General Synod 2019: a preview
by the Honorary Secretaries of the General Synod
Please note that the General Synod Service of Holy Communion will be held in St Columb’s Cathedral at 10.30am on Thursday, 16th May. The preacher will be Bishop Ferran Glenfield and a collection will be taken for Bishops’ Appeal.
Information on parking, public transport and accommodation is available here.
A reception for members of General Synod will be held in the Guildhall on Thursday evening following the close of business. The opening and closing prayers on each day will be led by the Synod Chaplain, the Revd Robert Boyd.
St Augustine’s Church, on the Walls of Derry, will provide a light lunch at 1pm on Thursday and Friday afternoons. The church will host the Council for Mission’s mission breakfast at 8am on Friday morning; Dr William Olhausen will speak on proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom. Silent prayer will also take place at St Augustine’s on Friday and Saturday mornings, also from 8am.
By the closing date for circulation, the Honorary Secretaries had received three Bills for consideration by the General Synod:
Bill No. 1 – to make provision for Holy Communion by Extension for persons unable to be present at the public celebration;
Bill No. 2 – to make provision for the Service of Prayer and Naming and the Funeral Service in cases of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death; and
Bill No. 3 – to transfer a portion of the Diocese of Achonry to the Diocese of Elphin, to transfer the United Dioceses of Tuam, Killala and Achonry from the Province of Armagh to the Province of Dublin, to unite under one bishop the two United Dioceses of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, and Limerick and Killaloe, in the event of a future vacancy, and for associated matters.
Among the motions will be a proposal from the Standing Committee in relation to synodical representation, and a joint proposal from the Standing Committee and the Representative Body to affirm the Church’s commitment to meeting its obligations under data protection legislation.
Following a review, the Board of Education (NI) has identified a new way forward for meeting the current and future needs of education and the Church. To this end, a motion to update the Board’s definition and remit in the Constitution will be brought before General Synod.
The Representative Church Body report will note that during 2018, the total funds available to the RCB decreased by 7.5% to €179.3 million (from €193.9 million). Total expenditure from the General Funds and other central funds decreased from €7.2 million to €7.0 million.
Significant matters dealt with by the Standing Committee included the establishment of a Working Group on Synodical Representation and a special all–day meeting of the Standing Committee to discuss its work, the establishment of a Consultative Group on Disability, and the approval of a conflict of interest policy for parishes and Church of Ireland bodies and committees.
The Board of Education (RI) has liaised with government in relation to a wide range of issues, including school admissions, leadership and management, and special education teaching supports.
The Bishops’ Appeal and the Council for Mission will present the findings of a scoping study, approved at last year’s General Synod, to identify the gaps and overlaps in the Church’s response to justice issues.
For further information, please visit the General Synod website.