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The Representative Body of the Church of Ireland met in Church of Ireland House, Dublin, on Tuesday, 12th March 2024.  The meeting opened with the Lord’s Prayer and with words of thanks and commendation from the Primate on behalf of members to Mr Henry Saville and Mr Keith Roberts who were standing down as longstanding members.

The Executive Committee report was presented by Mr Lyndon MacCann SC (as acting Chair) and included confirmation that the Clergy Pensions Fund was now solvent after its funding proposal to ensure its solvency, through contributions from dioceses and the central church, came to an end on 31 December 2023.  The Executive Committee commended Ms Kate Williams and Ms Pauline Dunlop, who will this year be departing their roles as Head of Finance and Investment Administration Manager on the Representative Church Body staff, after many years of service.

The following levels of diocesan contribution were set for 2025, as percentage rates of the Minimum Approved Stipend in force at 1st January 2025 multiplied by the sum of the number of cures, including vacant cures, in each diocese at 30th June 2024:

·         Financing of the Episcopacy – unchanged at 5.6%;

·         Safeguarding – unchanged at 0.9%; and

·         Clergy and Ministry Protection Fund – unchanged at 0.5%.

PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed to audit the accounts of the Representative Body for the year ending 31st December 2024.

The Representative Body agreed that annual personal grants for Church of Ireland Theological Institute students in full–time training be increased to 35% of Minimum Approved Stipend (MAS) for married students and 25% of MAS for single students.

Funding for the Pioneer Ministry initiative was increased to cover five projects a year over a ten–year period (previously three projects a year over a fifteen–year period), at a total additional cost of €100,000.

The Representative Body approved revised terms of reference for the Investment Committee to include a new advisory role, overseeing and supporting any advice on investment strategy in relation to the Clergy Pension Fund.

Annual report presentations

Mr David Ritchie presented an outline of the Representative Body’s main achievements from its report to the General Synod, including a 9.8% Total Return rate amid a year of global conflict which also saw reduced inflation and interest rates.  Strategic priorities included the future of curacies and chaplaincy in third level education, the development of Pioneer Ministry and the Mind Matters COI programme.

Ms Kate Williams reported on the Representative Body’s financial performance, noting that funds largely recovered in 2023 from the volatility experienced in 2022.  The first Pioneer Ministry allocation (of €200,000) had been made and €1.5 million recovered for parishes in Northern Ireland through Gift Aid.  The surplus for 2023 will be €560,000.

General Synod 2024

Looking ahead to this year’s meeting of the General Synod, the Representative Body submitted a draft motion in relation to the transfer of the provision for clergy to make additional voluntary pension contributions from the Clergy Pensions Fund to the Clergy Defined Contribution Schemes; and a draft Bill to amend Chapter XIV of the Constitution (relating to the Church of Ireland Clergy Pensions Fund).

The Representative Body agreed to submit legislation to the General Synod – with details of such legislation to be approved by the Executive Committee – to effect the transfers of the Clergy Defined Contribution Pension Scheme (in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) to the Mercer Master Trust in each respective jurisdiction.

The submission of a further Bill to make provision for the regulation, governance and operation of Pioneer Ministry, by amending Chapter V of the Constitution was also agreed; Chapter V relates to the cure of souls in parishes having no parish church, but in which there are proprietary or other non–parochial churches.

The reports of the Representative Body and the Church of Ireland Clergy Pensions Trustee DAC were approved and adopted.


The Representative Body noted the intended appointment of Mr Richard Temperley as an advisor to the Investment Committee, and approved the appointments of:

  • Mrs Diane Ruddock – to the Property Committee;
  • Dean Stephen Farrell – to the Stipends Committee.
  • Dean Nigel Dunne – as a member of the Board of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin;
  • Mr Alan Hood – as a Director of the Church of Ireland Clergy Pensions Trustee DAC; and
  • Bishop George Davison, Archdeacon Barry Forde, and Mr Michael Johnston – as trustees of the Church of Ireland and Methodist Chaplaincy, Belfast.

The meeting closed with the Grace.

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