Zion Parish is a community of faith within the Church of Ireland, which is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion of churches. Easy to read study leaflets explaining what we believe can be found in church or downloaded from the Church of Ireland website by clicking here.
The Church of Ireland and the Reformation
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
(The Nicene Creed. The Book of Common Prayer, page 205)
In common with other churches of the Anglican Communion, the Church of Ireland considers itself to be both Catholic and Reformed. We are generally identified as Protestant, but this is only part of our identity. The Church of Ireland does not trace its origin to the European Reformation or the Reformation in these islands, but rather, seeing itself as one part of the universal Church, it traces its origin back to Jesus sending the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
The Church of Ireland is Catholic because it possesses a continuous tradition of faith and practice, based on Scripture and early traditions, enshrined in the Catholic Creeds, together with the sacraments and apostolic ministry. The Church of Ireland is Protestant, or Reformed, because it affirms the need for constant reform and renewal in the Church heralded by the Reformation 500 years ago. It is not a confessional church and Anglicans retain a suspicion of too closely defining the boundaries of belief.
The Church of Ireland maintains a liturgical pattern of worship, observing the feasts and fasts of the Catholic liturgical year. It remembers the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints on special days. It retains many of the rites and ceremonies of the pre–Reformation Catholic Church and emphasises the importance of the Sacraments. It administers the two Dominical Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, as well as the sacramental ministries of confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony, absolution and healing.
The Church of Ireland ordains men and women, single and married, to the three orders of deacon, priest and bishop. One of the most obvious continuous sources of division between the Church of Ireland and the Catholic Church relates to the jurisdiction of the Pope, as successor to Saint Peter, over the universal Church. While Anglicans generally hold the Holy Father in very high esteem, each member church of the Anglican Communion is autonomous and self-governing, and the Communion lacks the centralised authority and regulation of the Catholic Church.
Much good came from the Reformation and we celebrate that today. However, no one could deny that the Reformation came to be embroiled in wider politics and in the affairs of the world. Much suffering was caused on both sides, people died and much was said that we would wish to take back. Recently, the General Synod of the Church of Ireland passed a Resolution qualifying the language used in our Thirty-Nine Articles as being of its time, and not expressing the fullness of our modern understanding of Ecumenism.
‘Denominationalism is out-moded. Sectarianism is no longer relevant. The major issues of evangelisation in a secular and largely non-Christian world completely eclipse the relatively minor subjects debated by our forefathers.’ This observation by a former Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop McCann, is as relevant now as when it was made at the 1966 General Synod. Today we commit ourselves afresh to walking together with our Catholic and our Protestant sisters and brothers, as we seek to offer a common witness to a hurting world.
Zion parish is blessed to have strong links of friendship and fellowship with two local Catholic parishes and with a range of local Reformed congregations. Our Church and School seek to offer to everyone a welcome and a community that is distinctively Anglican in its openness and inclusivity, and that strives to help each person unlock their own abilities and potential, and to meet and to know Jesus Christ.
The Reverend Stephen A. Farrell M.A.(Oxon), B.Th., LL.M.
Rector of Zion