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January 2016 Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 26th January 2016 in Church House, Dublin. The meeting was chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh. Mr Sam Harper opened with a scripture reading and prayers.

Honorary Secretaries’ Report
In their report, the Honorary Secretaries highlighted the following deadlines for this year’s General Synod (which will take place 12th–14th May 2016):

• Last day for the receipt of Bills (for circulation): Thursday 31st March 2016
• Last day for the receipt of Motions (for circulation): Tuesday 12th April 2016
• Last day for the advance receipt of Requests for Information: Thursday 5th May 2016
• Last day for the receipt of Petitions: Thursday 5th May 2016
• Last day for late Bills: Thursday 5th May 2016

Forms are available at www.synod.ireland.anglican.org; all documents should be sent to the Honorary Secretaries at Church of Ireland House, Rathmines, Dublin 6 or emailed to honsecs@ireland.anglican.org

The deadline for the receipt of applications for display stands at General Synod is Friday 19th February 2016.

Dignity in Church Life Charter
The Secretary General, Mr Adrian Clements, presented responses to queries raised at the November meeting regarding the policies associated with the Dignity in Church Life Charter, along with amendments and a final version of the documents. Following discussion, the Standing Committee agreed to approve these policies covering the prevention of bullying and harassment; clergy grievance procedure and long–term illness, subject to final drafting amendments.

Members received a draft summary document on the Lobbying Act for information, in line with the requirement to provide lobbying returns on the online register (RoI). More detailed guidelines for relevant persons will be made available to them in coming weeks.

Royalties Fund
Standing Committee approved a grant of €10,000 from the Royalties Fund be made to the Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief for the production of the materials which it has produced for the use of the wider Church to enable the listening, dialogue and learning process on all issues concerning human sexuality in the context of Christian belief to continue.

New Standing Committee member
A vacancy having arisen, Mrs Judith Cairns (Connor Diocese) was elected as a co–opted member of the Standing Committee.

Dr Kenneth Milne was appointed by the Standing Committee to the Irish Inter–Church Committee for a period of one year.

The Standing Committee appointed Mrs Iris Suitor as the Provincial Link for Ireland on the International Anglican Women’s Network.

Upon the recommendation of the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue, the Standing Committee approved the following 20 people to attend the AGM of the Irish Council of Churches, which will take place in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin on 7th April 2016: Archbishop Richard Clarke; Archbishop Michael Jackson; Bishop Alan Abernethy; Bishop Michael Burrows; the Revd Canon Neil McEndoo; the Revd Asa Bjork Olafsdottir; Canon Daniel Nuzum; Canon Ian Ellis; the Revd Ken Rue; the Revd Abigail Sines; Canon Niall Sloane; Canon David Crooks; Dr Catherine Smith; Dr Michael Webb; Mr Sam Harper; Ms Georgina Copty; Ms Ruth Handy and Ms Cate Turner. Two ordinands from CITI will be recommended to attend by the Director of the Institute.

It was agreed to appoint the Revd Asa Bjork Olafsdottir and Ms Ruth Handy to attend the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends to be held in Dublin from 31st March to 3rd April 2016.

A Report was received from the Very Revd John Bond on his recent attendance at the 10th General Synod of the Church of England and the Archbishop of Armagh, The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, provided a verbal account of the Primates’ Gathering which had met at Canterbury from the 11th–16th of January. He noted that the Primates’ meeting has no juridical power over individual provinces but it can manage its own business.

Archbishop Clarke said that the gathering had been a useful one and although at times robust, the discussions were without rancour with all the participants truly trying to work together. Jean Vanier’s two talks to the Primates had been intensely moving, bringing a clear perspective to them about seeing the face of God in all people.

The theme of ‘walking together genuinely permeated proceedings and it was agreed by all the Primates. The question of how to establish a ‘safe distance’ in order for the walking together to continue without compromise took some time; however, contrary to what may be imagined, discussions regarding the Episcopal Church of the United States took less than half the shared meeting times. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s task group will now undertake its work over the next three years. Archbishop Clarke reported that he has been appointed to the Standing Committee of the Primates; in this capacity, he will attend the next meeting of the ACC.

Archbishop Clarke relayed that hearing directly about climate change had had a profound impact upon him – from the reality of islands in the south Pacific disappearing into the ocean through rising water levels to parts of east Africa becoming desert again though intentional deforestation. Similarly, hearing at first hand of areas where Christians are at risk of their lives – where young girls are kidnapped for slavery, and where security checks are necessary for those entering Christian churches – brought home the risks of being a disciple of Christ on a day–to–day basis in harrowing ways.

The Archbishop related that safeguarding and child protection is at the forefront of the worldwide Anglican Communion’s thinking, not least in relation to movements from Province to Province – the development of inter–provincial protocols by the ACC being essential. Finally, on evangelism, the Archbishop relayed that there was real and active engagement from all viewpoints about the undivided mission of the Church.

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