General Synod 2022 begins today in Belfast
The General Synod of the Church of Ireland gets underway today (Wednesday May 4) in Assembly Buildings in Belfast and continues until Friday May 6. This is the first in–person meeting of the General Synod since its meeting in Derry/Londonderry in May 2019. Over the coming three days, elected clergy and lay members along with the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland will consider a range of Bills and Motions and receive the reports of a number of Church committees.
Before the formal business of the Synod begins, the Synod Eucharist takes place this morning in St Anne’s Cathedral on Donegall Street at 10.30am. General Synod will then begin at 12.00noon, in Assembly Buildings, followed by the Presidential Address by the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Revd John McDowell.
The provisional timetable is available at www.ireland.anglican.org/synod/2022/timetable and is subject to approval by the General Synod’s members. This will be the second meeting of the 52nd General Synod.
During the next three days, members of Synod will consider two Bills. The first proposes to provide for the General Synod, and the Church of Ireland’s diocesan synods and general vestry meetings (the annual general meetings for our parish churches), to have the flexibility to meet electronically, rather than, or as well as, in person, should it be desirable or necessary for them so to do.
The second aims to ensure that those who act as parochial nominators are part of the parish for which they are elected as parochial nominators.
Motions to be presented include one from the Church and Society Commission which calls on General Synod to recognise that helping people affected by the housing crisis must be considered an essential part of the Church’s mission and ministry.
Another motion will ask Synod to recognise that the conditions now exist to implement arrangements for the interchangeability of ministry between the Church of Ireland and the Moravian Church.
The Liturgical Advisory Committee has prepared liturgies for use during the Season of Creation between September 1 and October 4 and at other appropriate times during the year.
A private member’s motion asks members to request Standing Committee to develop a Church of Ireland policy on welcome and equality.
The Working Group on Pioneer Ministry will bring forward proposals for pioneer ministry with the aim of reaching people outside the Church in a way that complements existing ministry within the Church of Ireland.
The motions booklet is available at www.ireland.anglican.org/synod/2022/motions.
The reports of the Representative Church Body (RCB), Standing Committee, the Board of Education, the Church of Ireland Youth Department, the Covenant Council, the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue, the LAC, the Council for Mission, the Commission on Ministry and the Marriage Council will be presented over the three days. The full Book of Reports is available at www.ireland.anglican.org/synod/2022/book–of–reports.
The results of the New Beginnings photography competition will be announced at 1.15pm on Thursday in the Minor Hall. The competition was organised by the Central Communications Board and invited entries on the theme of ‘new beginnings’ to focus on signs of hope in spring as we continue to emerge from the Covid–19 pandemic.
The Council for Mission will host the General Synod Mission Breakfast from 8.00am on Thursday May 5 in the Penthouse Suite of the Europa Hotel, Great Victoria Street. A light breakfast will be provided and attendees will be joined by a guest panel focusing on mission and the environment featuring the Bishops’ Appeal, Eco Congregation Ireland, and several of the Church’s associated mission societies. Admission is free and all donations will go towards the work of Bishops’ Appeal and Eco Congregation Ireland.
The audio feed will be available on the General Synod website: www.ireland.anglican.org/synod/2022.