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General Synod 2021 Preview

By the Honorary Secretaries of General Synod

The first meeting of the fifty–second General Synod will take place via electronic communication technology from Thursday, 30th September, to Saturday, 2nd October 2021, with the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland presiding.

Bills

A Bill will be presented with a view to setting out the principles upon which clerical and lay members of General Synod represent dioceses, and to establish a regular review of the size, distribution and membership of the House of Representatives of the General Synod.

The Bill provides for a reduction in the membership of the House of Representatives from 648 members to 597 members (in a transitional period covering 2024–2026) and 534 members (in the 2027–2032 triennium) – the number of representatives from each diocese being equal to the number of cures in the diocese, with an additional number of places allocated on a sliding scale (i.e. from one for the diocese with the largest number of cures, to twelve for the diocese with the smallest number of cures).  The representation for dioceses which are amalgamated will be fixed until the subsequent review,the first of which would commence in 2030. 

The Commission on Ministry will present three Bills, regarding: gender balance amongst parochial nominators; conflicts of interests or loyalty for diocesan lay nominators; and, in relation to nominations to an incumbency, timely communication both to the nominee and to those who have not been nominated. The first of these Bills will seek to ensure that those who act as parochial nominators at a time of vacancy have within their ranks a measure of gender balance, and thus assist in representing the demographic of the parish or group of parishes. The second Bill would provide that no person shall act, or be capable of acting, as a diocesan nominator with respect to any parish of which such person shall be at the time a registered vestry member. The third Bill seeks to ensure that clergy who are nominated to a parish (or parishes) are informed promptly, and to allow an element of flexibility for the bishop giving that person time to reach a decision, whilst at the same time ensuring that the Board of Nomination acts in an efficient and a timely fashion.

Reports

The reports of the Representative Church Body, the Standing Committee and all other committees reporting to the General Synod will be presented for the year leading up to March 2021.

The RCB report notes that total funds available increased by €5 million to €208 million in 2020.  Expenditure from General Funds in 2020 decreased by €100,000 to €7.1 million.  Allocations have been set at €3.7 million for 2021.

The Standing Committee established a new Board for Ministry with Children and Families and (jointly with the RCB) a working group concerning a co–ordinated response by the Church to historic institutional abuse.

The reports of the Board of Education, Church of Ireland Youth Department, Covenant Council, Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue, Liturgical Advisory Committee, Council for Mission, Commission on Ministry, Marriage Council, and the Church of Ireland Historiographer, will also be presented.

Triennial elections will take place for the roles of Honorary Secretaries (lay and clerical) of General Synod, and for membership of the Standing Orders Committee, Petitions Committee, Elections Committee, Record Committee, Bills Committee, and the Legislation Committee.  A report of the election to the Standing Committee will be announced and the new members will attend their first meeting in November 2021.

Further information on this year’s General Synod will be made available at https://synod.ireland.anglican.org/2021

For further information please contact:

Church of Ireland Press Office 
Church of Ireland House 
61–67 Donegall Street 
Belfast, BT1 2QH 

Email: Press Office

Peter Cheney

+44 (0)7774 295 369

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