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The Church of Ireland

The Church of Ireland
News Briefing

For Saturday 3rd November 2001

From: The RCB Library
Email: RCB Library

Memories of County Meath

There can be little doubt that there is currently more curiosity about the Church of Ireland than at any time since disestablishment. This is most evident in the explosion of interest in the Church in the localities and is manifested in greater community participation in church services, local history projects, and in community schemes to restore former Church of Ireland buildings and graveyards. Arising out of such endeavours is a heightened awareness of the place of Church of Ireland families in local communities but also a realization of how little is known of many such families.

A valuable contribution to filling this lacuna is a new book by Homan Potterton, formerly Director of the National Gallery of Ireland. Rathcormick. A Childhood Recalled is a marvellously accessible guide to the life of a Church of Ireland family in Co. Meath in the 1950s. Written from the perspective of the youngest child of a large, at least by protestant standards, family this is a book replete with amused detachment, evident affection and acute observation. It is at once both an account of the life of the Potterton family and of the society in which they lived. This is the world, not of the gentry or the Anglo-Irish, but of comfortable, middle class Church of Ireland farming stock, whose lives were informed by the Irish Times, the Church of Ireland Gazette and Kildalkey church. These are people who epitomised the popular perception of protestants as hard working, honest and reliable but somewhat detached from their Roman Catholic neighbours, for this is also the world of the Ne Temere decree, of protestant socials and protestant boarding schools.

All these matters, and more, are deftly dealt with and skillfully woven together through the eyes of a small boy growing up on a Co. Meath farm. This is no protestant apologetic but a deceptively simple account of how life was fifty years ago. It is a picture which many will recognise and a book which many will enjoy.

Rathcormick. A Childhood Recalled by Homan Potterton is published by New Island Books at IR£15.75.

Today (Saturday) Canon Patrick Rooke, Rector of Agherton, will lead the Church of Ireland Men's Society Annual Quiet Day in Holy Trinity Church, Ballywillan. In St Deiniol's Library, Wales, the Dean of Clonmacnoise, the Very Revd Andrew Furlong, will speak on "Pain and Integrity - Reform from Within" during a weekend programme on "Non Realism and Spirituality".

Tomorrow (Sunday) morning in Dublin the Rt Revd Mgr Peter Cookson, from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, will be the preacher at the annual Citizenship Service in Christ Church Cathedral while in the Chapel of Trinity College the preacher at the Sung Eucharist will be the Revd Professor John Webster, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity in Oxford.

At Evensong in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, the Revd Robert Reed will be installed as Precentor and the Revd Cecil Mills as Treasurer while two new canons, Dr Ian Ellis, Rector of Newcastle, and Dr Jonathan Barry, Rector of Comber, will also be installed. In Belfast Cathedral the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment will play at an Evening Service of Remembrance.

On Tuesday the Archbishop of Armagh will institute the Revd Jim Campbell to the incumbency of St Mark's, Portadown, while on Wednesday in the Centre for Christian Studies in St Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork, Derek Johnston will be the speaker in the "And is it True" series.

On Thursday the electoral college to select a successor to the Rt Revd Brian Hannon as Bishop of Clogher will meet in Armagh.

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

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