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The Standing Committee of the General Synod met in an online format on Tuesday, 16th June 2020. Archbishop John McDowell, in the chair for the first time, welcomed members and was welcomed by the Bishop of Cork to his new role as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. Archdeacon George Davison opened the meeting with a reading from Romans 1 and in prayer.

Archbishop John McDowell.
Archbishop John McDowell.

The Honorary Secretaries reported that the strategic plan for a whole Church of Ireland approach to Children’s and Family Ministry has been approved by the Allocations Committee. Canon Ian Berry was thanked for his work on behalf of the Standing Committee in discussions between the Children’s Ministry Network and Sunday School Society Ireland.

The Honorary Secretaries noted that Archdeacon Davison had tendered a letter of resignation as a Clerical Honorary Secretary of the General Synod, effective from Wednesday, 17th June 2020, following his election as Bishop of Connor. Archdeacon Davison had served in the role since 2011. Canon Gillian Wharton, on behalf of the other Honorary Secretaries, expressed gratitude for his wisdom and measured approach. The Archbishop of Armagh thanked Archdeacon Davison for giving himself with tremendous energy to the role in addition to his other commitments. An election for the new Clerical Honorary Secretary for the Province of Armagh will follow at the September meeting of Standing Committee.

Archdeacon George Davison, Bishop-designate of Connor and outgoing Clerical Honorary Secretary for the Province of Armagh.
Archdeacon George Davison, Bishop-designate of Connor and outgoing Clerical Honorary Secretary for the Province of Armagh.

Standing Committee endorsed an exploration of the relationship between parishes and Bishops’ Appeal, and an investigation of the possible future development of that relationship, ahead of its forthcoming 50th anniversary in 2022.

Standing Committee adopted the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue’s response to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission’s Walking Together on the Way report. The response was prepared by the Commission’s Anglican and Ecumenical Affairs Working Group.

The Archbishop of Armagh was appointed to the membership of the Advisory Council to the Church of Ireland Centre at Dublin City University, in the role of Church of Ireland school patron and as Chair of the Advisory Council.

The Dean of Belfast was appointed to attend the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches – due to take place in Germany in 2022 – as the Church of Ireland’s representative.

The Revd Canon Dr Maurice Elliott was appointed as observer on the Meissen Commission, to serve from 2021 to 2026. The Meissen Commission is a formal dialogue between the Church of England and the Evangelical Church in Germany, with the Celtic Anglican Churches sharing an observer place in a rotating arrangement. 

The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe was nominated as a trustee of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland on behalf of the Church of Ireland.

The meeting closed with the Grace. The next meeting of the Standing Committee is to take place on Tuesday, 15th September 2020.

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