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The Representative Body of the Church of Ireland met in an online format on Wednesday, 8th December 2021.  The Archbishop of Armagh opened the meeting in prayer and, on behalf of the RB, thanked Mr Henry Saville for his service as Chair of the Executive Committee since 2016.  Mr Saville thanked all members of the RB and members of staff for their enthusiasm and active and committed support to him in this role. The Archbishop welcomed Mr Henry Algeo to his first RB meeting as the incoming Chair of the Executive Committee, and welcomed re–elected and new members whose election to the Representative Body has been reported by dioceses. 

The Representative Body approved the provision of a one–off grant to parishes, to be paid to each diocese on the basis of the number of cures, for onward payment to parishes.  The grant will be the same amount for each cure.  The Archbishop of Armagh remarked that the grant would be made in recognition of the fact that all parishes have gone through a difficult time over the course of the pandemic, and this was as much a pastoral as a financial expression of support.

Mr Mike Johnston provided an update on parental leave policies for clergy, currently being considered by the Stipends Committee in consultation with the House of Bishops and Diocesan Secretaries.

Mr Algeo noted that new regulation required that the beneficial ownership of charitable trusts be recorded with the Revenue Commissioners. The implication for Church of Ireland trusts is being reviewed and guidance will be published on the Parish Resources section of the website in due course.

The Representative Body received and adopted the recommendations of the Allocations Committee for Allocations expenditure in 2022, presented by Canon Graham Richards.  The total budget for Allocations in 2022 is €3,397,588 – compared to €3,566,865 for 2021.  Canon Richards expressed gratitude to the Irish Government for its generous support towards the work of the Board of Education (Republic of Ireland), the Church of Ireland Youth Department, and the RCB Library. Following a request from Bishop Michael Burrows, in his capacity as Chair of the Anglican Centre in Rome, the Allocations Committee recommended support of €20,000 toward reducing the centre’s current financial deficit and a further €10,000 annual commitment for five years from the Auxiliary Fund.

The Representative Body elected the following persons to fill casual vacancies in the memberships of committees: Mr Henry Saville (Executive Committee and Audit Committee); Mr Leslie Ruttle (Investment Committee); Mrs Cynthia Cherry (Stipends Committee); and the Very Revd Niall Sloane (Library and Archives Committee). The Revd Nicola Halford was nominated as a member of the Commission on Ministry’s sub–group on women in ministry.

In conclusion, the Archbishop of Armagh shared his best wishes for Christmas and the new year with members, and the meeting closed with the Grace.

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