Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Overview
 
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) , is the largest Presbyterian denomination in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, and the largest Protestant denomination in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. Like most Christian churches in Ireland
Christianity in Ireland
Christianity is and has been the largest religion in Ireland, both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Irish Christianity is dominated by the Roman Catholic Church which has 86.8% of the Republic's population as followers. Most churches are organized on an all-Ireland basis which...

, it is organised on an all-island basis, in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

.
The Church has a membership of approximately 300,000 people in 550 congregations across both Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 and the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

. About 96% of the membership is in Northern Ireland.
Encyclopedia
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) , is the largest Presbyterian denomination in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, and the largest Protestant denomination in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. Like most Christian churches in Ireland
Christianity in Ireland
Christianity is and has been the largest religion in Ireland, both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Irish Christianity is dominated by the Roman Catholic Church which has 86.8% of the Republic's population as followers. Most churches are organized on an all-Ireland basis which...

, it is organised on an all-island basis, in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

.

Membership

The Church has a membership of approximately 300,000 people in 550 congregations across both Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 and the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

. About 96% of the membership is in Northern Ireland. It is the second largest church in Northern Ireland, the first being the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. In the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 the church is the second largest Protestant denomination, after the Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

. All the congregations of the church are represented up to the General Assembly
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland is the sovereign and highest court of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and is thus the Church's governing body. The General Assembly normally meets annually, during the first full week in June....

 (the church's government).

History

Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 dates from the time of the Plantation of Ulster
Plantation of Ulster
The Plantation of Ulster was the organised colonisation of Ulster—a province of Ireland—by people from Great Britain. Private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while official plantation controlled by King James I of England and VI of Scotland began in 1609...

 in 1610. During the reign of James I of England
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 (James VI of Scotland) a large number of Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 Presbyterians emigrated to Ireland. The first move away from the Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

, of which the Presbyterians in Ireland were part, saw the creation of the Presbytery of Ulster in 1642 by chaplains of a Scottish army which had arrived to crush the rising of 1641. Under Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 congregations multiplied and new presbyteries were formed. After the Restoration, nonconforming ministers were removed from parishes of the Established Church, but the Irish administration could not afford to alienate such a substantial Protestant population and Presbyterianism was allowed to continue in the country, with the stipends of ministers paid through the regium donum - literally 'the King's gift'.

William III
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 rewarded Presbyterian support against James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

 (James VII of Scotland) with an increase in the regium donum. From the 1690s, Presbyterian congregations, now organised in the Synod of Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

, enjoyed practical freedom of religion, confirmed by the Toleration Act of 1719. However, their members remained very conscious both of continuing legal disabilities under the penal laws
Penal Laws (Ireland)
The term Penal Laws in Ireland were a series of laws imposed under English and later British rule that sought to discriminate against Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters in favour of members of the established Church of Ireland....

 and of economic hardship as many were tenant farmers and objected to the payment of tithes to support the Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

. Throughout the eighteenth century, many Presbyterians were involved in movements for reform, which culminated with their prominent involvement in the United Irishmen.

The eighteenth century saw significant tensions within the Synod of Ulster, which was divided between the Old Lights and the New Lights
Anti-Burgher
The Anti-Burghers were opponents of the Burgher Oath on theological grounds.In 1733 the First Secession from the Church of Scotland resulted in the creation of the "Associate Presbytery". This church split in 1747 over the issue of the Burgher Oath, which required holders of public offices to...

. The Old Lights were conservative Calvinists
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 who believed that ministers and ordinands should subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith
Westminster Confession of Faith
The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith, in the Calvinist theological tradition. Although drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly, largely of the Church of England, it became and remains the 'subordinate standard' of doctrine in the Church of Scotland, and has been...

. The New Lights were more liberal and were unhappy with the Westminster Confession and did not require ministers to subscribe to it. The New lights dominated the Synod of Ulster during the eighteenth century, allowing the more conservative Scottish Presbyterian
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

 dissenters, Seceders
United Presbyterian Church of Scotland
The United Presbyterian Church of Scotland was a Scottish Presbyterian denomination. It was formed in 1847 by the union of the United Secession Church and the Relief Church, and in 1900 merged with the Free Church of Scotland to form the United Free Church of Scotland, which in turn united with...

 and Covenanters to establish a strong presence in Ulster.

In the nineteenth century, a belief that some of those who did not subscribe to the Westminster Confession were in fact Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 provoked a new phase of the conflict. This ended when seventeen ministers opposed to subscription seceded with their congregations to form the Remonstrant Synod. This led to the restoration of obligatory subscription to the Westminster Confession within the Synod of Ulster and facilitated union with the Seceders in 1840 to create the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The united church was active in missionary activity both at home and abroad, particularly benefitting from the evangelical Ulster Revival of 1859.

The Church today

The current (2010–2011) moderator
Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland is the most senior office-bearer within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, which is Northern Ireland's largest Protestant denomination....

 is the Right Reverend Dr T. Norman Hamilton OBE, minister of Ballysillan Presbyterian Church, North Belfast. The headquarters of the church are at Church House
Church House, Belfast
Church House in Belfast, Northern Ireland is the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Although there was a decision taken to move to a new location the General Assembly, in 2005, voted to overturn the decision...

 in Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

. Plans to relocate to a new development in May Street have been cancelled. The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, a founding member of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches
World Alliance of Reformed Churches
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches is a fellowship of more than 200 churches with roots in the 16th-century Reformation, and particularly in the theology of John Calvin...

, has over 550 congregations in 19 presbyteries across Ireland. The church's two nineteenth century theological colleges, Magee College
Magee College
Magee College is a campus of the University of Ulster located in Derry, Northern Ireland. It opened in 1865 as a Presbyterian Christian arts and theological college...

 (Derry) and Assembly's College (Belfast), merged in 1978 to form Union Theological College
Union Theological College
Union Theological College is the theological college for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and is situated in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was established in 1853 as Assembly's College. The building served as the location for the early Northern Ireland Parliaments.The college offers a full range...

 in Belfast. Union offers post-graduate education to the denomination's candidates for the full-time ministry.

Until 2007 the church was connected to a credit union
Credit union
A credit union is a cooperative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members and operated for the purpose of promoting thrift, providing credit at competitive rates, and providing other financial services to its members...

, Presbyterian Mutual
Presbyterian Mutual
ThePresbyterian Mutual Society, also known as Presbyterian Mutual is a Belfast based mutual society with around 9.500 investors, most of whom are members of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland....

, that collapsed with the savings of almost 10,000 members, almost all of whom were also members of the church.

The PCI is involved in education, evangelism, social service and mission in a number of areas around the world;
  • India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

  • China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

     (see also: Irish Presbyterian Mission
    Irish Presbyterian Mission
    Irish Presbyterian Mission was an Irish Presbyterian missionary society that was involved in sending workers to countries such as China during the late Qing Dynasty.-See also:*Protestant missionary societies in China during the 19th Century...

    )
  • The Middle East
  • Jamaica
    Jamaica
    Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

  • Africa
    Africa
    Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

  • Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

  • Nepal
    Nepal
    Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

  • Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...


Church and worship

Apart from the seats for worshippers (not shown above), the inside of the church is dominated by four items of furniture.
  • The Pulpit is the place from which sermons are preached. It generally occupies the central place in the church, reflecting the central place of the proclamation of the Word of God in the worship of the Church. .
  • The Bible Stand holds the bible in a prominent place in the church. The bible is the source of all authority in the life of the church.
  • The Communion Table, often placed directly in front of the pulpit. The associated chairs are occupied by the minister and elders during the service of Holy Communion.
  • The Baptismal Font is used during baptisms, which is regarded as a sign of the covenant between God and the Church, welcoming the child into the community of the Church. Children are regarded as sharing the promise of salvation with adults in the church and have as much right to be baptised as adults. ('Infant Baptism' does not guarantee admission to Full Membership. Full Membership is only accepted on Profession of a personal Faith.)

Service

The Word of God
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 is central in the Presbyterian Church, along with Prayer and Praise. The worship is a mix of prayers
Prayers
is an anime set in the year 2014 where the young of Japan have rebelled against the government for segregating Shibuya and declared themselves to be independent of Japan...

, hymns, psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

, paraphrases
Paraphrases
Within a Presbyterian Hymnbook, the Paraphrases are usually printed in a separate section from Psalms and Hymns. Within the Church Hymnary Revised Edition of the Presbyterian Hymnbook there are 67 Paraphrases...

, Scripture readings and sermons. In recent years, psalms and paraphrases have been used less but are still an important part of worship. The order of service varies from church to church but it generally involves a hymn, followed by a prayer, followed by a children's address and a children's hymn. This is then followed by an expository sermon by the minister and another hymn, then another prayer and a closing hymn. Many Presbyterian churches mix Psalms and formal hymns with choruses, suitable for children, and many churches now have praise bands with a variety of instruments, as well as the traditional organ.

Logo and motto

The motto of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland is "Ardens sed Virens" - "burning but flourishing". It is usually seen alongside the Burning Bush, the church's symbol. A burning bush was included in the more modern logo (top).
Main article : Burning Bush
Burning bush
The burning bush is an object described by the Book of Exodus as being located on Mount Sinai; according to the narrative, the bush was on fire, but was not consumed by the flames, hence the name...


According to the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, in Exodus 3:2, Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 heard the voice of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 coming from a burning bush that was not consumed by fire
Fire
Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

. This occurred after he had to flee Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, and was when he was called to go and demand the release of the Israelites.

Bodies to which the PCI is affiliated

  • Irish Council of Churches
  • Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (Leuenberg Church Fellowship)
    Leuenberg Agreement
    Leuenberg Agreement is an ecumenical document adopted in 1973 by major European Lutheran and Reformed churches at the Swiss conference centre Leuenberg . Under this agreement the churches agree on a common understanding of the Gospel, including elementary agreement on important doctrines including...

  • Conference of European Churches
    Conference of European Churches
    The Conference of European Churches was founded in 1959 to promote reconciliation, dialogue and friendship between the churches of Europe at a time of growing Cold War political tensions and divisions. It is an ecumenical fellowship of Christian churches in Europe; its membership consists of most...

  • World Alliance of Reformed Churches
    World Alliance of Reformed Churches
    The World Alliance of Reformed Churches is a fellowship of more than 200 churches with roots in the 16th-century Reformation, and particularly in the theology of John Calvin...


See also

  • Christianity in Ireland
    Christianity in Ireland
    Christianity is and has been the largest religion in Ireland, both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Irish Christianity is dominated by the Roman Catholic Church which has 86.8% of the Republic's population as followers. Most churches are organized on an all-Ireland basis which...

  • Presbyterianism
    Presbyterianism
    Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

  • Religion in the United Kingdom
    Religion in the United Kingdom
    Religion in the United Kingdom and the states that pre-dated the UK, was dominated by forms of Christianity for over 1,400 years. Although a majority of citizens still identify with Christianity in many surveys, regular church attendance has fallen dramatically since the middle of the 20th century,...

  • Ulster-Scots
    Ulster-Scots
    The Ulster Scots are an ethnic group in Ireland, descended from Lowland Scots and English from the border of those two countries, many from the "Border Reivers" culture...

  • History of Christianity in Ireland
    History of Christianity in Ireland
    -Introduction of Christianity:The introduction of Christianity to Ireland dates to sometime before the 5th century, presumably in interactions with Roman Britain. Christian worship had reached pagan Ireland around 400 AD. For some unknown reason, the conversion from pagan worship to Christian...



Other Presbyterian denominations in Ireland
  • Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster
    Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster
    The Free Presbyterian Church is a Presbyterian denomination founded by the Rev. Ian Paisley in 1951. Most of its members live in Northern Ireland...

  • Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland
    Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland
    The Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland derives its name and its liberal and tolerant identity from early 18th century Presbyterian ministers who refused to subscribe at their ordination to the Westminster Confession, a standard Reformed statement of faith; and who formed, in 1725, the...

  • Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland
    Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland
    The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland is a Presbyterian denomination in Ireland.-History:The denomination's roots date back to the 17th-century Plantation of Ulster by Scots Presbyterian settlers...

  • Evangelical Presbyterian Church
    Evangelical Presbyterian Church (Ireland)
    The Evangelical Presbyterian Church is denomination that is found in Northern Ireland. It broke away from Irish Presbyterian Church in 1927...


Further reading

  • Finlay Holmes The Presbyterian Church in Ireland: A Popular History. (Blackrock, Co. Dublin: The Columba Press, 2000) ISBN 1-85607-284-3
  • Laurence Kirkpatrick Presbyterians in Ireland: An Illustrated History. (Holywood, Co. Down: Booklink, 2006) ISBN 0955409713
  • Ian McBride,Scripture Politics: Ulster Presbyterians and Irish Radicalism in the Late Eighteenth Century, (Oxford: Calrendon Press, 1998) ISBN 0198206429

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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