Irish Council of Churches. Irish Inter-Church Meeting

The Unfinished Reformation

Presbyterian Church in Ireland



Member Church Events


With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation taking place at the end of next month, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s Union Theological College is to devote its autumn seminar series to ‘The Unfinished Reformation’.

Over consecutive Monday evenings in Belfast, starting on 25th September, six speakers from both the Reformed and Roman Catholic tradition will look at different aspects of the Reformation in four thought–provoking seminars.

With the College’s teaching staff providing three of the speakers, those attending will also hear from Dr. Francis Campbell, the UK’s former ambassador to the Holy See and current Vice Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Father Tim Bartlett, Secretary General of the World Meeting of Families will take a joint seminar with Rev. Trevor Gribben, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Clerk of the General Assembly. The title of their talk will be ‘Presbyterians and Catholics: Areas of common concern.’

Union College principal Very Rev. Professor Stafford Carson said the seminars are an opportunity to follow up on some of the issues raised in the College’s Luther 500 Conference in January, especially around the key question, ‘What is the continuing relevance of the Reformation for churches today?’

“One of the slogans of the Reformation was ‘The Church reformed and always reforming’ and we will look at what areas has the church continued to be reformed since the 16th century and in what areas does it still need to be reformed?

“The speakers that we have brought together will help us reflect on these questions from their different perspectives. I hope in running this series it will create a greater awareness of the Reformation, its meaning and ongoing legacy, especially in Ireland. In helping us to do that, I want to extend a very warm welcome to all our special guest speakers who I believe will make a valuable contribution to that understanding,” Professor Carson said.

Each seminar will take begin at 7:30pm and last for approximately two hours. 

25th September 2017, Prof. Laurence Kirkpatrick (Professor of Church History, UTC) – The Presbyterian Church in Ireland: A Reformed Church and Always Reforming?

2nd October 2017, Dr Francis Campbell (Vice–Chancellor, St Mary’s University, Twickenham) – The Roman Catholic Church and Reformation

9th October 2017, Father Tim Bartlett (Secretary–General, World Meeting of Families) & Rev Trevor Gribben (General Secretary, The Presbyterian Church in Ireland) – Presbyterians and Catholics: Areas of Common Concern

16th October 2017, Dr Martyn Cowan (Lecturer in Historial Theology, UTC) & Dr Zach Cole (Lecturer in Biblical Studies, UTC) – The Reformation Continues: By Grace Alone, through Faith Alone 

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