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Standing Committee & RB News

Standing Committee & RB News

Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met in Holy Trinity Church, Rathmines, on Tuesday, 8th March 2022.  Members were welcomed by the Archbishop of Armagh to the first in–person meeting of the Standing Committee since March 2020.

Mr Ken Gibson opened the meeting with readings from Matthew chapter 11 and John chapter 3, and in prayer remembering all who labour and are heavy laden especially as a consequence of the Covid–19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, and seeking a desire for peace in that conflict.

The Bishop of Connor presented the annual report of the Priorities Fund which received 59 applications for 2022, requesting grants amounting to €995,562.  The Priorities Fund Committee recommended 42 grants, totalling €400,718, which were approved by the Standing Committee.  On behalf of the committee, the Bishop thanked the Church of Ireland Youth Department for its consultation on applications concerning youth work.

The Standing Committee approved a resolution that a grant of £7,000 be made to the Board of Church of Ireland Press Ltd to support continuity in publication of the Church of Ireland Gazette.

General Synod 2022

The report of the Standing Committee to General Synod 2022 was adopted with the reports of its associated committees and working groups appended.  This year’s meeting of General Synod will be taking place in Belfast on 4th–6th May.

The General Synod Service of Holy Communion will take place at 10.30am on Wednesday, 4th May 2022, in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, with General Synod starting at noon in Assembly Buildings.

The Standing Committee considered briefing papers on the provision of payments to clergy who are permanently incapacitated and on parental leave for stipendiary clergy, and agreed that the implementation of these policies is desirable and should be brought to General Synod.

The Standing Committee approved a draft Bill for presentation at General Synod which would amend the Constitution so that, should it be required or desired, meetings of the General Synod, diocesan synods, or Easter General Vestries, may be held by means of electronic communications technology.

The Standing Committee also approved the recommendations of the sub–group on possible use of videoconferencing for meetings concerning the timetabling of General Synod and agreed that, from 2023 onwards, the first and second days of the General Synod should customarily take place in person, with the third day’s business to be held online by means of electronic communications technology (over one or two evenings as required within two weeks of the second day of Synod).


The Standing Committee welcomed the Revd Gary McMurray as the new clerical member aged under 45 for the Diocese of Armagh.

The following members were appointed to serve as members of the Literature Committee for the current triennium: Dr Kenneth Milne (Chairman); Canon Peter McDowell; the Ven Richard Rountree; Canon Kenneth Rue; the Revd Bernard Treacy OP; Dr Raymond Refaussé (Honorary Secretary); Ms Cecelia West; Mr George Woodman; and Mrs Janet Maxwell (ex officio).

The following Church of Ireland representatives were nominated to the AGM of the Secondary Education Committee with re–nomination (if appropriate) to take place in March 2023: Mr Wilfred Baker; Ms Hazel Corrigan; Mr Roy Crowe; Ms Elizabeth Hassell; Canon Robert Jones; Canon Ken Rue; Ms Joyce Ryder; and Mr Gavan Woods.

The following persons were appointed to attend the Irish Council of Churches AGM, to take place in Belfast on 31st March 2022, on behalf of the Church of Ireland: the Archbishop of Dublin; Dr Elizabeth Leonard; Dr Kenneth Milne; Mr Glenn Moore; Ms Cate Turner; the Revd Suzanne Cousins; Mrs June Butler; Ms Maxine Judge; Canon Helene Steed; Mr Ken Gibson; the Ven Barry Forde; Dr Catherine Smith; the Revd Joyce Moore; the Revd Tracey McRoberts; the Very Revd Niall Sloane; and two ordinands, to be appointed by the Director of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute.  The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe and Canon Dr Daniel Nuzum are members of the Council and may attend as such.

Mrs Butler was also appointed to attend the annual Irish Inter–Church Meeting.

Mr Mike Johnston was appointed to the Church of Ireland Pensions Board.

Dr Christine O’Dowd–Smyth was appointed to the Commission on Christian Unity and Dialogue.

The meeting closed with the Grace after a moment of silent reflection on the needs of people in Ukraine and Russia affected by the current political and military situation in Ukraine, all who are seeking to respond to those needs, and Ukrainians living in Ireland.

RB News

The meeting of the Standing Committee was followed by a meeting of the Representative Body, also in Holy Trinity Rathmines, on the afternoon of Tuesday, 8th March.

The Archbishop of Armagh, on behalf of the Executive Committee, noted that the MindMatters baseline research report – in relation to mental health awareness – had been published.  His Grace expressed his thanks to members of the Investment Committee and the Finance Department for the significant amount of work which has been undertaken to move to the new model for the external management of investment funds.

The Representative Body approved the following levies for the year 2023, each of which is set as a percentage of the Minimum Approved Stipend (in force at 1st January 2023) multiplied by the sum of the number of cures in each diocese:

  • a reduction in contribution towards the cost of the financing of the episcopacy to 5.8% (from 6.0% for 2022);
  • an unchanged contribution for financing the work of the Safeguarding Board and Officers (at 0.9%); and
  • an unchanged contribution to the Clergy and Ministry Protection Fund (at 0.5%).

As recommended by the Investment Committee and the Executive Committee, the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Policy and the Policy on Climate Change for 2022 were received and adopted.

Mr David Ritchie outlined key points from the Representative Body’s report to General Synod 2022, including grants to parishes as an acknowledgement of the pressures caused by Covid–19, a review of the Governance Code for charities in the Republic, research for MindMatters, and a review of Safeguarding policy, and a continued commitment to consider the impact of climate change in its policies.  Thanks were expressed to committee members and members of staff for their service to the Church over the last year.

Mrs Kate Williams presented the RB’s annual financial report, covering 2021, which noted that the cost of operations totalled €2.9 million and Allocations totalled €3.5 million.  A budget surplus of €151,000 was achieved.

The RB had provided €3.3 million in support through grants and loans in 2020 and 2021 to help the wider Church manage pressures arising from the Covid–19 pandemic. 

On behalf of the RB, Mr Henry Saville thanked Mrs Williams, the RCB Finance Department, the auditors (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and the Audit Committee for their work over the course of the year; the report of the RB to General Synod was approved.

A presentation was made by members of the Pioneer Ministry Working Group on its plans to further develop pioneer ministry within the Church of Ireland alongside existing forms of ministry.

The RB considered briefing papers on proposed policies for the provision of payments to clergy who are permanently incapacitated and on parental leave for stipendiary clergy, which were also considered at the meeting of the Standing Committee on the day, and approved these policies for consideration by General Synod.

Canon Paul Thompson was elected as a member of the Stipends Committee and as the RB’s representative on the Safeguarding Board.

Mr Oswyn Paulin was appointed as an adviser to the Executive Committee in his capacity as Chair of the Library and Archives Committee.

The meeting closed with the Grace.

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