Added on 25/07/2011The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 21 June 2011. The meeting was opened with a scripture reading and prayers. The Archbishop of Armagh on behalf of the Standing Committee began the session by congratulating the Very Revd Patrick Rooke on his recent election to be the next Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry and the Revd John McDowell on his recent election as the next Bishop of Clogher.
Honorary Secretaries’ Report: appointment and publications
Following the retirement of the Very Revd Maurice Sirr, it was noted that the Revd Jane Galbraith has been elected to fill the clerical vacancy in the representation of Limerick Diocese on the Standing Committee.
It was reported that reprints of the large print editions of the Church Hymnal had been completed and are now in stock. Oxford University Press is also reprinting the full music edition of the hymnal and delivery is anticipated before the end of August. A number of copies of the Braille edition of the hymnal and the Book of Common Prayer have been supplied to parishes over the past year. Copies of these may be obtained from HMP Maghaberry’s Braille Unit, courtesy of Mr David Johnston, Head of the Unit. Please contact him at E. email@example.com.
It was resolved that PricewaterhouseCoopers be appointed as Auditors of the accounts of the Representative Church Body for the year 2011 on terms to be agreed by the RCB Executive Committee, such terms to be reported to the Standing Committee.
General Synod 2011
There was discussion reflecting on the General Synod held in May and looking towards future General Synod business and organisation. Items raised for consideration included the importance of engaged attendance at the Synod; practical arrangements at the Christ Church Dublin venue; the ordering of business on the third day of Synod; and induction of new Synod members to aid understanding of, commitment to, and participation in it. The importance of this induction process at diocesan level was underlined. In considering the role and process of General Synod and a desire to elucidate the parliamentary (Bills) process, it was felt that the safety of the Synod system must be maintained, with checks and balances remaining vital. The Honorary Secretaries agreed to consider the points raised and decide how to take forward the matters that had been discussed.
General Synod / Standing Committee Finances
For the purposes of information, Mr Adrian Clements, RCB Head of Finance, addressed the Standing Committee on the budget process for the year 2012, the Allocations Committee having written to the Budget Sub Committee regarding the allocations process for 2012. Mr Clements outlined how in a volatile economic climate there is a need to plan carefully and strategically for longer term needs, so that while not sacrificing the present, the Church can conserve for the future financially. Mr Wilfred Baker, chairman of the Budget Sub Committee, responded by encouraging committees to undertake prioritised long-term-view budget planning.
Church in Wales Meeting
Mr Sam Harper, Honorary Secretary, was appointed as the Church of Ireland representative to attend the meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in Lampeter from 21st to 22nd September 2011.
Bishops’ Appeal Education Adviser
The Rt Revd Michael Burrows, chairman of the World Development Bishops’ Appeal Committee, relayed the recent appointment of Ms Lydia Monds as the new Bishops’ Appeal Education Advisor. Lydia, who succeeds Martin O’Connor, will take up her position on 1 July. Her role will involve enthusing, engaging and informing the Church on development issues.
General Synod Royalties Fund: APCK leaflets
It was resolved that a grant of €4000 be made to APCK for the publication of a further two information leaflets focusing on the Irish language in the life of the Church, and Mission in the Church of Ireland.
Historical Commemorations and Centenaries
The Working Group on Historical Commemorations and Centenaries reported to the Standing Committee on its initial exploration of matters relating to 1912-22 commemorations. The purpose of the group is to advise and make recommendations to the Standing Committee on the historical, theological/pastoral and logistical aspects of forthcoming centenary commemorations. The group had met with members of a sub-committee of the Church of Ireland Historical Society and has endorsed a statement from the Society’s sub-committee, as follows:
‘The historic events that occurred in Ireland from 1912 to 1922 were of great significance not only for Ireland in general but also for the Church of Ireland. They impinged strongly on the life of the Church and its members, considerable numbers of whom were participants, some of them from positions of leadership. It therefore seems unlikely that the centenary of these events will pass unremarked by the Church, the purpose of such comment and activity being to deepen the Church’s self-understanding and self-perception, and also, perhaps, to address the matter of how the Church of Ireland’s record is perceived by others … the aim of any commemoration should be to enhance our understanding of Church of Ireland attitudes at the time and to use such lessons to help build a shared future. This should not be done in a judgmental manner.’
The work of the group was welcomed, including its recommendation that, at this critical time for relationships on the island, the Church might consider embarking on a study of a ‘theology of commemoration’ through the holding of a seminar on an historical appraisal of the events of the decade and a theological reflection on the significance of commemoration.
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