THE CHURCH OF IRELAND
THE REPRESENTATIVE CHURCH BODY REPORT
THE REPRESENTATIVE BODY
CHURCH OF IRELAND
APPENDIX A - Accessions of Archives and Manuscripts to the Representative Church Body Library, 1998
APPENDIX B - Extract from the audited accounts of The Church of Ireland Theological College
APPENDIX C - Total Income applied by the Representative Church Body in 1998; Donations and Bequests received by the Representative Church Body in 1998 for Parochial and Diocesan Endowment.
THE REPRESENTATIVE BODY OF THE CHURCH OF IRELAND
The Representative Body is composed of the following 60 members and the attendance of each at the 4 meetings of the Representative Body held during the year 1998 is denoted by the figure placed before each name:
A: ARCHBISHOPS and BISHOPS: ex officio MEMBERS (12)
* Retired 31 December 1998
B: ELECTED MEMBERS (36)[Every member elected, otherwise than to a casual vacancy, must retire from office on the First Day of the Third Ordinary Session of the Diocesan Synod which shall be held after his election, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, Chapter X, Section 3.]
C: CO-OPTED MEMBERS (12)
The following are the names of those who retire in May 1999:
In accordance with the Charter of Incorporation (1870) the Representative Body is composed of Ex-officio, Elected and Co-opted members. The Charter provided that the Ex-officio members shall be the Archbishops and Bishops, the Elected members shall consist of one clerical and two lay representatives for each diocese or union of dioceses presided over by one Bishop and that the Co-opted members shall consist of persons equal in number to the number of such dioceses for the time being. (See also Chapter X of the Constitution).
COMMITTEES OF THE REPRESENTATIVE BODY
Membership details, number of meetings held between 1 January – 31 December 1998 and record of attendances are given hereunder.
JRB Hewat (7)
The Archbishop of Armagh (6)
The Archbishop of Dublin (4)
The Bishop of Derry (5)
Canon JLB Deane (5)
Professor TD Spearman (4)
The O’Donovan (6)
JR McConnell (6)
Ven CT Pringle (6)
Very Rev DR Chillingworth (6)
Rev WBA Neill (5)
Mrs CH Thomson (5)
JF Rankin (6)
GC Richards (5)
RW Benson (5)
Canon JLB Deane (3)
The Archbishop of Armagh (3)
GC Richards (2)
WL Dermott (3)
Very Rev DR Chillingworth (3)
Professor TD Spearman (7)
HT Morrison (7)
JH Stanley (6)
GW Stirling (5)
The O’Morchoe (6)
TB McCormick (4)
WL Dermott (7)
JR McConnell (6)
RH Kay (5)
Rev WBA Neill (4)
DCD O’Hara (4)
P Harrison (2)
Ven REB White (4)
The O’Morchoe (6)
Ven WD Johnston (5)
* Ven DS McLean (1)
The O’Donovan (4)
The Bishop of Cashel (3)
Ven CT Pringle (4)
RW Benson (4)
CG Walker (4)
JE Stanley (3)
Mrs HR Hicks (1)
* Ven DS McLean (1)
* DG Perrin (1)
LEGAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
His Honour JG Buchanan (0)
JW Wilson (0)
The Hon Mr Justice DNO Budd (0)
AC Aston (0)
RLK Mills (0)
RL Nesbitt (0)
LJW MacCann (0)
JF Rankin (2)
The Bishop of Meath (2)
The Archbishop of Dublin (1)
Ven RE Bantry White (3)
Mrs CH Thomson (2)
Advisory Members – WD Linton (2)
– Dr K Milne (3)
– Rev Canon JR Bartlett (3)
* Elected 1998
"Almighty God, we meet in your presence to exercise stewardship of the resources of this Church. Grant to us a clear mind and judgement in all things, a willingness to seek your will for the Church and an awareness of the trust and responsibility given to us. Guide us with your wisdom and lead us in the paths of truth. This we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen."– Prayer read at the commencement of all meetings of the Executive Committee.
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
The main events of the year 1998 for the Representative Body were:
The Representative Body, as a representative trustee for the Church, strives to operate within a framework of sound practice based on principles of integrity and accountability. Its historic and primary purpose is to support the Church’s ministry with legal accountability to both Church and State for its governance of property and financial assets. Over the long term, the Representative Body seeks to maintain stability in its financial planning and to work for improvements in clergy stipends and pensions.AUDITORS/AUDIT COMMITTEE
The Audit Committee, consisting of four members of the Representative Body appointed by the Executive Committee, meets twice yearly with the external auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Audit Committee, together with management and the external auditors, meet to review:
The impact of these tax credit changes will result in a significant reduction in income in 1999. Combined with income changes due to the strategic realignment of investments and the other matters referred to above, a total reduction in 1999 income of circa IR£500/600,000 may be anticipated (based on current disposition of assets).
The underlying market value of the combined funds (expressed in Irish currency) increased over the year from IR£285,332,553 (translated at IR£1 = £0.8664) to IR£329,983,561 (translated at IR£1 = £0.8957). The overall gain of circa IR£45m includes an unrealised currency exchange gain of IR£19m.
The comparable total return performances of relevant equity markets in 1998 was: Ireland 25.5% UK FT ALL Share 13.7% UK FT100 17.5%.
The General Funds (UK and Foreign), Clergy Pensions Fund (Northern Ireland) and the RB General Unit Trust (NI) are managed from London by Lazard Asset Management.
The Clergy Pensions Fund (Republic of Ireland) is managed by Bank of Ireland Asset Management.
All other portfolios are managed by RCB staff reporting to the Investment Committee. General policy or strategy is to focus on capital and income growth to optimise the long term total return for the RCB and its trust beneficiaries.
The Investment Committee meets with its external managers on a regular basis to review policy, performance and investment strategy.
As trustees, the Representative Church Body has responsibilities to preserve Church funds and to limit or restrict financial risks. These are legal responsibilities but in addition it tries to take account of issues of ethical concern and to be sensitive to strongly held views of members of the Church. The RCB seeks to maintain a balance between ethical considerations commensurate with the Church’s Christian outlook and legal obligations as trustees in seeking the best financial returns.
In general terms the RCB has achieved its objectives by concentrating on the integrity of the management of companies rather than by excluding certain activities where often these form only part of a company’s business.
Ethical issues, of their nature, can be subjective. Issues are not always easily defined and the consequences of overly restrictive policies not always understood. The RCB has restricted investment from time to time in consultation with its professional advisers in Dublin and London and will continue to do so in the context of its ongoing ethical responsibilities and awareness. For example, only in exceptional circumstances would there be any involvement in options, currency hedging or other derivatives and then only with express permission. Neither is borrowing permitted to increase investment with a risk/reward exposure.
Given the complex structures of many companies and their diversified subsidiary interests some will have business interests in areas the RCB might otherwise wish to avoid. Disinvestment will be considered if these interests become a major proportion of the focus or business activity of the company; the RCB does not set out to invest in unethical enterprises nor does it support illegal business activities or practices. It seeks to invest in companies which will develop their business and generate reasonable investment returns to the shareholders, while having proper concern for the interests of customers, employees and suppliers.
The RCB will continue to monitor and to review its investments including an ethical assessment at least once each year. Ethical awareness based on fair and informed judgements is an integral part of the investment process in keeping with our Christian ethos and witness.
The Investment Committee, which met in February 1999 with the proposer and seconder of an ethical motion to General Synod last year, also monitors the reports and qualitative research of the Ethical Investment Working Group in England, which serves the Church Commissioners, the Central Board of Finance and Pensions Board.
The Standing Committee of the General Synod has confirmed that the Priorities Fund will contribute towards the cost of support and training of men and women for the ordained ministry in 1999 and a sum of IR£85,000 has been anticipated in recommending a net allocation of IR£150,488. However, it has been intimated that the Standing Committee intends to phase out or cease to make an annual contribution under this heading in future as it seeks to divert resources into other areas of priority and to avoid recurrent annual expenditure.
The budgets submitted by the Boards (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) show very substantial increases over last year. These include the costs of implementing the Safeguarding Trust programme and RE Curriculum and Children’s Ministry development initiatives.
This allocation has been substantially increased to cover the extra costs of the chaplaincy at Jordanstown, which has become a full time appointment in its own right (previously this has been a part time post in association with the parish at Jordanstown).
NoteRepresentatives of the Priorities Fund Committee and the Standing Committee met with the Allocations Committee in February 1999 to explore funding issues and relative responsibilities. Further discussion will be necessary to ensure overall co-ordination of funding priorities having regard to the anticipated downturn in investment income returns referred to earlier in this report.
The ongoing debate about the different levels of pence per mile rates determined for the two jurisdictions has highlighted the complexity of the situation.
Both the Automobile Association and the Civil Service rates for the Republic of Ireland support a generally held consensus view that motoring costs in the Republic are substantially greater than those applicable in Northern Ireland. This is increasingly at odds with the pence per litre prices displayed at petrol pumps in the different jurisdictions. The disparity in car fuel prices appears to reflect differences in Government taxation and environmental policies, while overall motoring costs reflect the commercial disparities of different markets – i.e. the large UK market versus the tiny Irish market produce different levels of unit costs dependent on scale. This is strikingly illustrated by AA statistics for the two jurisdictions.
The differences in the locomotory allowances between North and South have been compensated to an extent by the different levels of cumulative increases in minimum stipends since 1991 (26% in the Republic and 31% in Northern Ireland).
The Stipends Committee remains of the opinion that locomotory expenses should continue to be based on the official civil/public service rates as no convincing alternative is available. In the overall scheme of things, the combined values of stipend and locomotory allowance expressed to a common value such as the Euro or the US dollar produce a reasonable balance of equity and justice at the present time.
A grant of IR£35,000 for 1998 plus IR£10,000 to assist in clearing a deficit was made to Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert diocese.
A relativity adjustment was made to levels of episcopal stipends with effect from 1 January 1999. The Representative Body agreed that finance should also be provided to allow for pro rata increases to episcopal pensions and the Church of Ireland Pensions Board will submit enabling legislation for approval by the General Synod.
The Representative Body has agreed that the cost of financing parity of pensions for all existing pensioners, as a result of the special increases in minimum approved stipends planned for 2000 and 2001, be approved in principle subject to formal consents and approval in detail being granted in due course (costs to be established at next actuarial review in September 2000).
The Representative Body, as legal owner and trustee of most of the property held by the Church of Ireland, executes a considerable number of legal agreements under seal every year. These include purchases, sales, leases, short term lettings, assignments, wayleaves, etc involving churches, glebes and other properties held for parishes, dioceses and other church bodies and organisations. The total number of approvals given in 1998 for church property acquisitions and disposals was 68 while 35 leases/letting agreements were authorised and 33 licences granted.
In most cases formal approval can only be given to property related transactions by the Representative Body when they have been sanctioned by the relevant diocesan authorities under the provisions of the Constitution which govern the management of church property generally. The regulations and rules concerning glebes and other parochial properties are contained in Chapter XIII while the role of the Representative Body in relation to property is defined in Part 2 of Chapter X of the Constitution. The statutory power to hold, sell or acquire property for the use of the Church is contained in the enabling provisions of the Irish Church Act (1869), the Charter of Incorporation (1870) and the Glebe Lands, Representative Church Body (Ireland) Act of 1875.
The function of the Representative Body in relation to property is that of legal trustee and, generally speaking, it has no beneficial interest in the properties which it holds.
The total value realised from all sales of church property during the year 1998 amounted to IR£2.7m, with IR£1.7m applied to meet the cost of new building programmes in parishes, and the balance invested as permanent endowments in trust for the parishes concerned or held on deposit pending final decisions at parochial or diocesan level. Note: It is essential that any proposal to sell a property vested in the Representative Body should be notified to the Representative Body at the earliest opportunity. This will ensure that a full investigation of title is carried out in the initial stages of any such proposal and help to avoid subsequent delays or frustration. It may not always be realised that a particular property can be held subject to an underlying trust which may have restrictive implications where a sale is being contemplated.
Select Vestries are reminded of the importance of having adequate insurance cover on all parochial properties and, in particular, appropriate Public Liability cover (including cover on all graveyards whether closed or not). The level and adequacy of cover against standard fire and storm perils, employers and public liability, personal accident etc should be reviewed regularly (at least on an annual basis).
Any select vestry contemplating the building of a new glebe house should contact the Representative Body office at an early stage. Quite apart from the fact that formal approval has to be obtained, general advice is available from the office.
A specimen plan for new glebes is available for information and guidance. The plan illustrates typical accommodation, arranged in a practical way, to meet the reasonable needs of the average incumbent. It is emphasised, however, that the plan is of an advisory, rather than a mandatory nature.
Under the provisions of Chapter X of the Constitution, the Representative Body holds and administers the Church Fabric Fund "upon trust, to apply the income or allocations or grants authorised by the General Synod, at its discretion, in defraying the costs, in whole or in part, of restoration or repair of the fabric of any church or chapel, if same is vested in it, and it is satisfied that it is in use and certified by the diocesan council to be essential for public worship by the Church of Ireland."
Grants in excess of IR£87,000 (€110,467) were made in 1998. Applications for grants, subject to criteria, are considered twice yearly in April and November. Details are available from Church House.
Grants in excess of IR£75,000 (€95,230) were made from the Marshall Beresford Fund, which is also available for repairs to churches.
The refurbishment programme has been substantial, involving stripping back the building to bare walls and floors to install new windows, heating system, lighting and cabling and to generally upgrade the building to meet health and safety and fire safety standards. Additionally, the reception area has been extended, as has been the canteen area, which had not proved to be large enough when meetings of the Representative Body and/or Standing Committee are taking place. Estimated overall final costs will be in the region of IR£1.2m, reflecting escalating property costs in the current economic climate on the one hand and, on the other, an investment in real property assets as distinct from financial assets.
New trusts and additions to existing trusts to a total value of IR£485,765 (€616,794) were received in 1998. In the vast majority of cases these new moneys represent perpetual trusts, in which case the capital is invested and the annual income arising therefrom, less a deduction or contribution towards administration and management, credited to the trust and distributed accordingly. The total market value of all trust funds (excluding the Clergy Pensions Funds) appreciated to IR£134,416,301 (€170,673,496) as at 31 December 1998.
LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES COMMITTEE Membership
The Revd Professor JR Bartlett was appointed as an advisory member of the Committee in his capacity as Principal of the Theological College.
The Library staff was augmented by the appointment of Dr Susan Hood as Assistant Librarian and Archivist with effect from January 1998.
The programme of development in the Library was completed. At a ceremony on 6 March 1998 the work was blessed and dedicated by the Bishop of Meath and Kildare and the refurbished Library was officially opened by Dr David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge.
Induction sessions were given by the Library staff for new ordinands in the Theological College, for new candidates for the auxiliary ministry, for first year students of the pastoral studies diploma in the Theological College's extra mural programme, and for the new intake into the Archbishop of Dublin's Course in Theology. Most of this work was undertaken in the evenings.
In addition to the normal opening hours the Library was open until 7.30 p.m. on the Friday evenings when the candidates for the auxiliary ministry were resident in the Theological College.
The General Synod allocated IR£3,000 and £2,500 for the purchase of books and IR£600 for binding. This was generously augmented from the following sources:
Armagh diocese (£300); Board of Education (IR£250); Cashel, Ossory, Waterford, Leighlin & Lismore dioceses (IR£100); Clogher diocese (£100); Connor Ordination Committee (£400); Cork, Cloyne & Ross dioceses (IR£275); Derry & Raphoe dioceses (£300); Dublin & Glendalough dioceses (IR£250); Ferns diocese (IR£50); Kilmore diocese (£100); Limerick, Killaloe & Ardfert dioceses (IR£200); Meath & Kildare dioceses (IR£300).
The records in Church of Ireland House, Dublin, were surveyed, with the assistance of Church House staff, and agreement was reached as to which records should be transferred to the Library and under which conditions these records might be made available to researchers. The parish records of Boyle, Roscommon and Longford were surveyed in situ by Dr Hood, while those of the Ematris group of parishes were examined in the rectory when surveying the library of the late incumbent, Canon J Merry.
The collections of printed books were significantly augmented during 1998 by purchase and gift, including important donations from the libraries of the late Ven RGF Jenkins, the late Canon J Merry, and the former Rector of Arva, Canon Jack Watson.
The principal archival accessions were the non-current records of the General Synod, Representative Church Body, and their committees, which had been in the custody of the administration since disestablishment. Some 420 volumes, together with 60 boxes of deeds and papers, and a quantity of maps and architectural drawings, were transferred from Church House to the Library. In addition records from 60 parishes were received together with a variety of manuscripts collections of which the most important were the records of the Swords Borough School, the Mageough Home, and the YWCA.
Interviews with Canon John Barry, the late Mrs Mercy Simms, the Ven AHV Frazer and Canon HG Watts were completed and the tapes were lodged in the Library.
Work continued on the creation of a definitive database of church plate. At the beginning of 1998 approximately one third of the inventories had been returned and checked. A slow down in the return of inventories by the middle of the year was followed by the issue of a reminder, over the name of the Chief Officer, which produced a limited response. However, by the end of 1998, only a little over half of the inventories had been returned. In any circumstances this would be a disappointing response but in the apparent context of an increasing number of thefts from churches, it is shockingly negligent.
The Committee agreed to the request from the Executive Committee to draw up a policy for the display/disposal of church plate.
The Committee met representatives of the diocesan and cathedral libraries in April in the RCB Library. Mr Harry Carson (Public Library, Armagh) and Canon Muriel McCarthy (Marsh's Library, Dublin) spoke about their experiences of computerising library catalogues.
Mrs Heather Smith continued to administer the Adult Education Video Library and to edit the monthly video review section in the Church Review.
The fourth volume in the Library's parish register series, Register of the parish of Holy Trinity (Christ Church), Cork, 1643-1669, edited by Dr Susan Hood, was published in December 1998. Earlier in the year an edition of the Registers of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, edited by Dr Raymond Refaussé and Dr Colm Lennon, and based largely on the Christ Church archives in the Library, was published by Four Courts Press. Articles and reviews by Dr Refaussé and Dr Hood were printed in The Irish Genealogist, Irish Archives and the Church of Ireland Gazette.
Dr Refaussé gave lectures on Church of Ireland archives and the resources of the Library to the MA in Local History students in NUI-Maynooth, to the Higher Diploma In Archives students in UCD, and, with Dr K Milne, to the second year ordinands in the Theological College. Dr Hood spoke to the Garda Historical Society, contributed to a genealogical lecture series organised by Dublin Public Libraries, and together with Mrs Mary Furlong, mounted an exhibition of parish records in Taney parish centre.
Dr Hood liaised with Dublin Public Libraries in selecting items from the Library's collections for an exhibition entitled "Rescuing the Records" which was part of the celebrations to mark the centenary of the death of Sir John T Gilbert. The exhibition was mounted in the Dublin Civic Museum in the summer and subsequently toured the public libraries in the city. Small exhibitions to mark the 1798 Rebellion and the visit to Dublin of the Porvoo Delegation were mounted in the hall of the Library.
A page on genealogy for the Church of Ireland website was produced and the site regularly used to promote the Library.
The rates of interest allowed or charged by the Representative Body are linked to the rates ruling from time to time in the Money Market. The following rates of interest were applied by the Representative Body in respect of the year 1998:
These rates only apply to revenue balances to credit of diocesan and other accounts and not to permanent capital other than in cases where, for some reason, there may be a delay in making a long term investment (e.g. proceeds of sales of glebes). Interest is calculated on daily balances and time weighted.
The total value of the subscriptions collected under deed of covenant on behalf of parishes in 1998 was £4,035,659 to which the income tax recovered by the Representative Body added £1,206,208 to give a total of £5,241,867 as compared with £5,166,951 in the previous year.
Single cash gifts of £250 or more will qualify for tax relief using the Gift Aid Scheme and a total of 366 gifts was processed by the Representative Body for parishes in 1998. Gross value of these gifts amounted to £306,480 and the tax recovered amounted to £70,491 as compared to £64,338 in 1997.
Parishes have again been reminded of the strict legal and technical requirements of the Inland Revenue in relation to both formal documents and to maintaining adequate underlying records of payment (the "audit trail"). A second series of seminars with the Inland Revenue will take place in April 1999 over a two week period in 8 separate locations across Northern Ireland.
The new Euro currency came into existence as a legal currency on 1 January 1999. Conversion rates between it and the eleven participating currencies are now irrevocably fixed. The exchange rate between the Euro and the Irish pound is 1 Euro = IR£0.787564 or IR£1 = Euro 1.269738.
The exchange rate between the Euro and the UK pound Stg will fluctuate according to market conditions.
The RCB intends to continue to operate its mainstream Irish pound accounting and payroll transactions in Irish currency and will not convert to Euro financial accounting and reporting earlier than 1 January 2001 or later than 31 December 2001.
Subsidiary accounting systems for investment transactions will, where appropriate, be conducted in Euros with effect from 1 January 1999. This will not be apparent to parishes and dioceses, however, since all such transactions will be converted automatically to Irish pounds (including dividend distributions) during the interim or transitional period prior to the changeover date in 2001.
Dividends on UK shares expressed in Sterling will continue to be transacted and distributed in Sterling. Similarly, accounting records and transactions for all parishes and dioceses in Northern Ireland will continue to be maintained and conducted in Sterling.
Payment of stipends and pensions currently expressed in Irish pounds, together with related deductions for car loans, income tax and national insurance etc, will continue to be conducted in Irish currency where applicable until either 1 January 2001 or 31 December 2001 as the case may be.
During the year the RCB (a) agreed certain extensions to the public liability indemnities contained in the standard parish combined policy of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office (EIO) and (b) negotiated terms with DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company Limited to provide legal defence insurance for insured persons who may be involved in a criminal investigation or trial related to or connected with parish activities. This additional cover has been provided on a corporate basis for all those parishes insured with the EIO and costs charged out to the dioceses who, in turn, collect the parish share of the premium from each Select Vestry within their jurisdictions.
Parishes not insured with the EIO were advised to put in place similar indemnities and to confirm arrangements with their diocesan offices.
A full list of donations and bequests to the Representative Body for parishes, dioceses and special trusts is given at the end of this report.
Reference has been made in previous reports to the various taxes, whether on capital or income, which may affect residents in the Republic of Ireland or the United Kingdom. Because of these taxes a person wishing to contribute to the Church may find it advantageous to do so by means of a capital donation.
Attention is drawn to the provision contained in the Form of Bequest printed in the final pages of this report, whereby the Representative Body, as Trustee, requests permission to invest in any investments or securities whatsoever in its sole discretion. Circumstances may alter from time to time and it is desirable that there should be freedom to act in the best interests of the parochial or other fund concerned.
The Representative Body does not accept any trust for the provision, maintenance or improvement of a tomb, vault, grave, tombstone or other memorial to a deceased person unless a specific benefit will accrue to the parish concerned.
The Representative Body recommends that the following resolutions be adopted by the General Synod:
That the General Synod hereby authorises the Representative Body to make the following allocations from the balance on the General Funds Revenue Account for the year ended 31 December 1998:
That, in accordance with Section 51 (1) of Chapter IV of the Constitution and with effect from 1 January 2000
That the Representative Body be authorised to transfer the sum of IR£122,760 from its income surplus at 31 December 1998 to the Church of Ireland Clergy Pensions Fund for the purpose of financing a shortfall in the funding of pensions of retired bishops and widows of bishops.
THE REPRESENTATIVE CHURCH BODY
Tel: +353 (0)1 497 8422
Email: Chief Officer
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