A lot has changed since the Anglican Church of England introduced the Church of Ireland into Irish soil. Some traditional practices of the church remain, but there have been some changes too. So this section takes a closer look at the current state of affairs in the Church of Ireland.
Church of Ireland Ecumenical Relations
Ecumenism is a principle that promotes members of other churches communing with each other. The Church of Ireland calls its members to celebrate, unite, and commune with other Christians, both in Ireland and in other parts of the world. Like other Protestants and Anglican churches, the Church of Ireland is an active member in many Ecumenical bodies like the World Council of Churches, Conference of European Churches, and the Irish Council of Churches among others.
Like most Protestant churches, worship is fundamental in the life of the church of Ireland. The forms of worship used in the church are evident through the way sermons are preached and how sacraments are received. In its way of worship, the church is guided by the Book of Common Prayer, which was introduced to the church in 1549.
Dignity in the Church Life Charter
Besides the Holy Communion and prayer, singing or praise also forms an important part in the church’s worship. The church offers vital music resources like the Thanks & Praise Hymnal Supplement and the Psalms project to support the music ministry and the clergy in worship.
In attempts to have everything in order, in 2015, the General Synod in its seating adopted the Dignity in Church Charter. This policy serves to articulate the church’s commitment to cultivating harmonious relationships among its members. Some of the issues outlined in this policy include:
- Clergy illness policies
- Clergy guidelines policies
- Clergy Grievance Guidelines
- Prevention of Bullying & Harassment Guide
- Prevention of Bullying & Harassment policy
Church Membership Stats
Dynamics in the social-political environment brought about a significant decline in church membership in the 20th century. As much as this church commands a huge following in Ireland, especially in the North, it experienced a major decline in church membership in the 20th century. As it stands, the Church of Ireland has an estimated 249,000 members in Northern Ireland and 126,000 in the Republic of Ireland.
Every full member of the Church of Ireland is expected to demonstrate their faith in Christ in their daily lives. Parishes, on the other hand, play a key role in serving their communities, developing relationships with Christians from other denominations, and non-Christians.