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Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met in an online format on Tuesday, 24th January 2023.  Ken Gibson opened the meeting with a reading from Matthew 28.16–20 and in prayer, looking ahead to the new and innovative work of Pioneer Ministry in line with Great Commission and the service for its national launch in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, on Sunday, 5th February 2023.

The Archbishop of Armagh welcomed Archdeacon Andrew Orr (Cork, Cloyne and Ross) and Archdeacon Patrick Bamber (Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh) on their election to the Standing Committee.

The Standing Committee received a presentation on the potential use of electronic voting for elections to Standing Committee by General Synod members from each diocese, from Canon Malcolm Kingston and Mr Jonathan Hull, Communications Officer for the Diocese of Armagh.  Members indicated that they were content, in principle, to proceed with this method of voting for future elections.

The Standing Committee approved the terms of reference for the Pioneer Ministry Governing Council, and the terms of reference document for the Select Committee to review clergy tenure; the establishment of the Select Committee will be proposed by a resolution at General Synod 2023.

Members were informed that a resolution for a revision of the current bills procedure would be brought to General Synod 2023, with a series of online meetings for members of General Synod to be held in advance to inform them about the proposals.

On the recommendation of the Central Communications Board, the Standing Committee approved a grant of €4,500 to support the publication of the SEARCH journal for 2023–2024.

The following appointments were made:

  • Ms Hilda Connolly, Mr Alan Williamson, and Dean Stephen Farrell as representatives of the Standing Committee on the Pioneer Ministry Governing Council;
  • Bishop Michael Burrows, Canon Helene Steed, the Revd Dr Bob Cotter, and Mr Roy Totten as representatives of the Standing Committee on the reference group on the interchangeability of ministry with the Moravian Church;
  • the Revd David White as the Church of Ireland representative to attend the next yearly meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in April 2023; and
  • Mrs Hilary McClay as a trustee on the Board of Christian Aid, succeeding Ms Rita Day.

In accordance with the Standing Committee’s strategy for rotating invitations to appoint delegates to attend General Synod, the Honorary Secretaries were request to issue invitations to attend the General Synod in 2023: to the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, and the Roman Catholic Church, each to appoint two representatives; and to the Irish Council of Churches, the Moravian Church, the Church of England, the Non–Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland, the Lutheran Church, and the Antiochian Orthodox Church, each to appoint one representative.

The meeting closed with the Grace.

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