The Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is part of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Reformation was quite different from that of the French, Scottish, Swiss or German Reformations in that no one leader or spiritual figurehead headed the reforms. Instead, both Roman Catholic and reforming Protestant spiritual traditions made their way into a national church in 16th century England.
In the 19th century there was an intellectual reformation within Anglicanism that fostered not just faith in the traditional creeds of the church, or belief that God speaks to us through scripture but that faith also is served by reason and learning.
We strive to work for unity amid the diversity and very real theological differences in emphasis within the Communion. Yet there is a shared conviction that belief in the Trinity, in Christ as Lord and Saviour, in Holy Scripture, in sacrament, Common Prayer, the constitutional ordering of the church, the three-fold ordering of ministry (deacon, priest and bishop) hold things together.
In 1870, the Church of Ireland became independent of the Church of England. Since then it has been a national, parliamentary church covering both jurisdictions of Northern Ireland and the Republic. General Synod (parliament) comprises the House of Bishops and the Houses of Representatives (made up of elected members of the clergy and laity) and it orders all aspects of church governance and policy. The Bishops hold responsibility for the integrity of church doctrine and teaching.