Context and Consequences of Disestablishment Explored at RIA Conference
‘Church of Ireland: Disestablishment and Beyond’ was the subject of a conference organised by the Royal Irish Academy to mark the 150th anniversary of the Disestablishment. The conference, which was fully booked, took place in the RIA last Thursday (February 27) and dealt with the moment that the Church of Ireland lost its status as the established church, the challenges that arose and the responses to them.
A wide range of speakers addressed multiple aspects of Disestablishment. From the concept of establishment and disestablishment to the social, political and cultural consequences in the first 100 years of disestablishment. The challenges faced by the Church since the commemoration of the centenary of disestablishment in 1969 were examined along with the Church of Ireland’s role in the future of the island of Ireland.
Welcoming delegates to the conference, the President of the RIA Professor Michael Peter Kennedy said they had received a great deal of interest from people in a range of disciplines when they sought volunteers to take part in the conference. He added that the RIA was delighted to be part of the Disestablishment 150 commemorations.
Archbishop Michael Jackson said members of the Church of Ireland very much looked forward to hearing the different perspectives on the church during the afternoon’s interchange.
While the church is marking 150 years since Disestablishment, he said it was still a work in progress. “We are continuing to feel our way in contexts that are changing all the time. We continue to make our contribution and there have been number of interesting trajectories that have come to bear on us as a small community,” he stated. “In November the Archbishop of Canterbury, preaching in St Patrick’s Cathedral… spoke of his idea of the Church of Ireland as a church without borders and that is something with which we can work.”
Panellists on the day included Prof Jacqueline Hill, MRIA (Maynooth Universtiy), Prof Alvin Jackson, MRIA, (the University of Edinburgh), Dr Marie Coleman (Queen’s University Belfast, Dr Ian d’Alton (Trinity College Dublin), Prof Alan Ford (the University of Nottingham), Dr Miriam Moffitt (St Patrick’s College Maynooth), Senator Ivana Bacik, the Revd Prof Anne Lodge (Dublin City University), Dr Martin Mansergh, MRIA, and Dr Andrew Pierce (Trinity College Dublin).