Ecumenism in Ireland

Irish Council of Churches

The Irish Council of Churches (ICC) is constituted by "Christian Communions in Ireland willing to join in united efforts to promote the spiritual, physical, moral and social welfare of the people and the extension of the rule of Christ among all nations and over every region of life" (1922).

This historical background is significant as it indicates that the Council's ecumenical beginnings were shaped by the aftermath of World War I and the period when partition and the border had just been created on the island.

Few will appreciate that this Council was also one of the earliest pioneers of National Councils of Churches throughout the world and that six of its seven founding churches continue in its membership today. Membership of the Council has now more than doubled to fifteen churches.

The original Council started in the context of momentous changes in both jurisdictions in Ireland. It served at the cutting edge for those churches wanting to express their Christian witness in working together for the benefit of all peoples, both locally and overseas. Its mandate covered the whole island and continues to reflect the All-Ireland focus of most of its member churches.

Irish Inter-Church Meeting

The Irish Inter-Church Meeting (IICM) was established in 1973 as a forum comprising the Roman Catholic Church and the member churches of the ICC. Its purpose continues to be:

1. to survey the whole field of ecumenism
2. to initiate a general review of relations between the Christian Churches in Ireland
3. to explore the possibilities of further dialogue on both practical and doctrinal issues.

The Irish Inter-Church Meeting originated in the Ballymascanlon talks in 1973. Representation, funding and organisation at all levels is undertaken on a 50-50 basis between the Catholic Church and the ICC member churches. Twenty one plenary Meetings have been held since 1973.

  • Sign up for e-newslettersKeep in touch with what interests you