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March 2016 Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 8th March 2016 in Church House, Dublin. The meeting was chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh and the Archbishop of Dublin. Archdeacon George Davison opened with a scripture reading and prayers. Archbishop Richard Clarke welcomed Mrs Judith Cairns (recently elected co–opted member) to her first meeting of the Standing Committee.

General Synod 2016
The Revd Gillian Wharton informed members that An Cathaoirleach Barry Saul of Dun Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council has generously extended an invitation to the General Synod to a civic reception in the County Hall.

During the course of the meeting it was agreed that the General Synod will begin at 12 noon in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, following a service of Holy Communion at 10 am in St Paul’s Church, Glenageary – at which the Bishop of Tuam will be the preacher.

In their report, the Honorary Secretaries once again highlighted the following deadlines for this year’s General Synod (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

Priorities Fund
Mr Roy Totten, chairman of the Priorities Fund committee, outlined the Priorities Fund’s recommendations for 2016 grants from the 2015 Fund. In total the Fund had received 73 applications requesting grants amounting to €1,110,693 and the committee recommended 59 grants totalling €629,755 across the areas of ministry, retirement, education, community, areas of need, outreach initiatives and innovative ministry in a rural context. Mr Totten pointed out that eight new grants relate to church growth projects and that church growth will require the Church to consider long–term funding options in the future.

The Standing Committee received and adopted the report; it also resolved that, as recommended by the Priorities Fund, diocesan targets for contributions to the 2017 should remain at their current levels.

The Archbishop of Armagh thanked Mr Totten and Mrs Sylvia Simpson, Priorities Fund Organiser, and the committee for all their hard work.

Royalties Fund
The Standing Committee resolved to provide €2,000 support from the General Synod Royalties Fund to assist the publication for 2016 of Search: a Church of Ireland Journal.

On the recommendation of the Central Communications Board, the Standing Committee also resolved to approve: a 12–month loan of £1,500 to Mr Richard Ryan of the online Christian bookshop The Bookwell in order to reprint 150 copies of The Desire of our Soul by Bishop Harold Miller, to meet clergy and student needs; a subvention of €1,000 to Mr Duncan Scarlett to assist in the publication of a book on the Church of Ireland churches that are dedicated to St Thomas; and a subvention of €1,000 to Four Courts Press to assist in the publication of a book on Archbishop Richard Whately (Archbishop of Dublin, 1831–63) by Dr Ciara Boyle.

Church of Ireland Response to WCC Vision Document
Bishop John McDowell outlined how the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue had discussed and written a response to the document The Church: Towards a Common Vision, published by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches (Faith & Order Paper No. 214). The proposed response from the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue – which aims to be a measured, balanced and serious one – was presented to the Standing Committee, discussed and welcomed.

The Standing Committee received the response and requested the Honorary Secretaries to present a resolution to the General Synod for its adoption as that from the Church of Ireland to the WCC.

The Very Revd Arthur Barrett and Mr Gerard O’Callaghan MBE were nominated as Church of Ireland representatives to the United Society (Us.) Council.

The Standing Committee appointed Mr Arthur Canning to the membership of the Working Group on Disability.

The Standing Committee also appointed The Rt Revd Patrick Rooke as the Church of Ireland representative to attend the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, to be held in Edinburgh in June, and Mr David Ritchie, the incoming Secretary General, as the Church of Ireland representative to attend the July 2016 Group of Sessions of the Church of England.

Church and Society Commission
The Standing Committee agreed that the term of service of the membership of the Church and Society Commission be extended by one year, to enable the Honorary Secretaries to explore the future working arrangements of the Commission, and to accommodate the request of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Working Group to work with the Commission.

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