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The Representative Body of the Church of Ireland met in an online format on Wednesday, 13th December 2023. 

The Archbishop of Armagh, in the chair, opened the meeting in prayer and welcomed several new members. 

The following members have been re–elected: Mrs Jane Leighton (Armagh); Mrs Ethne McCord (Clogher); Dean Nigel Crossey (Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh); Mr Derek Neilson (Dublin and Glendalough); Dean Nigel Dunne (Cork, Cloyne and Ross); and Dean Niall Sloane (Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe). 

The new members are Archdeacon Dr Peter Thompson (Armagh); Mrs Yvonne McFarland (Armagh); Mr Samuel Hudson (Derry and Raphoe); Mr Timothy Smyth (Meath and Kildare); and Dean Stephen Farrell (Cashel, Ferns and Ossory); and Archdeacon Mark Harvey (Down and Dromore). 

Mr Lyndon Mac Cann SC wished Mr Henry Algeo, Chair of the Executive Committee, an ongoing and speedy recovery.  Mr Mac Cann presented the Report of the Executive Committee in Mr Algeo’s absence, as Deputy Chair, and congratulated Mrs Pauline High on her appointment as the Representative Church Body of Head of Property and Trusts.  He also thanked the staff of RCB for their work in ensuring full compliance with the Charities Regulatory Authority’s Governance Code. 

He noted the formation of two working groups – to bring forward legislative proposals, to formalise the roles of Pioneer Minister and Ordained Local Ministry in the Constitution, to General Synod 2024. 

The working group on proposals in respect of Pioneer Ministry comprises the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Archdeacon Barry Forde, and Mr Mac Cann.  The membership of related working group on Ordained Local Ministry is the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Canon Gillian Wharton, Mr Mac Cann, and Dean Niall Sloane; the appointment of Archdeacon Forde by the Executive Committee to the latter working group was approved by the Representative Body. 

The success of the MindMatters COI conference in October, addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, was noted with work beginning on the next phase of Mind Matters, to be funded through the Church Fabric and Development Fund.  The RCB has also opened a Flood Relief Scheme for parishes which have recently experienced damage from flooding, with a total of €50,000 being made available. 

The December meeting of the RB is an opportunity for a detailed presentation from the Allocations Committee chaired by Canon Graham Richards. Mr Robert Neill, on behalf of the committee, presented the expected financial outcome for 2023 and the budgeted allocations for 2024 which were then approved by the RB. 

The Investment Committee has approved increases of 0.5c and 0.5p in the rates for the distribution of funds from unit trusts in December 2023, which is expected to result in 3% increases in the returns on those investments. 

The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe presented updates on the working groups on the future of curacies and on the provision of and support for chaplaincies in third level education; both working groups are due to report back to the Executive Committee and to the Standing Committee of General Synod in early 2024. 

A presentation from Mr Randal Dunluce and Mr Tom Vernon, Partners in Sarasin and Partners LLP (UK), was made to the meeting, providing an update on the portfolio of General Funds managed by Sarasin and Partners. 

Archdeacon Barry Forde was appointed as a Director of the Church of Ireland Clergy Pensions Trustee Designated Activity Company. 

Dean Nigel Dunne was appointed as a member of the Central Communications Board, in addition to Archdeacon Dr Stephen McBride. 

The meeting concluded with the Grace. 

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