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The Church of Ireland

The Church Of Ireland
General Synod 1998



1. That the General Synod of the Church of Ireland agrees that the following Declaration arising from the Fetter Lane Agreement between the Church of England, the Church of Ireland and the Moravian Church in Great Britain and Ireland be signed on behalf of the Church of Ireland:


We, the Church of England, the Church of Ireland and the Moravian Church in Great Britain and Ireland, in light of what we have re-discovered of our common history and heritage and on the basis of our common understanding of our calling to full, visible unity, our fundamental agreement in faith, our understanding of the ordained ministry of the Church, and our agreement on apostolicity and succession, make the following acknowledgements and commitments.

We acknowledge one another's churches as churches belonging to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and truly participating in the apostolic mission of the whole people of God;

We acknowledge that in our churches the Word of God is authentically preached and the sacraments of baptism and eucharist are duly administered;

We acknowledge that both our churches share in the common confession of the apostolic faith;

We acknowledge the extent of our common traditions of spirituality and liturgy, which have given us similar forms of worship, common texts, hymns, canticles and prayers;

We acknowledge one another's ordained ministries, ordered in a threefold patterns, as given by God and as instruments of his grace by which our churches are served and built up, and look forward to the time when our churches are united and our ministries are interchangeable;

We acknowledge in our churches an episcopal ministry through which both churches intend to continue the ministry of the universal Church and to maintain and signify the apostolicity and catholicity of the Church. this intention has been signified in the laying on of hands by those already so consecrated.

We acknowledge that personal and collegial oversight (episkope) is embodied and exercised in our churches in a variety of forms, episcopal and synodical, as a visible sign of the Church's unity and continuity in apostolic life, mission and ministry.


We commit ourselves to share a common life and mission. We will take all possible steps to visible unity in as many areas of life and witness as possible.

As the next steps towards that goal we agree:

To worship together and to pray for and with one another;

On the basis of our common baptism to welcome one another's baptized members to receive sacramental and other pastoral ministrations;

To encourage the invitation of authorized minsters of our churches to minister in the other church in accordance with existing regulations;

Taking into account other ecumenical partnerships and formal relations, to encourage the establishment of Local Ecumenical Partnerships wherever a Moravian and an Anglican congregation live in the same community;

To participate as observers by invitation in each other's forms of oversight, including meetings of bishops and synods;

To train candidates for ordained and lay ministries of our churches together where appropriate;

To share our resources appropriately in order to strengthen the mission of the Church;

To help our own members and members of other churches to appreciate and draw out the distinctive gifts which each of our traditions has to offer to the wider Church;

To share the insight of our Common Statement with Anglicans and Moravians in other parts of the world and to invite our international bodies to consider the implications of this Agreement for their consultative processes.






The Bishop of Cork (Chairman) Rev. W.G. Irwin (until June 1997)

Mrs. D. Burns Rev. Canon Dr. R.S.J.H McKelvey

Rev. Canon M.A.J. Burrows Mr. W. Kingston (from September 1997)

Rev. Dr. I.M. Ellis (until June 1997) Rev. A.P. Patterson (from June 1997)

Miss E. Ferrar Mr. A. Smallwoods

Rev. Canon R.D. Harman Rev. I.P. Poulton (Honorary Secretary)


We give thanks for God's blessing and guidance in the work of the committee during 1997 and would wish to express our thanks to the many thousands of church members who have supported the work of Bishops' Appeal in the past twelve months. The year has been marked by steady progress in each sphere of Bishops' Appeal activity. Giving, although still at a very low per capita level, rose by 6% from £272,000 to £290,000. Educational work included the production and distribution of a pack of liturgical materials. The pack was the work of our Education Adviser, Mrs. Bet Aalen, and Canon Michael Burrows. The pack is intended to root the issues of world development in the worshipping life of parishes and it was distributed to all incumbents. The campaigning aspect of Bishops' Appeal work included support for the Jubilee 2000 campaign, which seeks the application of biblical principles to the problem of debt in the developing world, and the endorsement of a leaflet, produced by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, encouraging shoppers to support supermarkets which ensure fair conditions for workers in the developing world.


Mrs. Aalen continued to be employed as Education Adviser by the Committee. Contracted to work 2½ days a week, Mrs. Aalen's commitment far exceeds the hours for which she is paid. Her work has taken her through the length and breadth of the country, including the organisation of diocesan conferences in the southern dioceses in early-1998. The Rev. Dr. I.M. Ellis and the Rev. W.G. Irwin stood down from the Committee at the end of 1994-97 triennium and we would wish to record our thanks to them for their years of service. The vacancies were filled by the Rev. A.P. Patterson, the diocesan representative in Down and Dromore, who was elected by Standing Committee in June 1997, and Mr. William Kingston, the diocesan representative from Cashel, who was co-opted in September 1997. The Committee's Treasurer, Mrs. Valerie Williams, continues to ensure good management of Bishops' Appeal funds.



Bishops' Appeal would find it difficult to work without good relationships with other agencies. The Committee is represented by Miss E. Ferrar at the meetings of Dóchás, the representatives of Irish non-governmental organisations. The strong link with Christian Aid is manifest in members of the Committee serving on Christian Aid committees at both cental and local level approximately one-half of Bishops' Appeal income being allocated to Christian Aid projects. Individual members of the Committee are involved in the work of a number of other agencies and the Education Adviser assisted in the production of the CMSI Project on Tamil Nadu.


Clergy and parish treasures are encouraged to remind generous supporters that Bishops' Appeal qualifies for tax refunds on covenanted contributions. In the Republic amounts between £200 and £750 paid to Bishops' Appeal enable the Appeal to recover income tax paid on those amounts from the Revenue Commissioners. In Northern Ireland the Gift Aid scheme allows the recovery of income tax on all contributions of £250 or more. This in addition to the normal income tax refunds on all covenants. Please contact Church of Ireland House, Church Avenue, Dublin 6, telephone Dublin 4978422 or the Church of Ireland Education Centre, St. Nicholas Hall, Cadogan Park, Belfast BT9 6HH, telephone Belfast 682946 for details.


The Committee submitted recommended allocations to the House of Bishops after four of the six meetings held during 1997. Reports on grants made by Bishops' Appeal regularly appear in the Church of Ireland Gazette as well as in the annual newsletter.

In March a grant of £5,000 was made to Mid-Africa Ministry for theological education in Matana diocese in Burundi. Feed the Minds received a grant of £2,000 towards the cot of text books for theological education in Khartoum, Sudan, and another of £1,500 for the production of Sunday School materials in Urdu for use in Pakistan. CMSI were allocated £5,000 for relief work with displaced people and £1,000 for seeds following drought and famine.

June payments totalled £97,248. Trócaire received two grants, £10,000 for famine relief work and £1,528 for community development work in Haiti. Christian Aid received six grants. Rural development work was supported by £10,000 for water projects in Somalia and £5,900 towards seeds and equipment in Sierra Leone. Education and training was assisted by £10,000 to South Africa, £4,000 to Brazil, and £10,000 to Eritrea. Health care in Peru's shanty towns was granted £6,000. Direct grants were made to three organisations. Diakonia in South Africa was sent £7,000 for employment training. The Diocese of Dhaka in Bangladesh was granted £10,000 for cyclone relief work. EAN in Nicaragua received £5,000 towards teachers' salaries. Three medical

projects received support. Crosslinks were sent £2,000 for work at Murgawanza in Tanzania. £8,000 was allocated to CMSI for Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda. The work of L'Arche in Bangalore, India was supported by £5,000.

September grants went to eight projects. Trócaire received a further £5,000 for famine relief in North Korea. Christian Aid received £5,000 for relief work in Montserrat. A livestock project at Namirembe, Uganda was supported by a grant of £5,000 to CMSI, while another livestock programme run by the Dr. Matthews' Memorial Fund in South India also received £5,000. USPG received grants of £5,000 for each of three projects: for work among street children in Northern India, for rural hospitals in Tanzania, and for a housing programme in Chile. The Franciscan Community of Divine Comparison was granted £6,000 for educational, social and health work in Zimbabwe.

In November thirteen projects were supported. Christian Aid received grants of £10,000 for a rural health programme in Bangladesh, £7,000 for a women's programme in Ghana, £12,500 for a youth programme in Tanzania, £13,000 for farming programmes in Uganda, and £10,000 for a women's action group in Zimbabwe. £5,000 was sent to USPG towards a goat project in Nagpur, India. SPCK was allocated £5,000 for the production of books in the Tiddim Chin language in Myanmar, and £6,000 towards educational publishing in Egypt. A donation of £287 was forwarded to the Red Cross for post-earthquake relief work in Iran. The Bishop of Southern Malawi was sent £3,500 to support the work at Nkpoe Blind School. The Self-Help Group for Cerebral Palsy in Nepal was granted £5,000. £500 was given to assist dentists visiting children in Romania. A joint Mid-Africa Ministry/CMSI application for support for relief work in Rwanda received a grant of £5,000.

The amounts allocated to projects frequently only represented a small proportion of what was needed. Bishops' Appeal support can only extend as far as financial resources permit. It remains a source of disappointment that the needs of the world's poorest people are not considered to be a major priority by many parishes. The cost of an individual parish building project often exceeds the entire Bishops' Appeal income for a year. Jesus says, "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also".







1993 1994 1995 1996 1997

£ £ £ £ £

Displaced People 26,200 212,715 70,750

Disaster Relief 78,000 31,450 24,000 15,000 35,287

Rural Development 67,204 54,377 56,292 31,410 54,900


Communications 136,900 99,100 109,437 143,737 83,028

Health & Medical 25,000 53,500 65,956 60,335 62,500

Totals 333,304 451,142 326,435 250,482 235,715



1993 1994 1995 1996 1997

£ £ £ £ £

Christian Aid 119,634 229,827 144,600 111,410 103,400

Direct 32,000 18,500 36,000 38,000 37,000

S.P.C.K. 23,300 22,533 10,000 11,000

C.M.S. 65,000 61,000 25,300 18,000 19,000

Mid African Ministry 35,000 9,300 10,000

Concern 10,459

U.S.P.G. 18,000 6,500 7,000 20,000 20,000


Leprosy Mission 12,100 5,000

Trocaire 23,370 40,715 18,915 16,528

S.A.M.S. 5,000 5,600 2,150

B.C.M.S. 5,000 5,000

Church Army 7,500

GOAL 5,000 4,337 8,685

ACC 10,000

Red Cross 10,000 5,000 5,000 287

Oxfam 9,427 6,000

L'Arche 10,000 10,000 4,804 5,000

Feed the Minds 17,000 10,000 4,000 5,000 3,500

Tear Fund 5,000 5,000 9,286

Others 10,000 15,000 15,333 10,778 5,000

Totals 333,304 451,142 326,435 250,482 235,715


Year 1993 Year 1994 Year 1995 Year 1996 Year 1997

Stg.£ IR£ Stg.£ IR£ Stg.£ IR£ Stg.£ IR£ Stg.£ IR£

ARMAGH 55,880 1,224 27,152 1,480 17,792 366 15,029 878 19,525 596

CLOGHER 9,453 813 14,323 1,203 12,979 776 12,336 627 2,546 30

CONNOR 43,535 67,222 12,789 28,978 35,342

DERRY & RAPHOE 23,690 6,279 26,409 10,594 25,953 8,257 20,379 7,686 18,981 7,419

DOWN & DROMORE 62,838 78,550 15,805 50,004 47,902

KILMORE 564 6,252 932 16,287 1,140 5,619 1,131 5,584 853 8,298

Kilmore 564 4,916 932 10,481 1,140 4,233 1,131 3,000 853 6,046

Elphin 1,336 5,806 1,386 2,584 2,252

CASHEL 18,782 43,807 19,666 19,103 22,113

Cashel 8,603 11,248 7,471 6,711 6,455

Ossory 8,429 18,198 7,088 8,070 9,789

Ferns 1,750 14,361 5,107 4,322 5,869

CORK 19,000 36,106 19,849 19,764 19,260

DUBLIN 51,204 87,816 56,510 61,431 64,330

LIMERICK 7,119 21,159 8,328 9,694 8,150

MEATH 11,318 14,986 11,205 7,467 7,587

Meath 7,819 9,111 7,401 4,374 3,811

Kildare 3,499 5,875 3,804 3,093 3,776

TUAM 2,635 5,979 2,385 3,046 2,747

OTHER 6,000 9,000 6,400 6,000

INDIVIDUALS 900 5,247 60 6,253 7,543 604 7,143 1,602 16,130

INTEREST 3,797 2,426 1,515 692 562 742 715 695 1,016 569

DJAC 28,600 19,190

TOTALS 200,657 138,299 216,163 283,962 87,020 166,836 29,176 143,118 127,767 163,229


FUND ACCOUNT Year ended 31 December

1997 1996



Contributions from dioceses 284,676 264,586

Contributions from individuals 18,279 7,754

Deposit Interest 1,760 1,431

Currency exchange gain/(loss) 687 702

Grants - Christian Aid 6,000 -

311,402 274,473


Grants 249,747 251,883

Brochures, envelopes and advertising 6,862 15,111

Administration 2,092 4,815

Education Expenses 3,676 2,817

Salaries & PRSI 12,309 12,175

274,686 286,801

(Deficit)/Surplus for year 36,716 (12,328)

Balance at 1 January 15,215 27,543

Balance at 31 December 51,931 15,215


Cash in bank 29,733 6,968

Cash on deposit 22,198 8,247

Balance at 31 December 51,931 15,215


The Standing Committee is responsible for preparing the Fund Account for the year ended 31 December 1997. We have examined the above and have compared it with the books and records of the Fund. We have not performed an Audit and accordingly do not express an audit opinion on the above statement. In our opinion the above statement is in accordance with the books and records of the Fund.


Chartered Accountants

10 March 1998



The Annual Report of this Board incorporates those of the Broadcasting and Literature Committees.

Central Communications Board Members

The Bishop of Meath and Kildare (Chairman)

Ven. R.G. Hoey

Mr. G. Bradley

Mr. A.D. Fleck

Mr. R.H. Sherwood

Rev. Canon K. Kearon

Dr. R. Refaussé

Rev. Canon Professor J. Bartlett

Rev. Dr. A. McCormack

Rev. A.F. Abernethy

Ven. G.C.S. Linney

Very Rev. N.N. Lynas

Mr. M. Larmour, Internet Co-ordinator (In attendance)

Mrs. E. Gibson Harries, Press Officer (Secretary)

Broadcasting Committee Members

Dr. K. Milne (Chairman)

Rev. C.N.R. Halliday

Miss Ruth Buchanan

Mr. A.D. Fleck

Mr. D. Meredith

Rev. Canon W.P. Colton

Rev. Dr. A.W. McCormack (Honorary Secretary)

Press Officer, Mrs. E. Gibson Harries

Literature Committee Members

The Bishop of Kilmore (Chairman)

The Bishop of Down and Dromore

Rev. Canon M.C. Kennedy

Rev. Canon J.A.B. Mayne

Rev. B. Treacy, OP.

Mr. R. Montgomery

Mr. S. O'Boyle

Press Officer, Mrs. E. Gibson Harries

Dr. R. Refaussé (Honorary Secretary)

The most far-reaching aspect of the work of the Central Communications Board in 1996/97 has been the expansion of Internet and E-mail throughout the Church.

There have been several initiatives that the Board has dealt with during the year including the video on faith and belief and the exchange scheme known as Common Ground.

Conscious of the need to keep pace with the needs of the media in the computer age, the Press Office is running courses on desk-top publishing for parish magazines and a workshop for Diocesan Information Officers in relation to local media demands.


Significant development of Internet Technology within the Church of Ireland has taken place over the past twelve months through the work of Internet Co-Ordinator (Mark Larmour), the Internet Working Group and the Internet Advisory Group. This development has taken place with the full support and in partnership with the Representative Church Body and diocesan structures. The Church of Ireland Website, a collection of over 170 pages of text, pictures and graphics covering the work of the Church, was launched on the Internet in October after a demanding and detailed design process. Seminars on E-mail (electronic mail) and Internet Technology have been given in three diocese to clergy and laity, supported by presentations at General Synod. All central church offices now have access to e-mail which, with training and support, will help to improve internal communication. Through general publicity in the secular and religious press, supported by liaison with the Church of England and the Anglican Communion Office, the Church of Ireland has developed a profile setting itself at the forefront of this new technology.

Ongoing development is essential in order to build on the foundations created over the past year. The development of this new technology on a day to day basis is being managed by the Internet Advisory Group and the Internet Co-ordinator who report to the Central Communications Board. The membership of the Internet Advisory Group includes the Chief Officer, Archdeacon Raymond Hoey, Canon Kenneth Kearon and representatives from the Internet Working Group.

Our ongoing strategy for development in 1998 includes:

• The deliver of training on Internet Technology and e-mail to all central staff in the Church of Ireland.

• The introduction of e-mail to each diocese including the provision of training for key staff.

• The ongoing management of an integrated strategy for the development of Internet Technology within the Church of Ireland in tandem with existing development plans for offices and structures.


All development of Internet Technology to date has been ongoing through the enthusiasm of volunteers supported by funding for expenses and administrative costs by the Representative Church Body. It is vital that the Church of Ireland is involved in this new technology to ensure our ability to communicate effectively on a local, national and global scale in the future.


This year a number of committee members took their leave: the Very Rev. Maurice Carey, the Rev. Dermod McCarthy, Mr. Michael Campion and the Rt. Rev. John Neill. The Rev. Chris Halliday has been welcomed to full membership, while Ms. Ruth Buchanan has joined us for the first time. Thanks and praise, anticipatory and actual, are surely not inappropriate at this point.

The committee has continued its work in several areas. The provision of broadcast training has continued to be a central concern. A detailed policy review has been carried out and the reconfiguration of training is soon to be effected. The reconfiguration will place a special emphasis on preparation for local broadcast opportunities, and the committee hopes to report further on this at the General Synod.

On the more theoretical front, a consultation on broadcasting was held at Finnstown House, Co. Lucan, addressing many issues of concern in the contemporary audiovisual landscape. Speakers included Alan Bremner (UTV), Adrian Moynes (RTE) and Dermot Horan (RTE). This consultation built upon the work of the Marino conference of some years ago and greatly informed committee members of the rapidly changing contexts of broadcast services. A discussion document on the digitalisation of broadcast services has been one result of the consultation. The committee hopes that this will be presented at the General Synod.

The committee appreciates the many opportunities provided by BBC, UTV, RTE and several local stations for parishes to broadcast Sunday services on radio and television. The committee also values the personal contacts which it enjoys with broadcasters both in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland. Through the course of the year two gatherings of media executives were held, one in Belfast to honour Mr. A.D. Fleck, past chairman of the committee, and one in Dublin, to honour Mr. Joe Barry, retiring Director General of RTE. Both receptions were well attended.

The year saw the acquisition of two Marantz mini disc recorders to facilitate the production of content for local broadcasting. One of these is kept in Northern Ireland and one in the Republic of Ireland. The committee also presented the Church of Ireland Theological College with a video camcorder and tripod, for use by students and staff in the course of pastoral and theological studies. The committee considers the broadcast education of ordinands to be a desirable objective.

The public profile of the committee continued to develop. The committee maintained involvement with 3R, a syndication service. Throughout the year a number of TV and radio programmes were analyzed and some commented upon. The Honorary Secretary attended the Churches Advisory Council on Local Broadcasting conference in England and a conference on emergent information technologies in DCU. The committee also responded to a BBC invitation to comment on the proposed digitalisation of broadcast services.


Following his election as Bishop of Meath and Kildare, Dr. Richard Clarke resigned from the Committee and from its secretaryship which position he had occupied for ten years. His insight, persuasiveness, patience, and, above all, his conviction that the work of the Committee was important for the Church of Ireland ensured that progress was made even in times when the environment was sterile and the constituency unresponsive. The Standing Committee appointed Dr. Raymond Refaussé as honorary secretary in his stead.

Grants from the General Synod Royalties Fund were recommended for Alan Acheson The History of the Church of Ireland 1691-1996; for reprints of the booklets on the Lectionary, the Service of the Word, and the collects and post-communion prayers; for a projected history of St. John's Church, Sandymount; and for the late G.O. Simms's Among the Cloud of Irish Witnesses.

The Honorary Secretary and Canon Brian Mayne were appointed to a sub-committee of the Central Communications Board which is to consider the revision of the Church of Ireland Directory.

The Committee continued to meet with the various publishing interests in the Church of Ireland to share information on forthcoming publishing projects.

Much of the Committee's time, however, was taken up with examining, together with an ad hoc committee established by the Primate, how publishing in the Church of Ireland might be better co-ordinated and more professionally administered. Arising out of these discussions the Committee recommended that the appointment of a Publications Officer was an essential step towards meeting these laudable objectives.





for year ended 28 February 1998


Roman Catholic Church

Mr. Seán de Fréine (Chairman)

Very Rev. Tom Stack PP

Sr. Marie Stuart RSM

Rev. Michael Melvin SVD

Rev. John Dardis SJ

Dr. Finola Kennedy

Church of Ireland

Very Rev. J.M.G. Carey

Dr. Kenneth Milne (Honorary Secretary)

Presbyterian Church in Ireland

Rev. Dr. William O'Neill (Vice Chairman)

Methodist Church in Ireland

Rev. Dr. John Parkin

Salvation Army

Major David Gauton


Síle de Valera, TD, Minister for Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht and the Islands, has said that she will be very happy to meet the Council. A document has been prepared which sets out our views on a number of matters relating to broadcasting in the state, and this has been forwarded to the Minister.



Issues concerning Masses and Services on RTÉ 1, including the broadcasting of religious services on medium wave only, have been under discussion with RTÉ for some time, and ICCTRA had hoped for further consultation on these matters.

We have received a number of complaints, for instance relating to reception problems in some parts of the country.

We would also be concerned at a lack of religious programmes on the FM waveband on Sunday mornings, and have sought a meeting with the Director of Radio, Ms. Helen Shaw, to discuss the Sunday morning programming and other issues.

We have also under discussion with RTÉ our wish to see some religious input to 2FM that would be appropriate to the character of that wavelength. We welcomed Ms Shaw to her position as Director of Radio and she has expressed the wish to meet us.


Following the restructuring of the national independent broadcaster, Radio Ireland, as `Today FM', it is our intention to renew our approach in the hope that consideration will be given by that station to including appropriate religious programming in its schedules. We are also making representations to TV3, which is due to commence transmission this autumn.

Local independent radio is now an important and influential part of Irish broadcasting. The churches are well represented at most stations, and we have under consideration the mounting of a conference or consultation later in the year for church personnel engaged in local broadcasting.


In response to a request made by us to the former Director-General of RTÉ that the churches should have an input to the planning of programmes to mark the Millennium, we received an assurance that this would be so. This promise has been confirmed by the present Director-General, Mr. Bob Collins.


This organisation broadcasts to many parts of Ireland, and, in response to a communication from us explaining our officially recognised role as representing the Irish churches, UCBL has agreed to a meeting.


We continue to be members of this United Kingdom body, and were represented at its June conference on religion in local broadcasting.




1997 1996



Contributions from dioceses 360,881 328,207

Contributions from individuals 650 500

Deposit interest 9,753 8,106

Dividend income 5,210 12,171

Realised gain on sale of investment 1,591 - Miscellaneous income - 2,200

378,085 351,184


Administration expenses

Salaries and P.R.S.I. 10,918 9,134

Organiser's and Committee expenses 999 2,207

Printing and stationery 1,349 1,218

Postage and photocopying 268 242

Miscellaneous 655 2,667

14,189 15,469

Grants and Loans

Ministry 134,191 129,817

Retirement benefits 25,076 23,686

Education 82,922 56,462

Community 45,673 56,367

Areas of need 74,626 67,129

362,488 333,461

Total Expenditure (376,677) (348,930)

Currency Exchange (loss)/gain on

conversions during the year 33,134 (10,247)

Surplus/(Deficit) for year 34,542 12,501


FUND ACCOUNT Year ended 31 December

1997 1996



Cash in bank 91 28

Cash on deposit 378,773 334,256

378,864 334,284


PAYE/PRSI (3,735) (3,429)

Central Communications Board Grant (13,000) -


Investments and deposits held by

the R.C.B. in trust, at cost 136,709 133,441

498,838 464,296


Balance at 1 January 464,296 451,796

Surplus for year 34,542 12,501

Balance at 31 December 498,838 464,296



The Standing Committee is responsible for preparing the Income and Expenditure Account and the Fund Account for the year ended 31 December 1997. We have examined the above and have compared them with the books and records of the Fund. We have not performed an Audit and accordingly do not express an audit opinion on the above statements. In our opinion the above statements are in accordance with the books and records of the Fund.




Chartered Accountants

10 March 1998




1.0 General Synod Motion

The General Synod of 1997 featured a major debate on the issue of Sectarianism and a motion was overwhelmingly adopted by the Synod

"that this synod affirms that the Church of Ireland is opposed to Sectarianism and requests the Standing Committee to initiate an examination of church life at all levels, to identify ways in which the church may be deemed to be accommodating to Sectarianism, and as a means of combating Sectarianism, to promote, at all levels of church life tolerance, dialogue, co-operation and mutual respect between the churches and in society, to identify and recommend specific actions towards that end and then to report progress in the matter to the meeting of the General Synod in 1998."

2.0 Membership

In response to this the Standing Committee, at a meeting on the 17 June 1997, set up a Sub Committee to implement the General Synod resolution. Membership of the Sub Committee is as follows: the Archbishop of Armagh, the Archbishop of Dublin, Mr. J. Campbell, Very Rev. D.R. Chillingworth, Rev. O.M.R. Donohoe, Mr. S. Foster, Ven. A.E.T. Harper, Mrs. E. Hilliard, Mrs. A. Kee (Church of Ireland Youth Officer), Rev. Canon W.A. Lewis, Ven. G.C.S. Linney, Ven. G.A. McCamley, Dr. K. Milne, Mr. S. Morrow, Rt. Rev. J.R.W. Neill, Mr. D.B. Thorpe, Prof. B.M. Walker, Very Rev. S.R. White, Rev. K.M. Young and on a consultant basis Mr. M.C. Davey, Mrs. E. Gibson-Harries (Press Officer) and Rt. Rev. S.G. Poyntz.

Ms. K. Turner was appointed to provide secretarial services to the Sub Committee.

3.0 Meetings

The Sub Committee on Sectarianism met in August in Dundalk, September in Dublin, October in Belfast, November in Belfast, December in Dublin, February in Dublin and March in Belfast.


4.0 Definition of Sectarianism

4.1 Working Definition of Sectarianism

A working definition was adopted derived from Dr. J. Leichty and Sr. Cecilia Clegg of the Moving Beyond Sectarianism Project, Irish School of Ecumenics. The definition reads as follows:


is a complex of attitudes, actions, beliefs and structures

: at personal, communal and institutional levels

: which typically involve a negative mixing of religion and politics

which arises as a distortion of natural, positive human needs for belonging, identity and the free expression of difference

and is expressed in destructive patterns of relating

: negatively re-enforcing the boundaries between communities

: overlooking others

: belittling or demonising others

: justifying or collaborating in the domination of others

: physically intimidating or attacking others."

4.2 Theological Status of Sectarianism

The following statement is commended to Synod:

4.2.1 There is in every theological venture a need to return, at least briefly, to the first principles of theology in order to ensure that whatever is thought and said thereafter is consonant with these principles. The principle of systematics is important here, namely that statements which are made in one context need to be, as far as is humanly possible, valid in every other theological context also.

4.2.2 Thus, if theology is to be defined briefly as "reasoned discourse about God", it is with God himself and our understanding of his nature that we must always begin. Theology has always professed and attempted to hold in balance two complementary and, at the same time, almost paradoxical visions of God: that he is at once knowable and at least partially intelligible to human reason (linked to his immanence), and that he is yet ultimately unknowable and beyond the reach of human intellect - that he is ineffable (linked to his transcendence).

4.2.3 There have existed, side by side therefore, the `negative' and `positive' ways in theology. Thus in one sense Martin Henry is right when he claims in On Not Understanding God (itself a significant title) that the only statement we can make about God is that "God is". At the same time, however, it is essential that we should be able to make even the most tentative of steps towards filling out our understanding of God’s nature, acknowledging always the provisionality and inadequacy of our human terms, concepts and indeed understanding itself, to do justice to the reality of God `in himself'. As Isaiah so perfectly expressed it ""For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways", declares the Lord."

4.2.4 Within this context of acknowledged provisionality, the Christian tradition bears witness to one overwhelming facet of God's nature as it appears to us: that "God is love" (cf. I John etc.). This love and its extent may be entirely beyond our comprehension, but we know enough of what love is and of its importance to us, to know that if God is, in Anselm's words, "That than which nothing greater can be conceived" then love itself, the overwhelming stature of which we instinctively and experientially acknowledge, must be identified as one of the primary attributes of God.

4.2.5 With this love go other attributes (which must be at least the equivalent of the most profound human experience) and which must be necessary concomitants of such a perfect love, namely: openness to all his children and freely offered forgiveness to all who will accept it. This then, hedged around with all the qualifications of our human capacity to understand anything at all of divinity, is something of the essential nature of the God with whom we have to do.

4.2.6 Thus theology acknowledges at least these two central tenets: that God - if he is anything - is love; and that even this statement is provisional in that we shall never know exactly what we mean by love until we experience its fullness for ourselves, which will by definition, be an experience not to be vouchsafed in this life where we "see through a glass darkly".

4.2.7 These two central tenets would appear to be radically at variance with any manifestation of Sectarianism. Where God is open, Sectarianism rejects; where God forgives, Sectarianism stores up revenge; where God would unite, Sectarianism divides. Sectarianism gains its identity precisely through its lack of openness: my rightness is diametrically opposed to, and defined by your wrongness; and therefore, indeed, my rightness is diminished if it can ever be shown that you may not be entirely wrong. This translates very often into an individual's identity being bound up with that of a community

church/party/nationality whose "rightness" is thus identified.

4.2.8 Furthermore, there is a theological understanding of how this process of polarisation can be created. Sectarianism depends upon either a refusal or an inability to recognise the provisionality of all of our human thinking and concepts, and therefore of all of the structures which flow from this thinking. A position or stance is reified, losing its provisionality in the process and becomes a stance of rightness, indeed even of "righteousness", which it is then one's duty to uphold in the face of those who have now, by definition, become "wrong".

4.2.9 Finally, this transformation may be given a further theological interpretation which is of immense potential significance for our understanding of sectarianism. If faith is, as we have argued, an always provisional seeking after the absolute, then Sectarianism would appear to represent the absolutising of the provisional in which a church

community/party or nationality is put in the place of God and which the real God, now dethroned, is made apparently to serve and reinforce and defend. Sectarianism may therefore be defined - harsh though it may seem - as a form of idolatry.

4.2.10 It is the nature of theology, to bring us face to face with our human limitations in the light of our paltry glimmerings of divinity. In this meeting of the human and the divine we may either in pride reject what we see or sacrifice our human preoccupations and, as Micah succinctly expressed it, fulfil God's own desire by "walking humbly with our God". The choice is ours: as God will not reject, neither will he coerce.

5.0 Sub Groups

Five Sub Groups were established:

Sub Group One dealing with the relationship between the Church of Ireland and the Loyal Orders and the Masonic Order together with the issue of flags and emblems.

Sub Group Two dealing with the education of people in parishes, the use of adult and youth networks for education on issues related to Sectarianism, denominational and integrated education and theological education on ecumenical issues in the Theological College.

Sub Group Three examining the Constitution, the Formularies and Articles in the light of our contemporary experience of Sectarianism.


Sub Group Four examining the history of our church to identify ways in which our history has contributed to bigotry and Sectarianism.

Sub Group Five examining the powers of bishops in relation to their ability to take actions in crisis situations for the good of the whole church and community.

6.0 Consultations

Sub Groups of the committee have met with representatives of the Orange Order; an expert on Brotherhoods in Ireland (Dr. A. Buckley, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum); an expert with specialist knowledge of flags and emblems (Dr. Jane Leonard, Ulster Museum); a panel of persons expert in the preparation of educational material in the field of sectarianism (Rev. D. Baker, The Mediation Network for Northern Ireland; Rev. B. Lennon SJ; Rev. E. Storey, Evangelical Contribution on Northern Ireland [ECONI]; Rev. T. Williams, Corrymeela Community).

Statements of the progress from each of the Sub Groups, together with recommendations, are annexed as appendices to this report.

7.0 Submissions

The Committee requested, through notices in the Church of Ireland Gazette, any `reflections, reminiscences, opinions or statements on any matters relating to `Sectarianism' as it may be perceived or experienced'. Twenty four submissions were received. Each submission will be treated with strict confidentiality. Should the Sub Committee judge that publication might be advantageous it will first seek permission of contributors. Further, where appropriate, additional verbal submissions may be received from those who submitted initial written representations.

8.0 Post Script

Such substantive fruits of work of the Sub Committee's work as it is appropriate to summarise are contained in Appendices annexed to this report.

This is an interim statement and the Sub Committee looks forward to bringing a major report with motions and resolutions to next year's General Synod.

The Sub Committee emphasises the importance of recognising that `Sectarianism' is not a matter confined merely to the Church in Northern Ireland, nor indeed to the Church of Ireland alone. It is to be found in all parts of Ireland and in other ecclesial bodies.


Report from Sub Group One

The Sub Group was asked `to deal with the relationship between the Church of Ireland and the Loyal Orders and the Masonic Order and the place of political and religious flags and emblems' (Guidelines, Sectarianism Sub Committee 1997). It was further asked to consider not only the negative aspects of these issues but also identify positive signs of hope and opportunities for the future. In discharging this brief it is essential to have a clear, working definition of `Sectarianism'. For this the Group drew heavily on the Liechty/Clegg definition 1997 which recognises the human need to belong to `groups' or `sects', but also acknowledges that affirmation of identity beyond a critical threshold can be described as `sectarian'.

In the course of research meetings were held with the following:

(1) Lord Molyneaux, Canon Ernest Long and Rev. Wm. Hoey of the Orange Order.

(2) Dr. Anthony Buckley of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.

(3) Dr. Jane Leonard of the Ulster Museum

A descriptive report on the `Loyal Orders' has been prepared by the Sub Group. This report has been scrutinised for accuracy and approved by the Education Committee of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. The Sub Group are now at the stage of critically evaluating this `report'.

Whereas it has been suggested to the Sub Committee that it would be appropriate to study the relationship between the church and the Masonic Order in the context of Sectarianism, within the terms of the definition of Sectarianism that the Sub Committee has adopted it does not seem that it would be profitable to pursue such an enquiry in this context. This opinion does not preclude any address to the issue of the relationship between the church and the Masonic Order in other contexts in the future.



Report from Sub Group Two

This Sub Group has been considering how people in parishes and dioceses throughout the Church of Ireland can come to a deeper understanding of Sectarianism and its impact on their lives.

The Sub Committee on Sectarianism affirms that the way forward to a society free from sectarian division comes through an awareness of our own sectarianism and an openness to the healing power of Jesus Christ.

A programme having two essential aspects is proposed.

The first is the assembly of materials for use in parishes in a wide range of groups and situations. Consultation has begun with representatives of the Corrymeela Community, Evangelical Contribution on Northern Ireland and The Mediation Network for Northern Ireland. By this means the Church is enabled to benefit from the expertise of those who have long experience of working in this area, and to become aware of similar work being undertaken by other churches in Ireland.

Secondly, it is very important to recognise the necessity to create a process - a programme of activity which ensures that the question of Sectarianism is constantly brought to the attention of the Church. It is envisaged that this may be accomplished through a number of initiatives: national and diocesan conferences, a Lent Programme and training programmes for clergy and lay leaders. The Sub Group is very aware are very aware of and encouraged by the development of diocesan programmes which are looking at the question of Sectarianism and encouraging bridgebuilding. It looks forward to working in partnership with the Diocese developing such programmes.

This is a challenging task. We seek from the leadership and people of our church wholehearted involvement and commitment. This will enable us all to move towards a society free of sectarian division.


Report from Sub Group Three

Statement on Historic Formularies

As a result of dialogue with other churches in recent years a number of statements have been issued which condition the way in which the Church of Ireland approaches relationships with other Christians, and also its understanding of the historic statements and formularies of this church.

The official Response of the Church of Ireland to the Final Report of Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC I) issued in 1986 states:

"Meanwhile, the Church of Ireland needs to recommit itself to the goal of visible unity in Faith, Order and eucharistic fellowship and to redouble its efforts to work with Roman Catholic and other Christian people for that unity which is grounded in truth, love and holiness.

It is important in our search for unity in truth that we continue ........ to encourage growth in personal and community relationships between members of the Church of Ireland and people of all Christian traditions in Ireland, including those of the Roman Catholic Church."

It is in the light of this and similar statements that the following statement is offered.

The Church of Ireland is part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons and the Declaration prefixed to the Statutes of the Church of Ireland (1870).

These historic formularies defined the faith as proclaimed by the Church of Ireland, and thus form an important part of the inheritance through which this Church has been formed in its faith and witness to this day. The formularies that have been passed on are part of a living tradition that today must face new challenges and grasp fresh opportunities.

Historic documents often stem from periods of deep separation among Christian Churches. Whilst, in spite of a real degree of convergence, distinct differences remain, negative statements towards other Christians should not be seen as representing the spirit of this Church today.

The Church of Ireland affirms all in its tradition that witnesses to the truth of the Gospel, whilst regretting that words written in another age and in a different context should be used in a manner hurtful to or antagonistic towards other Christians.

The Church of Ireland seeks the visible unity of the Church. In working towards that goal this Church commits itself to reaching out towards other Churches in a spirit of humility and love, that together all Christians may grow towards unity in life and mission to the glory of God.


Report from Sub Group Four

Elements or Issues in the History of the Church of Ireland

Giving Rise to Sectarianism

In the past, religion and politics in Ireland have been inextricably linked. Members of the Church of Ireland, though a minority of the population, but belonging to the Established church, had a privileged position, as compared with Roman Catholics and Presbyterians. Although the dominance of the state church was commonplace in contemporary Europe from the time of the Reformation, we must acknowledge the impact of that position on other Churches in Ireland.

The penal laws, tithes, the landlord system, and nineteenth century proselytising societies, were episodes in our past that fuelled sectarian feeling, though it is essential to recognise the different historical contexts in which they occurred.

In Northern Ireland the Church of Ireland has often been perceived as identified with the political parties supporting the union, and with the Loyal Orders. Such identification was understandable in an age of widespread connection between religion and politics throughout Ireland, and similar connections were common in Europe.

However, in present circumstances, with the demands of an ecumenical age and, especially in Northern Ireland, the ongoing efforts to find new relationships between the political parties, the existence of such links must be challenged. This is necessary if we are to prevent damaging consequences to our Christian faith, and to liberate political parties from a denominational strait-jacket.

At the end of the day, political parties will benefit from not being tied solely to particular religious traditions, and Christianity will benefit from being separated from party politics.

The historical dimensions of conflict on the island must be acknowledged. The influence of historical events and myths must be admitted. We must also recognise that it is not necessarily historical events alone that promote sectarian attitudes, but also the interpretation that is put upon them, and, most of all, the way that they are used for specifically political and sectarian purposes.

Advances in the teaching of Irish history have helped us to distinguish between myth and reality in our perceptions of the past.


Report from Sub Group Five

A substantial amount of time was spent considering the possibility of strengthening the powers of bishops to enable them to act in situations where it might appear that the holding of a particular church service might give rise to disorder or otherwise reflect ill upon the whole church. The possible wording of draft legislation to provide a new canon was considered in detail. Consideration was also given to the drafting of a motion to be brought to General Synod. The full Sub Committee finally concluded that neither of these approaches was appropriate. In the case of new legislation it was considered that enforcement would probably prove to be impossible. In the case of the motion which would have commended a process of consultation between the bishop and incumbent concerned, it was considered that such consultation would in any case take place and that a motion of Synod would add little to what is already good practice.

Authority in the Church of Ireland is vested in the bishops, clergy and laity meeting in synod - a dispersed authority. The authority exercised by bishops in the Church of Ireland and indeed throughout the Anglican Communion is first and foremost a moral and a teaching authority. The Sub Committee concluded that the extension of the regulatory authority of bishops would be a much less effective and welcome step than the encouragement of a more pro-active and public expression of the bishops' moral and teaching authority. The Sub Committee further believes that it is important for the whole church and the wider community to understand that limitations are placed upon the powers of bishops by church law and that those powers do not extend to overriding the existing lawful authority of an incumbent and/or parochial authority. However the Sub Committee also believes that the full weight of a bishop's moral and teaching authority as distinct from his legal powers should be acknowledged, respected and accepted throughout the church.



31 December

Notes 1997 1996



Representative Church Body -

General Synod Allocation 290,975 235,572

Deposit Interest 2 4,813 3,608

Sales of Publications 283 365

Royalties from Publishers 8,270 10,236

Grants/Contributions 1,154 1,097

305,495 250,878


Ecumenical and Anglican Organisations 3 100,938 90,852

Central Communications Board 4 67,506 56,967

Hymnal Revision Committee 2,422 455

Grants and Loans from Royalties Fund 5,000 1,909

Safeguarding Trust 21,542 -

197,408 150,183


Facilities provided by RCB 68,000 66,600

General Synod Expenses 5 13,269 15,705

Miscellaneous and Other Expenses 6 7,226 9,168

88,495 91,473

Surplus for year 19,592 9,222

Refund excess allocation to RCB (13,515) -

Revenue deficit carried forward to 1997 - 1,204

Payment received in advance 3,463 -

Balance 1 January 78,690 67,292

Currency translation adjustment 3,959 972

Balance 31 December 92,189 78,690


Cash 7 92,189 78,690

92,189 78,690



The Standing Committee is responsible for preparing the Receipts and Disbursements Account for the year ended 31 December 1997. We have examined the above and have compared it with the books and records of the Fund. We have not performed an Audit and accordingly do not express an audit opinion on the above statement. In our opinion the above statement is in accordance with the books and records of the Fund.


Chartered Accountants

10 March 1998

Notes to the Accounts

1. Foreign currency transactions have been translated to Irish Pounds at the rate of exchange ruling at 31 December 1997 (IR£1=£0.8664).

31 December

1997 1996


2. Deposit Interest

- Royalties Fund 4,663 3,413

- Hymnal Revision Committee Fund 146 121

- Conference Reserve Fund 4 74

4,813 3,608

3. Ecumenical and Anglican Organisations

- Anglican Consultative Council 27,948 22,971

- Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland 17,287 15,148

- Irish Council of Churches 29,548 25,890

- Irish Inter-Church Meeting 3,751 3,287

- Irish School of Ecumenics 13,000 13,000

- Conference of European Churches 3,000 2,329

- World Council of Churches 1,154 617

- World Council of Churches (1998 Assembly) - 300

- Delegates' expenses (travel/conferences) 5,250 7,310

100,938 90,852

4. Central Communications Board

- Press Office 59,928 52,240

- Broadcasting Committee 7,578 4,679

- Literature Committee - 48

67,506 56,967

5. General Synod Expenses

- Cost of Venue 7,335 6,094

- Printing 6,046 6,250

- Lunches and Facilities (112) 3,361

13,269 15,705

6. Miscellaneous and Other Expenses

- Minor Expenses of committees 2,373 1,753

- Publications & Printing 2,016 1,670

- Historiographer's expenses 300 300

- Honorary Secretaries' expenses 1,391 1,441

- Audit fees 544 532

- Porvoo Ratification 602 1,747

- Standing Committee Conference - 1,725

7,226 9,168

7. Cash on Short Term Deposit

- Royalties Fund 86,543 74,659

- Hymnal Revision 3,421 2,697

- Conference Reserve Fund 78 74

Cash in Bank

- Other Account Balances 2,147 1,260

92,189 78,690


31 December

1997 1996



Interest and Dividends 729 694

Ven. E. Colvin Bequest 18 18

Refund Episcopal Electors' Expenses 6,567 4,238

7,314 4,950


Registrar, Court of the General Synod 50 50

Episcopal Electors' Expenses 6,567 4,238

Standing Committee Conference - 698

6,617 4,986

(Deficit)/Surplus for year 697 (36)

Balance l January 10,680 10,714

Currency translation adjustment 6 2

Balance 31 December 11,383 10,680


Investments 8,166 8,160

Cash 3,217 2,520

Balance 31 December 11,383 10,680

Foreign currency balances and transactions have been translated to Irish Pounds at the rate of exchange ruling at 31 December 1997 (IR£1=£0.8664).


The Standing Committee is responsible for preparing the Fund Account for the year ended 31 December 1997. We have examined the above and have compared it with the books and records of the Fund. We have not performed an Audit and accordingly do not express an audit opinion on the above statement. In our opinion the above statement is in accordance with the books and records of the Fund.


Chartered Accountants

10 March 1998

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