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Disestablishment Recalled

Recent articles in The Irish Times by the Archbishop of Armagh and Patsy McGarry have begun the narrative of how the 150th anniversary of the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland will be celebrated. This will be filled out over the next year or so by a programme of events – liturgical, historical, academic and popular. But how was the unfolding story of disestablishment told at the time?

Drawing on the resources of the Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette, the historian Dr Miriam Moffitt has produced a timely analysis of the coverage of the disestablishment story as it was reported by the Gazette, as the RCB Library’s Archive of the Month. She focuses on the period between the circulation of the draft bill in January 1869 to its passage into law on 26 July and then on the period from the immediate aftermath to the end of that year, demonstrating how the news was reported and thus read and interpreted by the wider Church of Ireland community.

The presentation, which draws on complementary resources available in the Library in addition to the newspaper, once again reveals how looking through the lens of the Gazette hidden aspects of the disestablishment story can be recovered. The Gazette is especially useful in recording the diverse opinions held within the Church and, in providing insights into the different ways in which churchmen experienced a very significant change to their Church and how they responded. There is no evidence, for example, that women were involved at all in the disestablishment episode. 

The content of the Church of Ireland Gazette (Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette to 1900) from 1856 to 1949 may be explored in full by using the search box on link to the digitized version of the Gazette available at: https://esearch.informa.ie/rcb

For more information on the Church of Ireland’s Disestablishment 150 programme, please visit www.ireland.anglican.org/d150 

Tomorrow (Sunday) in Christ Church cathedral, Dublin, the 11am Sung Eucharist will be sung by the cathedral’s Voluntary Choir. In  St Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin, the Close Chorale will sing at the 11.15am Choral Eucharist and the 3.15pm Evensong will be sung by the choir of All Saints church, Mullingar. The choir of St Canice’s cathedral, Kilkenny, will return from their summer break to sing at a special Choral Eucharist in Celebration of the Arts which will take place in St Canice’s cathedral at 11.30am when Bishop John Neill will be the celebrant and preacher.

In Co Monaghan, the St Molua’s Day Open–air service will be held at Magheracloone at 3pm providing an opportunity for people from all churches to come together to celebrate and give thanks for those who have gone before us and particularly of the influence left by St Molua on the area. The guest speaker will be Monsignor Joseph McGuinness.

‘Summer Music in Sandford’ continues next Friday at 1.10pm in Sandford parish church, Ranelagh, where there will be recital by soprano Katy Kelly.

The new series of organ recitals continues in St Fin Barre’s cathedral, Cork, on Friday at 1.10pm when David Grealy, from St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Dublin, will play music by Dupré, Bach, Reger, Franck and Cocker.

Eco–Congregation Ireland’s latest newsletter covers a survey of churchyards in the Diocese of Glendalough, to see what can be done to encourage biodiversity, a similar project from Christ Church, Portumna, Co. Galway, and progress made by St Anne’s, Shandon, towards becoming an Eco–Congregation.  The Revd Trevor Sargent writes on how to consider the carbon footprint of our holidays.

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Church of Ireland Notes

Published weekly in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times