COI Gazette – 2nd August 2013

Independence of Republic’s fee-paying schools threatened, Shane Ross tells Gazette

Shane Ross TD

Shane Ross TD

Budget cuts are now threatening the independent status of many minority, fee-paying schools, the Independent TD, Shane Ross, has told the Gazette. He said that the dramatic decision of Kilkenny College to enter the State sector was “a direct result of financial necessity, at least partly triggered by the Government’s move to reduce its grant to feepaying schools”.

Mr Ross said that more fee-paying schools seemed certain to feel forced to follow Kilkenny into the free education scheme.

He stated: “The Exchequer is now proposing to pay the salaries of one teacher for every 23 pupils in the fee-paying sector, while paying for one teacher for only 19 pupils in the public sector. Minority schools are feeling the squeeze. Others will be pushed into the free scheme.”




WILLIAM TYNDALE (c.1494-1536)


William Tyndale was born in Gloucester around 1494, educated at Oxford and studied for a short time in Cambridge. A scholar of remarkable distinction, he was described by a contemporary as “an Englishman … who is so skilful in seven tongues, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, English, French, that whichever he speaks, you would think it his native tongue”.

At an early stage, Tyndale resolved at all costs to translate the New Testament, as he said: “Because I had perceived by experience how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue.”

Meeting discouragement from leading Churchmen, he appears to have been subsidized by English merchants with links to both Lutheranism and the native Lollards. His New Testament was printed in 1525 and copies began to be distributed widely in England, in spite of official attempts to frustrate this. In retaliation, he attached marginal notes of a controversial, even abusive, nature to successive editions of his translation, instead of leaving it to stand on its own very substantial merits.

Tyndale engaged in a controversy with Sir Thomas More, which did credit to neither of them, the latter’s work being described by its author as against “the pestilent sect of Luther and Tyndale”. Tyndale was ultimately to be betrayed in Antwerp by an agent provocateur posing as one of his converts, was arrested, imprisoned, condemned for heresy and strangled in October 1536, his body being burned.

Up to 1530, Tyndale had followed Luther’s theology, but from then on, he laid increasing stress on Law alongside Luther’s stress on Gospel. He taught that the sinner is indeed justified by faith before God, but he then justifies himself before others by obedience to the moral law, while God covenants himself to show mercy towards the law-abiding. Like Luther, Tyndale laid stress on the idea of the godly prince, but parted company with Henry VIII over the latter’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

Tyndale’s real importance was his work of biblical translation, having what has been described as a magical command of his mother tongue, many of his idiomatic phrases becoming common currency in English. A very high proportion of the Authorized Version of 1611 derives from Tyndale and through this, his influence has been, and continues to be, immense. This editorial is one in a series of occasional reflections on figures in Church history, following a chronological sequence as they appear.


Home News

  • Londonderry’s Big Weave tapestries go on display, illustrate ‘deep threads that join us together’
  • The Church of Ireland Gazette editions 1913 now fully searchable online

Readers of The Church of Ireland Gazette are well aware of its availability in electronic format (as well as hardcopy) since 2005 at this link: http://www.coigazette. net/?page_id=18 Written and read by lay and clerical members of the Church of Ireland, the Gazette – which has always been editorially independent – provides the longest-running public commentary on its affairs and, as such, is a recognised resource for understanding the complexities and nuances of Church of Ireland identity, both north and south, as well as the Church’s contribution to political and cultural life throughout the island. Less well known may be that the RCB Library in Dublin holds the only complete run of the Gazette – from the first issue in March 1856 up to the present date – bound in hard copy volumes for each year and which remain an invaluable research resource.

Long considered to be the Church of Ireland’s weekly newspaper and the first port of call for researchers wishing to obtain an insight into the opinions and attitudes of members of the Church of Ireland through changing times, the Gazette is consulted on a daily basis by a wide range of people and for many diverse research interests.

To date, as far as the older volumes are concerned, this research has had to be done using the cumbersome hard copies available in the RCB Library. An extensive run is also available at Armagh Public Library, which may be useful for readers in Northern Ireland, but this is not complete.

To demonstrate the potential of the Gazette as a research resource, and continuing its commitment to mark the Decade of Commemorations, the RCB Library is pleased to present all 52 editions of The Church of Ireland Gazette for the year 1913 in a fully searchable format now accessible online as August’s Archive of the Month – archive – in collaboration with the Editor and Board of the Gazette.

All 52 issues of the Gazette for 1913 have been professionally scanned using Optical Character Recognition by the service provider, Informa, and – via a sophisticated information platform – are now fully searchable online.

Browsers may simply enter any key word or phrase of interest in the search box on the platform and then view the list of relevant entries as they appear in chronological order, viewing each either as a single page or in the wider context of the particular issue of the newspaper in which it appears.

Burning issues of the day, such as Home Rule, the rise of the trade union movement and efforts to control it, women’s suffrage, educational change, children, the impact of the Ulster Covenant and formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force – as well as the darkening political situation on mainland Europe on the eve of the First World War and events further away – are all well covered and commented upon in 1913.

The 1913 ‘pilot’ provides a valuable snapshot view of the Church of Ireland community 100 years ago. It is also intended to demonstrate how technological advances offer radical alternatives to unlock hidden knowledge from all the other years in the 149-year run of weekly Gazettes from 1856 to 2005 (when it became available electronically).

To complete the project, and cover all the years of publication, the RCB Library, in conjunction with the Gazette Board, is now investigating appropriate sources to digitize the entire collection, making an invaluable contribution to historical knowledge and enabling multiple readers to engage on-screen.

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Letters to the Editor

Church of Ireland-Methodist interchangeability of ministries

In his letter concerning the scheme for interchangeability of ministry with the Methodists (Gazette, 7th June), Canon Bill Atkins asserts that Hooker passed no judgement on the validity of Presbyterian orders.

Yet, in Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book VII (P. G. Stanwood, ed., pp. 171- 172), Hooker wrote regarding the association of presbyters with bishops in ordination: “The association of Presbyters is no sufficient proof that the power of ordination is in them; but rather that it was never in them, we may hereby understand, for that no man is able to show either Deacon or Presbyter ordained by Presbyters only, and his ordination accounted lawful in any ancient part of the Church.”

Canon Atkins’ misunderstanding of the position of Jeremy Taylor is more unfortunate still.

He asserts that Taylor ejected Presbyterians because he regarded them as seditious. The Presbyterian, Patrick Adair, wrote that Taylor asked a Presbyterian deputation if they held Presbyterian government of the Church to be Jure Divino; that they replied positively, and that Taylor rejected their response as contrary to law (episcopal government having been restored).

Later, they and the other Presbyterian clergy were ejected by Taylor because, Adair wrote, “he simply held them not to be ministers, they not being ordained by bishops”. (Patrick Adair, A True Narrative of the Rise and Progress of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, pp. 247- 251).

Adair’s account is hostile to Taylor, but it can be relied on here, as everything else we know about Taylor points to the fervency of his support for episcopal ministry and the stridency of his opposition to Presbyterianism.

Nothing better can be said in favour of Canon Atkins’ opinion that “at that time” it was not uncommon for Presbyterian clergy to be consecrated as bishops without episcopal re-ordination. He does not name the ministers he has in mind; this is just as well, as there are no such cases from the Churches of Ireland or England of which I am aware.

Perhaps he is thinking of the consecration without re-ordination in London in 1610 of a new Archbishop of Glasgow and new Bishops of Brechin and Galloway who had previously held only Presbyterian orders – this was done against the advice of Lancelot Andrewes (Norman Sykes, Old Priest and New Presbyter, p. 101).

Presbyterian clergy in England who wished to conform after the restoration of Charles II were obliged to submit to conditional or absolute re-ordination; in some cases, Presbyterians were obliged to repudiate any previous ordinations (I.M. Green, The Re-Establishment of the Church of England 1660-1663, p.151).

C. D. C. Armstrong Belfast BT12

St Columba’s voyage to Iona remembered

As one of the oarsmen who rowed in the famous currach that went from Derry to Iona in June 1963 and who was involved in the organization and manning of the project, I must say I was very surprised by Canon Crooks’ letter in the Gazette (issue, 12th July).

I do not deny the Ven. L. W. Crooks’ part in the memorable service at Gartan on the Sunday before we departed from Derry, but the genius behind the currach project was surely Canon John Barry, then rector of Hillsborough, Co. Down.

About two years before the boat departed for Iona, Canon Barry attended a Down and Dromore Diocesan Council meeting, when the Bishop asked how Columba’s departure from Derry in 563 AD might be celebrated.

Canon Barry immediately said: “We should build and row a boat there”, adding that he knew a man who would do skipper and another who would build a suitable boat. The Canon described how he had watched a man singlehandedly, on a stormy day, bring a yacht into harbour at Sheephaven Bay in Co. Donegal and who had tossed a rope to him and then had hopped ashore, thanking him for his help. That man was Wallace Clark.

As for the boat builder, when he visited Co. Donegal, Canon Barry occasionally took the service in Bunbeg parish church. Jim Boyd, a boat builder, was churchwarden and rang the church bell there – and Canon Barry had his builder.

The Bishop was so impressed with the Canon’s confidence that he gave him £100 out of diocesan funds and told him to come back if the project needed further funding. Those two men played the major part in getting to Iona.

When the boat was ready, it was delivered courtesy of E.T. Greene & Sons, flour millers in Belfast, to Murlough House at Dundrum Bay. Volunteers came for many weekends and trained in the Irish Sea, sometimes under gruelling conditions. Thirteen men came through as the eventual crew and Canon Barry was with us all the time, an inspiration to us all.

So I think that Canon Barry deserves the credit for planning and organizing the voyage of the currach to Iona in 1963. Incidentally, the Bishop of Down got his money back – much more than he had advanced.

Canon Barry wrote a book, Joyful Pilgrimage – and it went to two editions.

J.R.F. Hilliard Killarney Co. Kerry

I take the liberty of adding one further name to the list of those already mentioned in the Gazette correspondence columns as having been involved in the 1963 currach voyage to Iona – the Revd John Jackson.

At the time, John was a fellow-curate of mine in Rathfarnham parish in Dublin, having been ordained at the tender age of 68.

Without going into details, his innovative skills and organisational capacity were remarkable and, as such, were recognised by Bishop Tyndall who entrusted him with the task of persuading enough people to sail in the pilgrimage ship Devonia to make the trip financially viable.

This John did largely by sitting at a table at the entrance to the old Christ Church Synod Hall and signing up people as they entered.

I mention this, not to diminish the work of many others 50 years ago, but, rather, to ensure that one of the ‘doers of the word’ is not forgotten.

Roy Warke (The Rt Revd) Kerdiff Park Naas Co. Kildare

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