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September 2016 Standing Committee News

Mr Henry Saville, the new Chair of the Executive Committee of the Representative Church Body.
Mr Henry Saville, the new Chair of the Executive Committee of the Representative Church Body.

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 20th September 2016 in Church House, Dublin. The meeting was held in the afternoon, and was preceded by a meeting of the Representative Body in the morning, which was chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh.

RCB changes
The RCB meeting was Mr Robert Neill’s last as Chair of the Executive Committee of the RCB as he is retiring, to be succeeded as Chair by Mr Henry Saville; Canon Graham Richards becomes Deputy Chair and Mr Neill has agreed to become an advisor to the Executive Committee. The Archbishop of Armagh expressed warm thanks to Mr Neill for all his work in the role and especially for his ability to convey a shared missional culture across the whole Church structure.

The meeting was also the last to be attended by Mr Sydney Gamble, who is retiring – the Archbishop of Armagh extended appreciation for his many contributions over the years and in turn Mr Gamble expressed his thanks to the Archbishop and to all staff, past and present. The Archbishop also paid tribute to Mr Robert Kay, who has retired as Chair of the Property Committee, noting the great level of detail which he had put into his chairmanship of it.

Archbishop Clarke welcomed Ms Helen Arnopp (Cork, Cloyne & Ross) as a new member, and also Mr David Ritchie, attending for the first time as Chief Officer and Secretary General.

The RCB agreed the following nominations: Canon Graham Richards to continue as Chair of the Allocations Committee and Mr Robert Neill to join that Committee; Mr Kevin Bowers as Chair of the Investment Committee and Mr William Galloway to join that Committee; Mr Keith Roberts (Acting Chair) to become Chair of the Property Committee and Mrs Pauline High to join that Committee; Mr William Oliver to continue as Chair of the Stipends Committee and Miss Hazel Corrigan to join that Committee; Dr Michael Webb to continue as Chair of the Library and Archives Committee; Mr Lyndon MacCann SC to continue as Chair of the Legal Advisory Committee; and Canon Graham Richards to become Chair of the Audit Committee.

Standing Committee
The meeting of the Standing Committee was chaired in two parts by the Archbishop of Armagh and by the Archbishop of Dublin. The Archbishop of Armagh extended condolences to Mr Sam Harper, Honorary Secretary, and his wider family on the very recent death of his mother, Mrs Alice Harper, and also remembered with thankfulness the late Mr Michael Davey, onetime Assessor to the General Synod and member of the Standing Committee. Archbishop Clarke recalled Mr Davey’s elegance of style and lightness of touch in all his contributions to the life of the Church and said that his presence and company would be greatly missed.

Archdeacon George Davison opened the meeting with a scripture reading and prayers, including prayers remembering the Harper and Davey families.

Archbishop Clarke welcomed Mr Henry Saville, the newly appointed Chair of the RCB Executive Committee, to the meeting.

Honorary Secretaries’ Report
Archdeacon Davison provided a report from the Honorary Secretaries, noting that the Dignity in Church Life policy folders have now been sent out to clergy and Select Vestries.

Due to his recent bereavement, Mr Sam Harper was not in attendance; however, Archdeacon Davison relayed that Mr Harper intends to retire as an Honorary Secretary after the November meeting, following 23 years of service.

Budgets
Mr Wilfred Baker reported on applications for funding which had been considered by the Budget Sub–Committee. It was resolved that the Sub–Committee’s recommendations be adopted and forwarded to the RCB Allocations Committee.

Stipends and Pensions
Mr Henry Saville relayed that at its meeting earlier in the day, the RCB recommended that with effect from 1 January 2017, the Minimum Approved Stipends (MAS) be increased by 1% in Northern Ireland and 1.7% in the Republic of Ireland. Standing Committee resolved to follow this recommendation. The MAS in Northern Ireland will be £28,149 and in the Republic of Ireland it will be €37,480.

As recommended by the RCB and the Pension Trustee, Standing Committee resolved to make no change to the Pensionable Stipend. The rates stay at £25,498 and €36,219.

As recommended by the RCB and the Pension Trustee, Standing Committee resolved to maintain the levy paid by each diocese towards the cost of securing the solvency of the Clergy Pensions Fund at the same rate as the previous year: 13% of the MAS in force at 1 January 2017.

Church and Society Commission
The Standing Committee approved a new structure and terms of reference for the Church and Society Commission (CASC). Expressions of interest for membership of the Commission will be sought in due course, with appointments to serve for a triennium from September 2017. CASC will incorporate the work of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Working Group and will also slightly narrow its focus on policy and consultation, with priorities as follows: preparing position papers on social policy; responding to government consultations and topical issues and encouraging good practice. It was noted that staff support is required in order for consistent output across two jurisdictions to be achieved across such an extensive remit.

Report from the Secretary General
Mr David Ritchie gave a verbal report on ‘Long Term Church’ facilitation projects including the development of website–based parish and governance resources and measures. Mr Ritchie relayed that, in consultation with the Archbishop of Armagh, it is now anticipated that future work on the Church of Ireland Constitution will be aimed at enhancing accessibility to the Constitution rather a larger–scale review of it. The Secretary General will provide a written report on ‘Long Term Church’ aims and objectives for the November meeting.

Census 2016
Following discussion, Standing Committee approved forms for the collection of information relating to the Church of Ireland population which will take place in November.

Appointments
Having been convenor for five years, Bishop John McDowell has decided to stand down from the role of Convenor of the Historical Centenaries Working Group; the Archbishop of Dublin thanked Bishop McDowell for undertaking the role since 2011 so effectively. Bishop Kenneth Kearon was appointed as Convenor of the Working Group.

It was agreed that Ms Janet Barcroft be appointed a member of the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue (CCUD). The following recommendations by the CCUD were also approved: Canon Michael Parker to attend a Porvoo Theological Conference in Riga, 19–22 October; subject to availability, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Bishop of Meath & Kildare, the Bishop of Tuam, the Revd Andrew Quill, the Revd Patrick Burke and Ms Gina Copty attend the Irish Inter–Church Meeting in Portarlington, 24–25 November; Canon Ian Poulton to attend a Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) conference ‘Called to be One’, in Edinburgh, 22–23 November (if unavailable, the Revd Abigail Sines); Dr Kenneth Milne to attend the Annual Meeting of Europe Secretaries (CEC) in Budapest, 12–14 October and Canon Daniel Nuzum to attend a CTBI meeting in London on 3 November 2016.

It was agreed that Mr Edward Wilson be appointed as a member of the Association of Church of Ireland Press Ltd.

It was agreed that Mrs Jacqueline Mullen be appointed to the Broadcasting Committee.

Reports
Reports were received from attendees at the General Synod of the Moravian Church in Great Britain and Ireland; the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends; the July Group Sessions of the Church of England; the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church; Anglican Consultative Council 2016; the Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Bishop Ferran Glenfield closed the meeting with prayer.

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