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Church of Ireland

The Church of Ireland:

  • is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion which has 70 million members in 164 countries.
  • is an apostolic church, maintaining an unbroken link with the early apostles and drawing on the apostolic faith in its teaching and worship.
  • is a Catholic and Reformed church.
  • is able to trace its roots to the earliest days of Irish Christianity.
  • is a church with three orders of sacred ministry – Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
  • has services which follow an accepted liturgical form and structure.
  • has one prayer book – The Book of Common Prayer (2004) – plus other services authorised for use by the General Synod.
  • keeps a balance in doctrine and worship between Word and Sacrament.
  • has the Holy Communion or the Eucharist as its central act of worship.
  • is one church embracing Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
  • has 390,000 members – 248,821 in Northern Ireland and 129,039 in the Republic of Ireland (Census 2011).
  • has two provinces, Armagh and Dublin, each with an Archbishop.
  • has 12 dioceses, over 450 parochial units and over 500 stipendiary clergy
  • is a representative church, with each diocese electing those who will represent them at the General Synod, the ‘Parliament’ of the church.
  • has in its General Synod a House of Bishops which has 12 members and a House of Representatives which has 216 clergy and 432 laity.
  • also has Diocesan Synods where representatives of the parishes meet usually once a year.
  • has a parochial system where decisions at local level are made by Select Vestries whose lay members are elected each Easter by the people of the parish.