Congregation parish and the ecological notes for January by the Revd Trevor Sargent, curate of Waterford, focusing on research into soil health. The Climate Justice Candle has also visited St Macartin’s cathedral, Enniskillen.

The Church of Ireland Commission on Ministry will host a Holy Week retreat on the theme of Judas Iscariot. Through addresses, daily worship, silence and contemplation, Bishop Michael Burrows will explore the mystery and problem of Judas. As the week continues, he will challenge participants to ask how meeting Judas in a new way may also be an encounter with some unfamiliar aspects of ourselves. This will be a residential retreat in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute beginning with lunch on the Monday of Holy Week and ending on the morning of Good Friday. Retreatants will have the option of attending the Good Friday liturgy at a local parish church, or at one of the cathedrals in Dublin. Some places will be available for non–resident participants who wish to join in the whole retreat programme. The cost of the retreat, including accommodation and all meals, will be €250 or €120 for non–residents.

For further information please contact Dr Bridget Nichols at bridgetnichols@theologicalinstitute.ie or at (00353) (1) 499 7279.

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Church of Ireland Notes

Published weekly in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times