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November 2014 Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday the 18th of November 2014 in Church House, Dublin. The meeting was chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh and by the Archbishop of Dublin. Archdeacon George Davison led the meeting in a scripture reading and prayers before business commenced. Archbishop Clarke opened by welcoming the Revd Hazel Hicks to her first meeting, representing the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh.

The Honorary Secretaries provided a report including confirmation that the General Synod in 2016 is to be held in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire and on ongoing exploratory work on the development of processes and procedures to underpin the support of bishops for their clergy. Mr Adrian Clements, Secretary General of the RCB, outlined how there had been consultation with the Honorary Secretaries; the Commission on Ministry and – currently – with officers and senior clergy from dioceses in five consultations across the island. The areas being looked at are: long–term clergy illness; relationships (bullying and harassment) and clergy grievances.

Abortion Consultation NI
The Church and Society Commission is preparing a response to the current consultation on Abortion Law in Northern Ireland which opened in October and which will receive submissions up to the 17th of January 2015. The consultation is confined to two specific areas: cases of lethal fetal abnormality and cases of pregnancy resulting from sexual crime. Members of Standing Committee had an opportunity to discuss the issues and the Church and Society Commission will continue to progress work on its response to the consultation.

Archdeaconries in Armagh
The Standing Committee resolved to consent to the establishment of a second Archdeaconry in the Diocese of Armagh as agreed unanimously at the Armagh Diocesan Synod of the 21st of October 2014. Under Chapter II, Section 38 (a) of the Constitution of the Church of Ireland, ‘if the diocesan synod, with the consent of the Standing Committee of the General Synod, shall so determine, there may be two or more archdeacons in any diocese.’ The two archdeaconries will be: the Archdeaconry of Armagh comprising the parishes contained within the Rural Deaneries of Armagh and Creggan and Louth and the Archdeaconry of Ardboe comprising the parishes contained within the Rural Deaneries of Tyrone and Derry.

Complaints Committee
Mr Patrick Good and Mr Andrew Walker were both appointed to the Complaints Committee from the 1st of January 2015. Mr Good will serve as its Chairperson and Mr Walker as its Vice–Chairperson.

Theological Institute Governing Council
Under the Church of Ireland Theological Institute Governance Structures the Governing Council of the Institute shall consist of, amongst others, two members of Standing Committee, one clergy and one lay. Standing Committee nominated Mr Roy Totten and Archdeacon Robert Miller for appointment by the Archbishops and Bishops to serve on the Governing Council from the 1st of January 2015 for a period of three years.

Appointment of ICC & IICM Representatives
The Church of Ireland is entitled to appoint up to 20 people to attend the AGM of the Irish Council of Churches which will take place next in Sydenham, Belfast on the 26th of March 2015. The Standing Committee agreed to the appointment of the following to attend: Archbishop Michael Jackson; Bishop Harold Miller; Bishop John McDowell; Bishop Patrick Rooke; Canon Kenneth Kearon, Bishop–elect of Limerick & Killaloe; the Very Revd John Mann; Canon Daniel Nuzum; Canon David Crooks; Canon Ian Ellis; Canon Timothy Kinahan; the Revd Asa Bjork Olafsdottir; the Revd Niall Sloane; Dr Kenneth Milne; Mrs Roberta McKelvey; Mrs Ruth Handy; Mr Sam Harper; Mr Philip McKinley; Ms Uta Raab and two students from the Theological Institute. Canon Robert Jones and Ms Cate Turner as reserves.

The retirement of Bishop Trevor Williams left a vacancy on the ICC Executive. Standing Committee appointed Canon Kenneth Kearon, Bishop–elect of Limerick & Killaloe, to fill the position.

Ms Maxine Judge was appointed to fill a vacancy on the ICC European Affairs Committee.

The following were appointed to represent the Church of Ireland at the Irish Inter Church Meeting which is to be held on the 27th of November 2014: Archdeacon Andrew Orr; the Revd Patrick Burke; Archdeacon Leslie Stevenson and Mr Sam Harper.

Central Communications Board
The Revd Gillian Wharton was elected to the Central Communications Board to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Archdeacon Robin Bantry White.

Charities Registration
Mr Adrian Clements reported that registration of Northern Ireland parishes is proceeding steadily on a managed basis working with the Charities Commission in Northern Ireland. The Government of the Republic of Ireland is now beginning to commence parts of the Charities registration process – at present, the work is mainly about bodies that already have charitable status. A substantial amount of expertise has been developed in Northern Ireland through the Charity Registration Monitoring Working Group and it is anticipated that the same or similar issues are likely to arise when registration begins in the Republic. It was agreed that Mrs Jennifer Byrne, Mrs Sylvia Heggie (alternate) and Archdeacon Leslie Stevenson be appointed to the Charity Monitoring Working Group, which has been set up jointly by the Standing Committee and RCB to monitor and guide the Church through the processes of registering as charitable bodies under the new Charities legislation in both jurisdictions.

Royalties Fund – Church Hymnal Supplement
Standing Committee approved a grant of up to £43,000 and up to €5,000 from the Royalties fund for the following purposes relating to the Supplement to the Church Hymnal:
500 Sets of Recorded Church Music £24,000
Sing to the Word Revision £13,000
Companion to the Church Hymnal Supplement £4,000
Braille Edition £2,000
Mechanical Recording Licences €4,000
Sundries re Proofreading €1,000

Reports were received from the Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief and from the Church of Ireland Historiographer.

The Select Committee is working on the production of a Guide to the Debate on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief to assist parishes in their own processes of listening and dialogue around this issue.

Discussion of the Historiographer’s report included praise for the ‘Braemor Studies Series’ of books, published by Church of Ireland Publishing and comprising dissertations from the CITI MTh degree. The first three titles published last year have been very well received and this year the Revd Rob Clements’ Occupy Faith: the movement of movements and its implication for Christian practice has just been launched.

For further information please contact:

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