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The Church of Ireland

The Church Of Ireland
General Synod 1999

Church of Ireland

General Synod Standing Committee

Report 1999

Reprinted from the Church of Ireland, General Synod Book of Reports 1999


A Special Meeting of the Standing Committee was held on 6 October 1998 to consider the Drumcree issue. The meeting was held in the Court Hotel, Killiney and members of the Representative Church Body Executive Committee, the Ven AET Harper (representing the Sectarianism Working Group) and senior staff of the RCB were invited to attend. The Honorary Secretaries invited members to make submissions prior to the meeting to facilitate the arranging of the agenda.

The Archbishop of Armagh introduced the subject and outlined the difficulties facing the Church of Ireland, followed by a factual explanation by the Very Rev H Cassidy. Mr RH Sherwood, Chief Officer and Secretary of the RCB, explained the situation regarding the ownership of the property in the vicinity of Drumcree Church. A report from the Ven AET Harper, as Chairman of the Sectarianism Working Group, was also considered. The following resolution was adopted:

The Standing Committee notes the report prepared by Archdeacon Alan Harper, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Sectarianism dated 22 September 1998 and awaits their general recommendations.

In relation to the specific issue of the confrontation and dispute at Drumcree and the Church of Ireland’s association with and perceived involvement in those events the Standing Committee deeply regrets and repudiates all words and actions associated with the Drumcree controversy which have caused and continue to cause hurt and offence to others

That, conscious of the fact that under current regulations it is not possible to prevent attendance at a regular church service, the following steps be taken to ensure (insofar as the church can ensure) that there will be no recurrence of the outrageous and tragic events of the past three years.

1.1 That the Standing Committee endorses the open letters of the Archbishop of Armagh and his senior clergy of 25 June 1998 and 24 August 1998.

1.2 That every effort is to be made by the Church of Ireland to give support to those seeking a genuine and peaceful settlement of this ongoing dispute.

1.3 That in the light of previous experience the Standing Committee in consultation with the Archbishop of Armagh and the Diocesan Council of Armagh requests the officers of the Orange Order, centrally and locally, to give written undertakings that if their members wish to attend service at Drumcree Parish Church that they will comply with any lawful request or direction given (a) by the Church authorities in relation to church property and (b) by the civil authorities in respect of the conduct and progress of any march, procession or protest.

1.4 That the Rector and Select Vestry of Drumcree parish continue to be consulted and invited to support this policy.

A small group was requested to prepare a theological comment on the issues involved which was approved by the Standing Committee and is included as Appendix E.

Representatives of the Standing Committee were appointed to meet with the various parties involved with the Drumcree issue. Meetings have been held with the Select Vestry, the Orange Order and the Garvaghy Road Residents. A report on the meetings are included as Appendix F together with statements by the Archbishop of Armagh and others.


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