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January 2015 Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday the 27th January 2015 in Church House, Dublin. The meeting was chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh and by the Archbishop of Dublin. Mr Sam Harper led the meeting in a scripture reading and prayers before business commenced. Archbishop Clarke opened by welcoming The Rt Revd Kenneth Kearon, the new Bishop of Limerick & Killaloe, to his first meeting of Standing Committee following his consecration the previous Saturday (24th January) and also Mrs Wendy Walsh, a newly elected under–45 lay member from Armagh Diocese, and the Ven. Andrew Forster now Archdeacon of Ardboe.

Standing Committee Elections 2015
As 2015 is a triennial year, elections to the Standing Committee will take place in the lead up to the General Synod. Letters will be sent to newly elected members of General Synod inviting them to nominate individuals for election to the Standing Committee and nominations (accompanied by confirmation by the person nominated of their consent) must be received to honsecs@ireland.anglican.org or by post to Church of Ireland House, Dublin by 16 April 2015.

Deadlines for General Synod 2015
The following deadlines apply for the General Synod 2015:
Last day for the receipt of Bills (for circulation): Thursday 26 March 2015
Last day for the receipt of Motions (for circulation): Tuesday 7 April 2015
Last day for late Bills: Thursday 30 April 2015

The requisite documents should be sent to the Honorary Secretaries at Church of Ireland House, Dublin or by email to honsecs@ireland.anglican.org. Forms for use for the submission of motions are available at the synod website at www.synod.ireland.anglican.org. The Legislation Committee is available to assist members of General Synod with the drafting of Bills and if members wish to avail of its assistance, they should contact garrett.casey@rcbdub.org.

The deadline for receipt of applications for display stands at General Synod 2015 is Friday 20 February 2015.

CASC Submission on Abortion Consultation NI
The Church and Society Commission’s submission to the recent Department of Justice consultation on abortion in Northern Ireland relating to fatal foetal abnormality and pregnancy as a result of sexual crime was noted and discussed. The CASC submission is available to view on the Church of Ireland website at: http://ireland.anglican.org/information/231

Church Human Resources Policies Development
Mr Adrian Clements, Secretary General of the RCB, gave a presentation on the work carried out to date on proposals for presenting enabling legislation at General Synod to take forward policies on dignity in church life as part of the vision for ‘Long Term Church’ articulated last year at General Synod by the Archbishop of Armagh. A drafting process on policies relating to bullying and harassment; clergy grievance; clergy long–term illness and a (provisionally termed) ‘Dignity in Church Life Charter’ has to date involved widespread consultation with the archbishops and bishops, a project team, an expert reference group, the Commission on Ministry, the Honorary Secretaries of the General Synod, and at a number of diocesan consultation meetings held across the island over recent months. It is envisaged that if the legislation is passed policy documents will be put in place by the RB and Standing Committee for implementation during 2016. Support for the process and a principle of care was indicated.

Bills Procedure at General Synod
There was discussion around trying to improve participation and communication of the Synod legislative process. The Standing Committee noted a paper on a suggested new Bills procedure from the Honorary Secretaries and asked them to take the process further in consultation with the Legislation Committee, the Standing Orders Committee, the Assessor and other individuals and committees as appropriate.

Standing Committee Elections 2015
Due to the small number of licensed clergy under 45 in both the Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry and the Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe, it was agreed that (as provided for in S5(1) of the Constitution of the Standing Committee), in respect of the elections of members of Standing Committee from both these dioceses the age of 55 years will apply for the next triennium.

Scouting Ireland
The Rt Revd Paul Colton was appointed as the Church of Ireland representative to Scouting Ireland’s national Spiritual and Religious Advisory Panel.

The Council for Mission Report
A report from the Council for Mission on the breakout session at the 2014 General Synod was noted and discussed. The report presents ways to empower and encourage mission in the Church of Ireland. General comments from the Synod discussions stressed that the mission of the Church should be outward focused; people want more clarity on what mission is; efforts need to be more focused on the local community and there is an underlying desire for spiritual renewal.

Historical Centenaries Working Group
The Rt Revd John McDowell spoke to a report from the Historical Centenaries Working Group (which advises on the theological/pastoral and logistical aspects of the centenary of historic events on the island from 1912 to 1922) on its work over the past year marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and forthcoming planning for 2016. Notably, one long–term legacy project which will be of benefit to the Church, the public and to academic researchers is a project to digitize the 1912–22 editions of the Church of Ireland Gazette.

Royalties Fund
The following grants from the Royalties Fund were approved: €1000 to Canon David Crooks for his clerical succession list of the Diocese of Limerick to be published by the Ulster Historical Foundation; €1000 to St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin for Decani: the Deans of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin by Albert Fenton, which will consist of illustrated biographies of the deans; €1,800 to the Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief for editing and design of a ‘Guide’ which is being produced as an educational resource for the use of the Church of Ireland; and £3,500 to the Bishop of Down & Dromore for a liturgy book, and related leaders’ book, for Palm Sunday through to Easter Day.

Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief
Further to the resolution of the General Synod of 2013, the Standing Committee recommends to General Synod that the appointment of the Select Committee be extended for a further two years.

Standing Committee appointed the following to the vacancies on the Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the context of Christian Belief: the Revd Brian O’Rourke, Mrs Joan Bruton and Mr Damian Shorten.

Irish Churches Peace Project
The Bishop of Clogher and Mr Trevor Douglas were nominated to represent the Church of Ireland on a working group to prepare an application for a project under PEACE IV involving the Church of Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Irish Council of Churches.

Delegate to Society of Friends Yearly Meeting
The Very Revd Gregory Dunstan was appointed to attend the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends to be held in Dromantine from 9 to 12 April 2015.

For further information please contact:

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Paul Harron

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