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January 2014 Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 28 January 2014 in Church House, Dublin. The meeting was opened with a scripture reading and prayers, led by Archdeacon Robin Bantry White, and was chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh and the Archbishop of Dublin.

The Archbishop of Armagh noted that this was the last meeting which Archdeacon Robin Bantry White would be attending as an Honorary Secretary as he will be retiring from full–time ministry at the beginning of March. Archbishop Clarke expressed his appreciation for Archdeacon White’s twenty years of service to the Standing Committee and six years’ service as an Honorary Secretary. The Archbishop said that ‘it would be impossible to find a more loyal or reliable friend’ and praised Archdeacon White for the ‘precision and discernment evident in all his ministry and service’ which was ‘valued by all’. The Archbishop concluded that the Archdeacon possessed ‘one of the most remarkable and well stocked minds in the Church of Ireland’. Mr Sam Harper echoed the Archbishop’s appreciation on behalf of the Honorary Secretaries, thanking Archdeacon White for his ‘exemplary level of commitment and sense of dedication’. The Archdeacon responded by saying that he had been ‘proud to serve the Church of Ireland as one of the earliest synodical Churches in the Anglican Communion’ and especially thanked the Synod staff with whom he had worked closely – Mrs Janet Maxwell, Mr Garrett Casey and, previously, Ms Jenny Polden.

The Archbishop of Armagh welcomed the Most Revd Pat Storey to her first Standing Committee meeting as Bishop of Meath and Kildare.

Honorary Secretaries’ Report
The Honorary Secretaries reported that the Very Revd John Mann has been appointed as Chairman of the Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief. They also conveyed that they have been advised that the Revd Michael Parker and the Rt Revd Alan Harper have been appointed to the Board of Christian Aid Ireland.

Guide Promise
The Honorary Secretaries reported that they, along with the Bishop of Down and Dromore, Mr Andrew Brannigan and Mrs Hilary McClay, met representatives of Girlguiding Ulster and Girlguiding UK on 29 November 2013 to express the concerns of the Standing Committee and the Church of Ireland about the alterations to the Guide promise. The discussions were lengthy and wide ranging. The Honorary Secretaries and Mrs Hilary McClay also met with representatives of the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches and are to liaise further with the Churches on the issue and meet jointly with the Girlguides at the next opportunity.

As reported in the Church of Ireland Gazette on 31 January, the Honorary Secretaries have sent an email to clergy in Northern Ireland updating them on the situation and encouraging clergy as part of their pastoral responsibility to engage in sensitive conversation with their Guide leaders about this matter so that any leaders with concerns can convey these to the leadership of Girlguiding.

Standing Committee Co–option
With the appointment of the Most Revd Pat Storey as Bishop of Meath and Kildare, a vacancy had arisen amongst the co–opted members of the Standing Committee. The Revd Alison Calvin, Rector of Killeshandra (Kilmore), was elected as a co–opted member during the meeting.

Bishop of Connor’s Report on WCC Assembly
The Bishop of Connor reported on his attendance at the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, South Korea from 29th October to 8th November 2013. He drew attention to Christians experiencing severe challenges to their witness in troubled regions of the world and expressed thankfulness for the blessings and opportunities open to Christians living in Ireland. He reported that he was moved by the powerful strength of Christians meeting and praying together despite their differences. The Archbishop of Armagh thanked Bishop Abernethy for representing the Church of Ireland at the Assembly.

Northern Ireland Community Relations Working Group
The Rt Revd John McDowell reported on the work of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Working Group which was established by the Standing Committee in September 2013 and tasked with ‘responding to consultations and developments on the issue of community relations in Northern Ireland and to act as a liaison and support to the Primate in this area.’ Bishop McDowell outlined how the Churches had come together in early January following the Haass talks process in order to issue a statement encouraging political leaders to take the process of engagement in contentious areas forward, and on efforts by the Church of Ireland bishops of the Northern Province to convey to NI political leaders that the Church has a distinctive role to play and a desire to build up contact with politicians and civic society.

Standing Committee approved the submission of a paper by the Working Group on ‘Together: Building a United Community’ to OFMDFM on behalf of the Church of Ireland, which will be made available in due course. The Standing Committee also appointed the Revd Adrian Dorrian, Chairman of the Church and Society Commission, to the Working Group.

Inter–Anglican Women’s Network
Standing Committee approved the attendance of the Revd Doris Clements at the planned regional meeting of the Inter–Anglican Women’s Network in London in Autumn 2014.

Bishops’ Appeal
Following the resignation of the Rt Revd Michael Burrows from the Board of Bishops’ Appeal it was resolved that the Rt Revd Ferran Glenfield, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, be elected to the Board. The Rt Revd Patrick Rooke expressed the Board’s thanks to Bishop Burrows for his service; Bishop Rooke also relayed that the amount raised by Bishops’ Appeal in response to the Typhoon Haiyan disaster was approx. €250,000.

Association of Church of Ireland Press Ltd
It was resolved that Mr Alan Graham be appointed to the Association of Church of Ireland Press Limited following the resignation of Mr Geoffrey Perrin from the Association.

Covenant Council: Interchangeability of Ministry
A communication from the Covenant Council relating to the forthcoming Bill on Interchangeability of Ministry at the General Synod was provided to Standing Committee in preparation for an explanatory memorandum to accompany the Bill. Further explanatory information from the Covenant Council prior to General Synod is in development and will be communicated generally shortly.

Delegates to Annual Meetings of Other Churches and the ICC
It was resolved that:
The Rt Revd John McDowell and the Revd Canon Ian Ellis represent the Church of Ireland at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Belfast in June; the Rt Revd Harold Miller and the Revd Asa Bjork Olafsdottir represent the Church of Ireland at the Conference of the Methodist Church in Dublin in June; and that Dr Kenneth Milne and Mr Sam Harper represent the Church of Ireland at the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in Dublin in April.

The following were appointed to represent the Church of Ireland at the ICC at its AGM in Arklow in April: The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson; the Most Revd Pat Storey; the Rt Revd Michael Burrows; the Rt Revd John McDowell; the Very Revd Dermot Dunne; the Revd Canon David Crooks; the Revd Canon Ian Ellis; the Revd Asa Bjork Olafsdottir; the Revd Canon Daniel Nuzum; the Revd Darren McCallig; the Revd David Mungavin; the Revd Nigel Sherwood; the Revd Niall Sloane; Dr Kenneth Milne; Mrs Roberta McKelvey; Ms Ruth Handy; Mr Sam Harper; Ms Uta Raab; two students from CITI; and the Rt Revd Patrick Rooke and Mr Philip McKinley (reserves).

For further information please contact:

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Paul Harron

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+353 (0)87 948 4412


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