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The Church of Ireland

The Church of Ireland
News Briefing

For Saturday 5th May 2001

From: The RCB Library
Email: RCB Library

Founder of the RCB Library Remembered

"An Englishwoman in Belfast"

At first sight, a book entitled An Englishwoman in Belfast does not suggest itself to a Church of Ireland readership. But the sub-title, Rosamund Stephen's Record of the Great War, makes, at least for some, the connection, for Rosamund Stephen was, in effect, the founder of the Representative Church Body Library. Her gift of the Library of the Guild of Witness, which she had formed in 1901, and the determination of the greatest leader which the Church of Ireland has had this century, Archbishop John Gregg, that this gift should be accepted, created, in 1931, the RCB LIbrary.

Rosamund Stephen came from a family which was part of the political and intellectual elite of England. Her father was a High Court judge, her grandfather had been Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, her uncle was the editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, and her cousin was the novelist, Virginia Woolf. The story of how this apparently quintesessential Englishwoman became a member of the Church of Ireland and sought to use that as a springboard for ecumenical mission is admirably outlined in the introduction to this book. The substance of the volume, Stephen's own record of her life in Belfast between 1914 and 1918, contains many valuable insights into the politics of the time and in the words of the editor "apply an idiosyncratic moral perspective to Ireland's political history.

An Englishwoman in Belfast is a volume in Cork University Press's "Irish Narratives" series and has been edited by Dr Oonagh Walsh, an Irishwoman who teaches history in the University of Aberdeen.

Today (Saturday), in Maynooth, the Bishop of Meath, Dr Richard Clarke, will conduct a Quiet Day for his auxiliary clergy. In Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, following Evensong, there will be a presentation of the medieval liturgical drama Visitatio Sepulchri, written for the parish church of St John the Evangelist which stood in Fishamble Street. This is part of the Marsh's Library tercentenary celebrations. In St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Evensong will be sung by the choir of Beechwood Park School who will also sing Evensong in the Chapel of Trinity College on Sunday and give a lunchtime recital in St Patrick's on Monday.

Tomorrow (Sunday) the preacher in Trinity College Chapel will be the Revd John McDowell, Rector of Kildollagh, Co. Antrim, and a member of the General Synod Broadcasting Committee. In Monkstown parish church the Revd Kevin Dalton will dedicate gifts in memory of Canon Billy Wynne which have been given by old friends in the Mission to Seafarers. A the same service a piano in memory of Eileen Ball, and choir and pew editions of the new Church Hymnal, in memory of Dolly and Bob Bell will also be dedicated.

On Tuesday the Cashel and Ossory Clergy Conference begins in Dungarvan and continues until Thursday while on Wednesday and Thursday the Meath and Kildare clergy will meet in Bellinter where the guest speaker will be the Rector of Bandon, Canon Michael Burrows.

On Wednesday evening in St Patrick's Cathedral, the George Hewson Memorial Recital will be given by Professor Ian Tracey, Organist and Master of the Choristers in Liverpool Cathedral. The St Patrick's choir will give a fund raising concert on Friday evening when the programme will include Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and Britten's Hymn to St Cecelia.

On Friday evening in Tobermore the Bishop of Derry, Dr James Mehaffey, will institute the Revd David Morrow to the incumbency of Kilcronaghan and Ballinascreen. Mr Morrow has been Rector of Tempo, Co. Tyrone, since 1994.

Church of Ireland Notes appear in the Irish Times whose web site may be found at

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