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September 2017 Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 19th September 2017 in Church House, Dublin. The meeting was chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh. Ms Hazel Corrigan opened the meeting with a scripture reading and prayers.

Honorary Secretaries’ Report

Mr Ken Gibson provided a report from the Honorary Secretaries, which included news of the appointment of the Bishop Meath & Kildare as the representative of the House of Bishops on the Church of Ireland Marriage Council and that the Bishop of Connor will attend its meetings as an observer. Mr Gibson also drew attention to a submission on behalf of the Church of Ireland by the Ven. Andrew Orr, Chairperson of Eco Congregation Ireland, on tackling climate change for the consideration of the Citizens’ Assembly which will look at how the State can make Ireland a leader in this regard on 30th September/1st October and 4th/5th November. Archdeacon Orr’s submission refers to the Church of Ireland’s environmental charter and commitment by the General Synod to a gradual diminution of investments in fossil fuel companies.

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, Chairman of the RB Executive, relayed that at its meeting earlier in the day, the RCB recommended, on the basis of the Consumer Price Index to June 2017, that with effect from 1 January 2018, the Minimum Approved Stipends (MAS) be increased by 2.6% in Northern Ireland and will remain unchanged in the Republic of Ireland. Standing Committee resolved to follow this recommendation. The MAS in Northern Ireland will be £28,881 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 2018.

General Synod 2019: Londonderry

Canon Gillian Wharton outlined the Honorary Secretaries’ research into finding a suitable venue for the 2019 General Synod in the Derry/Londonderry area, following the resolution passed at the June meeting of Standing Committee to hold it there. Following this, the Standing Committee authorised the Honorary Secretaries to conclude the necessary contractual arrangements to hold the General Synod in the Millennium Forum in Londonderry from the 16th to the 18th May 2019.

Communication from the RB on a Retreat Centre

Mr David Ritchie, Chief Officer and Secretary General, spoke to the RB Executive Committee’s consideration of the General Synod motion on the feasibility of a Church of Ireland place of community prayer, retreat, hospitality and study. Having considered the feasibility study in light of the Church’s assets, the Executive Committee does not believe there to be a sustainable business case for the building of a new such centre. It was also mindful that the establishment of a community ought to precede the development of a physical facility. The Executive Committee agreed to suggest to the Commission on Ministry consideration of utilising existing resources including the Church of Ireland Theological Institute to achieve the development of the initiative.

Church of Ireland Social Media & Digital Communications Guidelines

The Central Communications Board brought forward a set of Church of Ireland Guidelines for the use of social media and digital communications which had been developed by the Church of Ireland Press Office (in consultation with the Scottish Episcopal Church). These guidelines seek to foster healthy and active online and social media engagement while helping to manage the risks and prevent misuse. In particular, the guidelines advise exercising courtesy and responsibility at all times.

Standing Committee approved the Guidelines which will now be publicised widely across Church of Ireland networks. The Guidelines are available at: www.ireland.anglican.org/policy

Appointments

  • The Revd Peter Rutherford was appointed to the Church and Society Commission (CASC) in place of the Very Revd Maria Jansson who was unable to take up membership; the Bishop of Limerick has been appointed as Chair of CASC.
  • The Very Revd Katharine Poulton was appointed as the Church of Ireland’s clerical representative to the Anglican Consultative Council.
  • It was agreed that the following be appointed to attend the Irish Inter–Church Meeting on the 23rd and 24th November at Dromantine: the Revd Helene Steed (day one) and Ms Gina Copty (day two); the Revd Jonathan Campbell–Smyth; the Revd Ruth Jackson–Noble; Mrs Jean Denner; a member of CIYD and an Ordinand at CITI.
  • The Revd Dr William Olhausen was appointed to attend the Israel–Palestine Consultation at St George’s House, Windsor 6–8th December.
  • The Revd Christine O’Dowd Smyth was appointed to represent the Church of Ireland at the Reuilly Meeting to be held in Dublin, 13–15th November (conversations with the French Reformed Churches).
  • The Revd Cathy Hallissey was appointed to the Commission on Christian Unity and Dialogue.
  • The Revd Canon Dr Ian Ellis was nominated to attend the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) Work programme Consultation in Missenden Abbey, Buckinghamshire, 28–29th November.

Reports

Reports were received from attendees at the Annual Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends and the Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland.

The meeting closed with the Grace.

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