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RB News

The Representative Body of the Church of Ireland met on Tuesday, 17th September 2019, in Church House, Dublin.

The Archbishop of Armagh opened the meeting in prayer and welcomed Mr David Lowe to his first meeting of the RB. The Archbishop also congratulated the Ven Andrew Forster, Archdeacon of Ardboe, on his election as Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, and thanked the Bishop of Down and Dromore, on his retirement, for the energy he had given the life of the Church in many times and places.

Ms Julie Beck and Sir Paul Girvan were co–opted as members of the Representative Body. The RB was also informed of the re–election of Mr Basil O’Malley (Down and Dromore) and Ms Cynthia Cherry (Connor).

The Executive Committee reported that new equipment and training, for the digitisation of records at the RCB Library, has been provided through a grant of €100,000 from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Recommendations to the Standing Committee regarding minimum approved stipends, pensionable stipends, and the Clergy Pensions Fund were approved.

The RB approved the appointment of the following chairpersons of committees, nominated by the Archbishop of Armagh:

Chair, Executive – Mr Henry Saville

Deputy Chair, Executive – Canon Graham Richards

Allocations – Canon Graham Richards

Investment – Mr Kevin Bowers

Property – Mr Keith Roberts

Stipends – Mr Michael Johnston

Library and Archives – Ms Ethne Harkness

Legal Advisory – Mr Lyndon MacCann

Mr Johnston succeeds Mr William Oliver, and Ms Harkness succeeds Dr Michael Webb.  The Deputy Chair of the Executive Committee is ex–officio also Chair of the Audit Committee.

Mr Michael Johnston, newly elected Chair of the Stipends Committee.
Mr Michael Johnston, newly elected Chair of the Stipends Committee.
Ms Ethne Harkness, newly elected Chair of the Library and Archives Committee.
Ms Ethne Harkness, newly elected Chair of the Library and Archives Committee.

An election was held for the membership of each of the above committees.  Outgoing members of all committees are automatically eligible for re–election, and nominations were received for three casual vacancies, on the Executive Committee and the Investment Committee.  The following persons were elected in respect of those vacancies:

– Mr Henry Algeo (Executive)

– Ms Ethne Harkness (Executive)

– Mr David Lowe (Investment)

The Ven David Pierpoint and Ms Hilary Prentice were elected as members of the Board of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.  The chairpersons of committees and all persons elected will hold office for a three–year term of office.

Mr Algeo and Ms Harkness were also appointed as Directors of the Church of Ireland Clergy Pensions Trustee (designated activity company), of which the Representative Church Body is the sole member.

The next meeting of the RB will take place on Wednesday, 11th December 2019.

The meeting closed with the Grace.

 

Standing Committee News

The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday, 17th September 2019, in Church House, Dublin.

Archdeacon George Davison opened the meeting in prayer and with a reading from Matthew Chapter 4.

The Archbishop of Armagh congratulated Archdeacon Andrew Forster on his election as Bishop of Derry and Raphoe and wished him God’s blessing as he prepared for his new role.  The Archbishop also wished the Bishop of Down and Dromore well as he entered into retirement and commended the energy and commitment with which he had approached his ministry as priest and bishop.  The Bishop of Down and Dromore thanked the Archbishop for his friendship and expressed his hope that the unity of the Church across the island of Ireland would be sustained and forged into the future.

Ms Ann Walton was welcomed to her first meeting of Standing Committee, as lay representative of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, having been appointed to fill the vacancy left following the resignation of the Revd Maebh O’Herlihy, on her ordination to serve in the Ordained Local Ministry.

Standing Committee approved the recommendations of the Representative Body regarding minimum approved stipends, pensionable stipends, and the Clergy Pensions Fund.  The effect of the resolutions will be as follows from 1 January 2020:

– minimum approved stipend will increase by 2.0% in Northern Ireland and by 1.0% in the Republic of Ireland;

– no stipend shall be less than £30,195 per annum in Northern Ireland or €38,234 per annum in the Republic in the case of an incumbent, a bishop’s curate or a diocesan curate over the age of 30 years;

– pensionable stipend shall be £25,498 per annum in Northern Ireland and €36,219 per annum in the Republic in relation to each of the above offices; and

– the rate of levy to be paid by each diocese towards the cost of securing the solvency of the Clergy Pensions Fund will be set at the unchanged percentage level of 13% of the minimum approved stipend.

Standing Committee endorsed a strategic plan for a whole Church of Ireland approach to Children’s and Family Ministry, proposed by Canon Ian Berry following discussions with the Children’s Ministry Network, the Sunday School Society for Ireland, the Honorary Secretaries and the Representative Church Body.

Canon Ian Berry.
Canon Ian Berry.

Standing Committee approved a statement calling for all efforts to be made to ensure the continuity of peace, stability and economic security on the island of Ireland as the UK prepares to withdraw from the European Union.

This year’s General Synod passed in motion requesting that Standing Committee explore ways in which the issue of persecuted Christians can be brought more fully to the attention of Synod in 2020.  The Inter–Faith Working Group has prepared a paper which it hopes will assist the Council for Mission in its continued work in this area.  The paper, which was considered by Standing Committee, refers to the review of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s support for persecuted Christians, research on persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East and North Africa, the rise of anti–Semitism, and the difficulties experienced by Christians, Muslims and other religious groups in China and the former Soviet states.  The working group is continuing a programme of dialogue with religious minorities in Ireland, including Jews and Muslims.

Information about events being co–ordinated by the central Church to mark the 150th anniversary of Disestablishment was circulated to members.

Ms Carolyn Good, newly appointed member of the Advisory Council to the Church of Ireland Centre for Education (DCU).
Ms Carolyn Good, newly appointed member of the Advisory Council to the Church of Ireland Centre for Education (DCU).

Ms Carolyn Good was appointed to the Advisory Council to the Church of Ireland Centre for Education at Dublin City University, to fill the role of principal of a small rural school as allocated by a resolution of the June meeting of Standing Committee.  Ms Good is the teaching principal of Carrigduff National School, Bunclody, Co. Wexford.

The meeting closed with the Grace.

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