Added on 19/04/2011The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 12 April 2011. The meeting was opened with a scripture reading and prayers. The Archbishop of Armagh, in the chair, welcomed the Rt Revd Alan Abernethy, Bishop of Connor, back after a period of recuperation, and welcomed the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson to the meeting in his new capacity as Archbishop of Dublin.
Review of Episcopal Ministry & Episcopal Structures
Following discussion at the Standing Committee in March flowing from the Special Meeting of General Synod which considered the vacancy in the See of Tuam, a resolution was brought to the Standing Committee concerning progressing a review of Episcopal ministry and structures. It was resolved to establish a working group to examine the scope and nature of contemporary issues in the provision of Episcopal ministry in the Church. The working group may seek guidance in identifying matters of a specifically theological nature that are raised during its deliberations, including the gathering of appropriate information from dioceses. It will report to Standing Committee in January 2012. Thereafter, the Standing Committee will consider proposals to establish a Select Committee to take into account what the working group may have brought forward.
It was agreed that the following be appointed to the working group: the Ven. Robin Bantry White (convenor), Mrs Ethne Harkness, Mr Andrew McNeile, Mr Roy Totten, Mrs Hilary McClay, the Revd Sandra Pragnell, Mrs June Butler, the Revd Andrew Forster, the Ven. Gary Hastings and two bishops to be nominated by the archbishops and bishops.
Working Group on Disability
The following terms of reference for this working group were approved – the working group seeks to: promote knowledge of disabilities; promote the inclusion and involvement of people with disabilities and their carers in the life of the Church; promote a positive attitude to disability; offer advice on issues relating to disabilities to Church committees, parishes and other church bodies; and to respond to public consultations and policy papers in this area. Members are to be appointed to the group in June 2012 for a period of three years. In addition to the existing members, the following people have been appointed to the working group: the Revd Malcolm Ferry, Mrs Carol Ferry and Dr Tim Jackson.
Anglican Orthodox Dialogue
Standing Committee agreed to support the nomination by the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath and Kildare, to participate in the Anglican Orthodox Dialogue.
Commemoration of Irish Centenaries and the Church of Ireland
There was discussion concerning how the Church might both engage with and respond to a number of significant upcoming centenaries of events in Irish history. It was noted that the Church of Ireland might be in a position to make unique contributions to some of these, mindful that there could be theological and pastoral aspects to such commemorations and that responses required both integrity and compassion. It was resolved that the Ven. Robin Bantry White, the Revd John McDowell and Dr Kenneth Milne be requested to advise and make recommendations to the Church of Ireland on the historical, theological/pastoral and logistical aspects of centenary commemorations of the period 1912-22.
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