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Standing Committee & RB News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod and the Representative Body met separately in the former Chapel of the Church of Ireland College of Education, Rathmines, on Tuesday, 14th March 2023.  Archbishop John McDowell welcomed Standing Committee members to its meeting and Ms Hazel Corrigan opened with a reading from John chapter 7 and with prayer.

As part of the report of the Honorary Secretaries, Ms Corrigan noted that, in advance of General Synod, briefings for members of General Synod on proposals to amend the terminology of the bills process will take place on the evenings of Tuesday 25th April, Thursday 27th April, and Wednesday 3rd May.

Mr Roy Totten presented the recommendations of the Priorities Fund Committee, to support 33 projects in 2023 with a total of €455,802 in funding.  The number of applications received was 59.

The Standing Committee approved that a draft Bill to amend Chapter XVII of the Constitution of the Church of Ireland be brought to General Synod, in relation to compliance with charities legislation.

The Standing Committee approved that motions be brought to General Synod to remove the automatic re–nomination of co–opted members to the Standing Committee, and to allow for elections to the Standing Committee to take place earlier in the year and via electronic means.

The reports of the Standing Committee, and of committees and working groups reporting to the Standing Committee, were approved for inclusion in the Book of Reports for General Synod 2023.

The following appointments to committees were made:

  • Archdeacon Andrew Orr as a member of the Priorities Fund Committee, succeeding Bishop Adrian Wilkinson;
  • Ms Gemma Willis, Ms Dorothy Jones and Ms Kirsty McCartney to the Consultative Group on Disability;
  • The Revd Ruth Elmes, the Revd James Boyd, Ms Irene Knox, and Ms Joan Bruton as members of the Clergy Tenure Review Select Committee (subject to the establishment of the committee by the General Synod);
  • Mr Wilfred Baker, Ms Hazel Corrigan, Mr Roy Crowe, Ms Elizabeth Hassell, Ms Joyce Ryder, Mr Gavan Woods, and Canon Paul Arbuthnot to serve on the Board of the Secondary Education Committee;
  • Mr Rodney Syme as a member of the Pension Board, succeeding Mrs Cynthia Cherry; and
  • The Revd Abigail Sines to be a member of Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue.

The following persons were nominated to represent the Church of Ireland at the Annual General Meeting of the Irish Council of Churches, to take place in in Limerick later in March: Bishop Michael Burrows; Dean Niall Sloane; the Revd Dr Leonard Madden; Canon Dr Kenneth Milne; Dr Catherine Smith; Dr Nicole Gallagher; Canon Kevin O’Brien; Mr David Ritchie; the Revd Suzanne Cousins; Archdeacon John Godfrey; Dean Susan Green; Ms June Butler; Ms Ros Stevenson; Ms Cate Turner; Mr Joc Sanders; and Mr Glenn Moore.

The Church of Ireland’s four representatives on the ICC Executive Committee who will also be entitled to attend: Bishop Andrew Forster; Ms Georgina Copty; Canon Dr Daniel Nuzum; and Dr Bridget Nichols.

The following persons were also nominated to represent the Church of Ireland at forthcoming meetings:

  • Bishop Adrian Wilkinson to attend the 2023 General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church;
  • Canon Dr Maurice Elliott to attend the Evangelical Church in Germany’s Kirchentag in June 2023;
  • Archdeacon Andrew Orr to attend the European Christian Environmental Network Assembly in September 2023; and
  • The Revd David White to attend the Annual General Meeting of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland in October 2023.

The meeting closed with the Grace.

RB News

The Archbishop of Armagh opened the meeting with prayer and welcomed Dean Nigel Dunne to his first meeting of the Representative Body.

The Chairman of the Executive Committee, Mr Henry Algeo, presented the business dealt with from the two meetings of the Executive Committee since the last meeting of the Representative Body in December. This presentation included updates from the Allocations Committee, Investment Committee, Library and Archives Committee, Clergy Pensions Trustee, and Audit Committee. The Chairman noted that a focus for the committee was the strategic use of the properties under the trustees’ responsibility and the management of the RCB in an environment of unusually high inflation.

The Representative Body approved the levels of diocesan contribution to the following costs for 2024 as a percentage of the Minimum Approved Stipend in force at 1st January 2024 multiplied by the sum of the number of cures:

  • Financing of the episcopacy – 5.6% (reduced from 5.8%);
  • Safeguarding – 0.9% (unchanged); and
  • Clergy and Ministry Protection Fund – 0.5% (unchanged).

The reports of the Representative Body, including resolutions in relation to allocations and the financial statements for the year ended 31st December 2022, and of the Church of Ireland Clergy Pensions Trustee DAC were approved and adopted.

The Representative Body approved the reports and financial statements for the RB General Unit Trusts for the year ended 31st December 2022, and received and adopted the RCB Climate Change Policy for 2023.

The Chief Officer, Mr David Ritchie, presented the report on the activities of the RCB for 2022, with an emphasis on the work of the RCB to support the mission of parishes, the support provided in relation to compliance, and organisation of the RCB. This presentation was followed by a presentation of the financial statements by the Head of Finance, Mrs Kate Williams. Following these presentations, the Chairman of the Audit Committee, Mr Lyndon MacCann, thanked the staff for their support of the audit process.

The Representative Body approved the presenting of Bills to General Synod in 2023 to remove the existing ceiling on annual increases to pensions and child dependency allowances under the Clergy Pensions Fund; to make provision for changes to be made to the rate of parish, diocesan council and other contributions to the Church of Ireland Defined Contribution Pension Schemes; and to amend the Constitution in relation to charities regulation.

The Representative Body approved the terms of reference for Pioneer Ministry in the Church of Ireland, as have also been approved by the Executive Committee, the Standing Committee, and the House of Bishops.

The reports to General Synod of the Safeguarding Board, Working Group concerning a Co–ordinated Response by the Church on Historic Institutional Abuse, Curacies Working Group, and Third Level Chaplaincy Review Group were approved.

Mr Robert Neill was nominated to be appointed at General Synod as a member of the Pioneer Ministry Council.

Dean Nigel Crossey was elected as a member of the Executive Committee and as a member of the Property Committee.

The meeting closed in prayer with a Collect led by the Archbishop of Armagh.

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