On Culture Night 2020 it is envisaged that every Church of Ireland church in Dublin & Glendalough will be open to the public to mark the 150th anniversary of Disestablishment.
Culture Night is an annual all–island public event that celebrates culture, creativity and the arts. It takes place each September and organisations and venues of all shapes and sizes throw open their doors and welcome members of the public. Many churches and cathedrals already take part in Culture Night but 2020 will be unique for Dublin & Glendalough with every church being open to the public.
Every church, big or small, has something to offer to the wider community. As we mark the 150th anniversary of Disestablishment, Culture Night gives a great opportunity to showcase the Church of Ireland and welcome people who may not have been inside their local Church of Ireland church before.
To facilitate this, the Disestablishment 150 committee has organised an open information morning in the Music Room of Christ Church Cathedral on Friday 7 February 2020 from 11am to 1pm.
A member of clergy and two representatives of each parish of the dioceses will be invited to attend the information morning and report back to their select vestries. They will be provided with a wide range of resources to assist with this endeavour.
A representative from Culture Night will speak about how best to engage with Culture Night and give tips on what to do on the night. There will also be advertising and marketing resources to help parishes publicise the event so that people in their communities know their churches will be open on the night.
Each parish is encouraged to send a representative on February 7. Representatives are asked to register here.
The 150th anniversary of Disestablishment is being commemorated with a variety of events and initiatives taking place from 2019 to 2021.
Disestablishment came about as a result of Gladstone’s Irish Church Act which was passed on 26 July 1869. This meant that the Church of Ireland was detached from the Church of England with which it had been united by the Act of Union of 1800 and set it free from its existing political responsibilities in Ireland. It also meant that over time it could develop a totally different relationship with members of the Roman Catholic tradition. This relationship we now take for granted and call ecumenism.
On 1 January 1871 the Church of Ireland was officially disestablished. It was no longer the official Church of the country.