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The Church of Ireland

The Church of Ireland
News Briefing

For Saturday 22nd December 2001

From: The RCB Library
Email: RCB Library

Christmas Reading

Advent is almost over and soon the prospect of a period of relative peace and quiet over Christmastide will be realized. For many this is an opportunity to catch up with some reading and there is ample choice among the recent publications.

It is, perhaps, a reflection of the uncertainties of the age that there is a renewed interest in spirituality and in the writers who made the discipline come alive. Gordon Mursell's English Spirituality includes extracts from the writings of many leading Anglicans including the great figures of the seventeenth century such as John Donne, Jeremy Taylor and George Herbert while a similar theme is pursued in Love's Redeeming Work. The Anglican Quest for Holiness which has been compiled by three of the most influential voices among the British bishops - Geoffrey Rowell, Kenneth Stevenson and Rowan Williams. Closer to home Thomas Carroll's Wisdom and Wasteland is a study of the sermons of the greatest of the Caroline divines, Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down and Connor, who more than any man before or since, came closest to imbuing language with a sacramental quality.

Personal reminence is also in vogue and in different ways Hugh Weir's One of Our Own and Homan Potterton's Rathcormick provide pictures of Church of Ireland families making their way in the new Ireland. Personal details of another sort are available en masse in Ronnie Wallace's Clergy of Dublin and Glendalough which provides biographical information on bishops and clergy past and present while for those who are more concerned about the present the 2002 edition of the Church of Ireland Directory is mandatory reading.

For the growing band of local historians there is another mammoth volume in the Geography Publications county history series. Armagh History and Society includes a number of interesting essays on ecclesiastical topics such as an investigation of St Patrick by Daibhi O Croinin and Henry Jeffries' study of Archbishop George Cromer. There is much of Church of Ireland interest in Vivien's Igoe's Dublin Burial Grounds & Graveyards which includes many atmospheric photographs while Richard Oram's Expressions of Faith. Ulster's Church Heritage contains details and photographs of some of the finest Church of Ireland buildings in the province.

Tomorrow (Sunday) morning RTE will televise Parish Communion with the parishioners of St Mary's, Howth, where the rector is Canon Cecil Hyland. The Bishop of Cork will preside at carols services in St Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork, and St Colman's Cathedral, Cloyne while the Archbishop of Dublin will participate in the Festival of of Nine Lessons and Carols in Christ Church Cathedral. This service, for which there is some unreserved seating, will be recorded by Lyric FM for transmission on Christmas Day. In St Patrick's Cathedral the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, for which tickets are not required, will begin at 5.15 but the Christmas Eve service, which will be broadcast on RTE 1, is an all ticket occasion.

On Christmas Day, the bishops, led by the Archbishop of Armagh and the Archbishop of Dublin, by tradition, will preach in their diocesan cathedrals, while in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Christmas Day is one of the few occasions when the pulpit is occupied by the Dean, Dr Robert MacCarthy. RTE will televise an Ecumenical Christmas Celebration led by the chaplains of Trinity College, Dublin.

On Friday there will be a lunchtime organ recital in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, by Jangoo Chapkana, one of Australia's most versatile young musicians. He will play works by Mathias, Fielding, Langlais and Bach as well as some of his own compositions.

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

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