Church of Ireland on the increase

Interesting interview with Neil McEndoo, an Anglican minister in Dublin who is upbeat about the future of his church in the Republic. Keith Lynch writes: “in 2002, the number of people who identified themselves as part of the Church of Ireland increased for the first time since its establishment here. With a total of 115,611 people the Church showed an increase of almost 27,000 since the 1991 census”. Presbyterian congregations are also thought to be on the rise.

  • smcgiff

    30% increase – Excellent news. Long may it continue!

  • Brian Boru

    So much for us hounding all the Protestants out of the South! 🙂

  • mr bigglesworth

    The rise in presbyterian congregations is mostly down to the people coming into Ireland from elsewhere. There tends to be more black people than white people in some presbyterian churches.

    *By the way, can I just point out that I have no problem with people of different colours, I am just pointing out that the presbyterian population is not increasing because presbyterian families in the republic are having more children or people are converting. It is because of the people coming into Ireland from elsewhere. Ireland, especially Dublin is changing fast, it makes for interesting times and changes.

  • Brian Boru

    Mr bigglesworth, even so, it is a sharp contrast to the constant attacks on immigrants in Loyalist areas.

    Also, even if immigrants are excluded from the figures, there is a rise in Protestant numbers albeit a small one. This is evidence that Catholics in mixed marriages are no longer demanding that all the children be brought up as Catholics.

  • Brian Boru

    And contrary to what you say, 13,000 Catholics have converted to Protestantism in recent years.

  • Mick

    Interesting BB. Where’d you get the figure from?

  • slug

    ” 13,000 Catholics have converted to Protestantism in recent years.”

    In the Republc? And over what time period?

  • Brian Boru

    Mick, here is my basis for my assertion:

    http://www.evangelical.ie/Docs/Newspaper%20articles.doc

    It states that 13,000 worship in Evangelical Protestant churches of whom the vast majority are ex-Catholic Irish people.

  • Brian Boru

    78% of this figure consists of Irish people, overwhelmingly former Catholics, representing a 1000% increase since 1980.

  • slug

    Brian – Evangelism works!

  • Brian Boru

    “Brian – Evangelism works!

    Nah Atheism does it for me 🙂

  • peteb

    Brian B

    Apart from the fact that the article doesn’t actually support your claim that “13,000 Catholics have converted to Protestantism in recent years.”

    Here’s where it also fails to convince –

    To paraphrase – Evangelicals talk to themselves and think of a number.

  • ch in dallas

    I’m Catholic, and a female Anglican priest once asked me what role Catholic women have, to which I replied “reproduction.” The Rt. Rev. was not amused!

  • smcgiff

    ‘I’m Catholic, and a female Anglican priest once asked me what role Catholic women have, to which I replied “reproduction.” The Rt. Rev. was not amused!’

    Sure if she can’t take a joke! (you were joking right!)

  • ch in dallas

    smcgiff, She couldn’t take that joke that’s for sure. My drole and dry sense of humor goes largely unappreciated, although my wife says that should tell me something!

  • mr bigglesworth

    Sketchy source Brian Boru, it sounds very unlikely that there has been a 1000% increase in catholics converting.

    Apart from the argument some use that its to get their kids into church of ireland schools, why would so many convert?

  • Brian Boru

    “Apart from the argument some use that its to get their kids into church of ireland schools, why would so many convert?”

    Because of scandals in the Catholic church and disillusion with its rules on issues like celibacy, women priests, and contraception. Also, there isn’t the political dimension to religion down here that exists in the North.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘I’m Catholic, and a female Anglican priest once asked me what role Catholic women have, to which I replied “reproduction.”

    I think they’re allowed to cook and clean as well.

  • David

    I would tend to agree with the Evangelical Alliance estimates quoted above that a considerable number of Catholics have converted to Evangelical Christianity in the past 10-15 years.

    In lots of Irish towns, often where there has been little traditional Protestantism, there are non-denominational Evangelical churches. They tend to meet in rented premises, rather than have church buildings. These churches seem to be growing in numbers and tend to include a mix of Irish and recent immigrant population in their membership.

    These churches tend not to be associated with Protestant denominations, are usually “charismatic” in theology with a strong emphasis on being “born again” and usually refer to themselves as “Evangelical” rather than “Protestant”.

    I have experience of several of these churches and plenty of their members are ex-Catholic.

    I am not sure about the 13000 figure, but it does not seem unreasonable.

  • Paul

    Come the day they say will come, it might not turn out to be that cold house for Protestants 😉

  • Shay Begorrah

    While like any good Republican I am keen to see Roman Catholicsm dwindle in popularity I can not help worrying that a lot of the Evangelicals replacing their numbers would have an awful lot in common with the current Pope Benedict in terms of their tedious biblical literalism and social and politcal conservatism, and less in common with liberal protestant faiths like Methodism, which I always saw as Christianity for marxist singing enthusiasts.

    Of course I could be displaying ill informed bigotry. Again.

  • ch in dallas

    S.B. As opposed to well informed bigotry?

  • Shay Begorrah

    Sure Ch, a bigot is wrong in the degree of his conviction but not necessarily in the conviction itself.

    I would however agree that bigotry and ignorance mix well.

    Of course I could be an ignorant fool.

  • DK

    David

    “These churches tend not to be associated with Protestant denominations, are usually “charismatic” in theology with a strong emphasis on being “born again” and usually refer to themselves as “Evangelical” rather than “Protestant”.

    I disageee with your statement. The “charismatic” churches you describe are firmly “Protestant” in that they follow the reformed faith with direction taken from scripture and a belief in a personal relationship with god. All Protestant churches to my knowledge believe in the need to be “born again”, as directed by scripture.