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June 2015 Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 16th June 2015 in Church House, Dublin. The meeting was chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh and Archdeacon George Davison led with a scripture reading and prayers before business commenced.

Archbishop Richard Clarke welcomed 20 new members to their first meeting of the Standing Committee along with newly co–opted members; he also welcomed Dr Catherine Smith as Synod Officer and thanked Mr Garrett Casey, the outgoing Synod Officer who was attending his last Standing Committee meeting, commending him for his patience and work over recent years.

Election of Co–opted Members
The following have been elected as co–opted members of Standing Committee: the Venerable Andrew Forster; the Revd Canon Maurice Elliott; the Revd Alison Calvin; the Very Revd Bryan Kerr; the Revd Gary McMurray; the Revd Stephen Neill and the Venerable Gary Hastings.

Honorary Secretaries’ Report
The Revd Gillian Wharton presented a report on the recent work of the Honorary Secretaries, drawing particular attention to consideration currently being given to the implications for the Church of Ireland of the recent lobbying acts passed in Ireland and the UK; while the UK regulations on lobbying appear to extend to Church–related activity in only a limited way, the Irish Act is more extensive, requiring registration and reporting by January next year. The RCB and Standing Committee will work jointly to develop advice for the Church and to bring forward proposals to their meetings in September.

It was resolved that PricewaterhouseCoopers be appointed as Auditors of the accounts of the RCB for the year 2015, on terms to be agreed by the RCB Executive Committee.

General Synod
There was discussion concerning the General Synod in Armagh which took place in May with feedback given on proceedings, the positive effect of the new timing of the General Synod service on the morning of the first day, and the content of devotions at and potential locations for future synods. Bishop Ken Good concluded the conversation by inviting members to express their thanks to the Honorary Secretaries for all they do in relation to organising General Synod each year.

Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief
A brief report was received (held over from the cancelled April Standing Committee meeting). It was noted that a Guide to the Conversation and a Study Guide are to be launched in Belfast and Dublin in January 2016 which will then enable facilitated conversations to take place across the Church of Ireland at local level.

A casual vacancy on the committee had arisen due to the retirement of Mr David Bird. It was agreed that Mr Leo Kilroy (Dublin & Glendalough) be elected to fill the vacancy.

General Synod Royalties Fund Grants
The following grants from the Royalties Fund were agreed: £11,250 to subvent the completion and publication of Thanks and Praise; €3,500 to subvent the publication of Braemor Series 5 & 6; €4,500 to subvent the publication of 6 further APCK leaflets and €2,500 to the Church of Ireland Historical Society to subvent the publication of The Church of Ireland and its Histories.

A number of appointments were made, including: the Revd Canon Patrick Comerford and Mr Gerrard O’Callaghan MBE to United Society Council (Us.) for the next three years; the Very Revd John Bond to attend the Inauguration Eucharist and Inaugural Session of the new General Synod of the Church of England in Westminster Abbey on 24th November 2015; and Bishop Trevor Williams to attend the AGM of Christian Aid in London on 13th October 2015.

Appointments were made from the Standing Committee to: the Finance & Arrangements Committee; the Legal Advisory Committee; the Budget Sub–Committee; the Bishops’ Appeal Advisory Committee; the Broadcasting Committee; the Literature Committee; the Central Communications Board; PACT; the Court of the General Synod; the Commission on Ministry; the Priorities Fund and the Central Board of CIYD.

Resignation of Mrs Ethne Harkness as Honorary Secretary
At the close of the meeting Archbishop Richard Clarke conveyed that Mrs Ethne Harkness had decided to step down as an Honorary Secretary of the General Synod after five years’ service. Archbishop Clarke expressed very many thanks for all Mrs Harkness’s work, with thanks echoed by Mr Sam Harper on behalf of the Honorary Secretaries. Mrs Harkness said that it had been a real joy working with the Honorary Secretaries and she had been glad to do it and valued the friendships she had made.

The normal procedures to elect a successor to the role will follow in due course.

For further information please contact:

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