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The Standing Committee of the General Synod met in an online format on Tuesday, 16th November 2021.  Canon Malcolm Kingston opened with a Bible reading, from Matthew chapter 16, and in prayer, remembering current challenges, including the Covid–19 pandemic, climate change and homelessness.

The Archbishop of Armagh welcomed members of the Standing Committee who were attending its meeting for the first time.  The following co–opted members have been elected to the Standing Committee: the Very Revd Nigel Dunne; the Revd Canon Dr Maurice Elliott; the Ven Ruth Elmes; the Very Revd Shane Forster; the Very Revd Kenneth Hall; the Ven David Huss; and the Revd David White.

The Standing Committee gave consent to the proposal for the appointment of an Archdeacon of Ardagh, as approved by the Diocesan Synod of Kilmore, Elphin, and Ardagh on 16th October 2021.

In 2020, the Standing Committee agreed to ‘roll forward’ the booking with Croke Park for General Synod from 2020 to 2022 when it became apparent that the 2020 General Synod could not be held in–person.  Current regulations and the Church of Ireland Constitution require that the 2022 General Synod will be held in–person, in Croke Park, on 5th–7th May 2022.  However, the Standing Committee is cognisant that the situation may change, and will respond accordingly.  The Standing Committee recorded its thanks to Mr Jonathan Hull, for his work with the AV and IT side of the General Synod of 2021, which enabled its smooth running over Zoom.

The Standing Committee also appointed a sub–group to explore the possibility of using videoconferencing technology for some of the work of the Standing Committee, and to give consideration to its use for part of the session of the General Synod.  The sub–group will report its findings to the Standing Committee no later than March 2022 and the following members were appointed: Ms Hilda Connolly; the Revd Nicola Halford; the Ven Robert Miller; Mr Alan Williamson; and the Assessor, Mr Lyndon MacCann SC.

Elections were held for a number of committees and roles in which Standing Committee is represented.  These include the Priorities Fund Committee, whose membership is as follows: Mrs Joan Bruton; Ms Hazel Corrigan; the Rt Revd George Davison; the Revd Peter Ferguson; Mr Glenn Moore; the Very Revd Lynda Peilow; Mr Roy Totten; and the Ven Adrian Wilkinson.

The following were elected to serve as members of the Bishops’ Appeal Advisory Committee until May 2022: the Revd John Ardis; the Rt Revd Dr Ferran Glenfield; the Revd Claire Henderson; Ms Ruth Hendy; Ms Claire Holmes; the Revd Jono Pierce; and Mrs Iris Suitor.

Bishop Andrew Forster noted that Dr Nicola Brady will be taking up her new role as General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland in the new year, having served as General Secretary of the Irish Council of Churches and the Irish Inter Church Meeting; the vacancy for the latter role will be advertised shortly.

The Rt Hon Sir Paul Girvan, an outgoing member and lay judge of the Court of the General Synod, has indicated his wish to step down from the role.  The Standing Committee recorded its thanks to Sir Paul for his service.

The meeting closed with the Grace.

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