Page 9 - Church Review JUNE 2020 [IM)
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Resolutions on such topics were often postponed as premature. St Andrew’s, Suffolk Street, considered the parish “one of the most important in Ireland” owing the businesses contained within its boundaries and hoped one of their representatives would be chosen as a representative to the General Synod. None were.
The meetings also considered controversial topics. These were pointers to the issues which would be difficult at future synod meetings and the Convention. Ritualism was often condemned. The formal meeting at Grangegorman at 9 am, was chaired by a churchwarden. Business completed, he adjourned that stormy meeting when the children were due at the Schoolhouse. The parishioners reassembled at the church door to pass resolutions protesting at high church teaching, ritualism and the adornment of the sanctuary.
During a vote of thanks to the Chairman, chanting of psalms emerged as an issue at St John’s, Sandymount. The proposer regarded such chanting as a dangerous innovation in present circumstances. The incumbent replied that his objective was the glory of God and he drew his authority on singing from within the psalms themselves. Angrily, the proposer sought a declaration, not forthcoming from the meeting, that “they would have a protestant service for a protestant church”.
The bishops’ resolutions
On 5 November 1869, the bishops unanimously adopted their resolutions to sit as a separate or third order in the convention. This provoked considerable correspondence in the press and discussion at parish meetings. There was disagreement over the bishops’ stance. Some considered this stance precluded by the Duke of Abercorn’s resolution providing for the laity and the clergy to vote separately. They argued the Abercorn resolution would not have been passed but for an understanding that the bishops would sit amongst the clergy.
The controversy was nationwide. A parish in Wexford town objected to the bishops’ resolution but Knocklong (Ossory) was strongly in favour of them retaining their privilege. Nearby Dunleckeney (Leighlin) declared its “disapprobation” of the bishops’ intention.
That intention prompted Enniskillen (Clogher) to trust that the Duke of Abercorn’s resolution would be rescinded. Kilpatrick (Ferns) opposed voting by orders and, if the bishops were to sit separately, then twice the number of laymen should sit and act with them in the upper house. At Athy (Glendalough) a desire was expressed that the three orders would “sit and act deliberatively together” and that if voting by orders was adhered to the bishops should vote with the clergy.
At Rathowen (Ardagh), there was a nuanced opinion suggesting the bishop’s would vote apart only on special occasions and that the concurrent assent of all three orders would be necessary to constitute any act of the Synod. The matter was debated at Birr (Killaloe) where Lord Rosse the Chairman thought the bishops had too much power. Mr Garvey was reported at that meeting as advocating deference to
the bishops on matters of doctrine but not discipline and finance.
From Kilkenny College, JH Martin wrote to the Dublin Daily Express opining that surrendering the principle of the independence of the bishops, at the beginning of the new career of
St Johns Sandymount
the Church, would “put them in a position they could consent to occupy only by being false to their trust”.
Clearly, there would be a lot of debate at the Convention.
  A Vestry Door
 Stillorgan School House
  Saint Mary’s, Dunleckney, Bagenalstown, Patrick Comerford
St-Stephen’s Upper Mount Street Courtesy, Lynne Glanville

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