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Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met in an online format on Tuesday, 15th June 2021.  Canon Malcolm Kingston opened the meeting with a reading from Luke chapter 20 and in prayer, remembering the role of the members of the Church to be ambassadors for Christ, seeking to bring hope and encouragement in these challenging times.

The Archbishop of Armagh welcomed the Rt Revd Dr Ian William Ellis to his first meeting of Standing Committee in his capacity as Bishop of Clogher.

The Standing Committee considered the audit of the relationship between parishes and Bishops’ Appeal, and an investigation of the possible future development of that relationship, carried out by Williamson Consulting, and supported the Bishops’ Appeal Committee in bringing its recommendations for a re–launch of Bishops’ Appeal as a resolution to General Synod 2021.

On the recommendation of the Central Communications Board, the Standing Committee approved a subvention of €5,000 from the General Synod Royalties Fund to Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise (the Irish Guild of the Church) towards the reprinting and republishing of An Bíobla Naofa (the Holy Bible) in the Irish language to mark the 40th anniversary of the first publication of the version.

The Standing Committee approved revised wording of the Marriage Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004 and the Marriage Regulations (Republic of Ireland) 2007, received from the House of Bishops following the Standing Committee’s support at its March 2021 meeting for the revision of the regulations: ‘Marriages are ordinarily solemnised in a church or chapel of the Church of Ireland duly consecrated for public worship. Marriages shall not be solemnised at any place other than a church or chapel of the Church of Ireland duly consecrated for public worship unless the circumstances are exceptional and the prior approval of the relevant bishop has been obtained.’

A report from the focus group set up by the House of Bishops, and chaired by the Bishop of Meath and Kildare, to look at the progress of women in ministry in the Church of Ireland was approved to be passed to the Commission on Ministry for further reflection and appropriate response.

The Standing Committee approved a private member’s motion, as follows: ‘The Church of Ireland affirms that every human being is created with intrinsic dignity in the image of God with the right to life.  We oppose the extreme abortion legislation imposed on Northern Ireland by the United Kingdom Parliament in what was previously considered a devolved issue and ask that legislation is developed that safeguards the wellbeing of both the mother and unborn child. In addition, we encourage our church to provide more support to mothers during pregnancy, particularly during times of crisis.’

Board for Ministry with Children and Families

The Standing Committee approved the proposed terms of reference for the Church of Ireland Board for Ministry with Children and Families which includes a vision ‘to equip, resource and advocate for the increased welcome, enhanced inclusion and full participation of children and their families in the whole life of the Church’ and ‘that every Church of Ireland parish, no matter how big or small, is equipped to provide vibrant and engaging ministry with children and families.’

For the purposes of the work of the Board, a child is defined as an individual up to and including those in primary education and the term family encompasses all who have a part in caring for and raising children.  The Board for Ministry with Children and Families will ultimately report to General Synod but will report through the Standing Committee in the initial three–year period.


The Revd David White will represent the Church of Ireland at the AGM of the Conference of European Churches on 30th June 2021, on the recommendation of the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue and with the agreement of the Honorary Secretaries.

Mr Robert Dunne, Safeguarding Officer (Republic of Ireland), has been confirmed by the Anglican Communion’s Safe Church Commission as the provincial representative of the Church of Ireland, on the nomination of the Secretary General and with the approval of the Safeguarding Board. 

The Standing Committee approved the nomination of Dr Peter Hamill and the Revd James Mulhall to represent the Board for Ministry with Children and Families on the Executive of the Children’s Ministry Network (UK and Ireland) under Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

The Ven Adrian Wilkinson and Mrs Kaye Nesbitt were appointed to propose and second (respectively) the Report of the Standing Committee to General Synod 2021.

Elections & Nominations

The next meeting of the Standing Committee will be on Tuesday, 21st September 2021, ahead of the annual meeting of General Synod, to take place from 30th September to 2nd October 2021.  This will be the last meeting of the current membership of the Standing Committee.

Elections for members of the Standing Committee to serve in the next triennium (2021–2023) will take place in the months leading up to General Synod, when the names of the new membership will be announced.  Nominations for co–options will then follow and the first meeting of the new Standing Committee will take place on Tuesday, 16th November 2021.

The Archbishop of Armagh closed the meeting in prayer.


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