Added on 28/06/2012
The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 19 June 2012. The meeting was opened with a scripture reading and prayers. The Archbishop of Armagh welcomed all the new members of Standing Committee to the meeting and wished them well for their period of service during the new triennium. The Archbishop congratulated the Very Revd Katherine Poulton, Dean of Ossory, on the 25th anniversary of her ordination on the 21st June – Dean Poulton was the first woman to be ordained deacon in the Church of Ireland in 1987. Archbishop Harper also reiterated his announcement of the previous week of his intention to retire at the end of September, and expressed his sense of gratitude for having received so much from the Church of Ireland and the generous co–operation of so many people over many years.
Honorary Secretaries’ Report: General Synod Attendance
The Honorary Secretaries reported on the final attendance figures for the three days of the General Synod held in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, with a breakdown of clerical and lay attendance by diocese. They noted that there had been an even attendance from across the Church on each of the three days. The figures will be made available on the Church of Ireland website.
The Honorary Secretaries also indicated that they sought to improve internal communication and involvement for members of the Standing Committee and are asking members to consider receiving documentation electronically.
Election of Co–opted Members
The result of the voting for the election of co–opted members was announced. The following have been co–opted to the Standing Committee: Revd Dr Maurice Elliott; Revd Andrew Forster; Mr Andrew McNeile; Revd Dorothy McVeigh; Ven. Richard Rountree; Revd Patricia Storey and Ms Catherine Turner.
It was resolved that PricewaterhouseCoopers be appointed as Auditors of the accounts of the Representative Church Body for the year 2012, on terms to be agreed by the RCB
General Synod 2012
There was discussion considering the general implications of the proceedings of the General Synod and the venue. The Archbishop of Armagh asked members not to lose sight of the wide spectrum of the whole business of the Synod and the life of the Church, noting that there were important discussions on matters such as Education in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; Episcopal ministry and structures; farming and the administration of the EU Single Farm Payment; the collection of statistics and the right of audience given for the first time to Ecumenical guests.
The bills and resolutions with particular relevance to the Committee were noted, followed by further discussion on the resolution passed on Human Sexuality. The Archbishop of Dublin opened this discussion by saying that the bishops stood together in wishing to develop the second and third parts of the resolution in order that across the Church of Ireland people would hear one another following a model of respect and compassion, and in the desire to deliver an exploration of understanding and belonging. The General Synod has requested in the resolution that Standing Committee progresses work on the issue of Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief and also to bring a proposal to General Synod 2013 for the formation of a Select Committee with terms of reference including reporting procedures. There will be further opportunity for discussion on these matters at the September meeting of Standing Committee, with those members who are unable to attend invited to email any suggestions they may wish to be considered.
EU Single Farm Payment
Standing Committee thanked the members of the EU Single Farm Payment Working Group, chaired by Revd Canon Ian Poulton, for their work in producing a report examining the implications both practically and ethically of the end of the EU Single Farm Payment. The seriousness of the matter – not least as a large number of Church of Ireland members in both jurisdictions live in rural areas – was stressed, along with the need for ongoing pastoral support for farmers.
Moravian Church of Great Britain and Ireland
The Archbishop of Dublin outlined the longstanding and close links between the Church of Ireland and the Moravian Church. It was agreed that a group made up of members from the Anglican Affairs Working Group of the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue be appointed to consider the relationship between the Church of Ireland and the Moravian Church and consider the report ‘Finding our delight in the Lord’ which has brought about full communion between Anglicans and Moravians in the United States. A link to this report will be available in the CCUD section of the Church of Ireland website. The group is requested to bring suggestions concerning the possibility of similar developments in Ireland to the Standing Committee.
Environmental Good Practice
Following the Anglican Communion Environmental Network Meeting in Peru and the subsequent recognition by General Synod of a need for an authoritative code of Environmental Good Practice and to the invitation from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) to adopt a theme of ‘Our Daily Bread – Food in God’s Creation’ on a Sunday between 1 September and 4 October each year, the availability of a useful ACEN report was noted, available to download from: http://acen.anglicancommunion.org/reports/index.cfm.
As this was the first meeting in a triennium, the Standing Committee made appointments (and reappointments) to various committees and other bodies: the Finance and Arrangements Committee; the Legal Advisory Committee; the Budget Sub–Committee; the World Development – Bishops’ Appeal Advisory Committee; the Broadcasting Committee; the Literature Committee; the Central Communications Board; PACT; the Court of the General Synod; the Commission on Ministry; the Working Group on Disability and the Priorities Fund. The names of those appointed are available on the Church of Ireland website.
The Clergy Tied Housing Working Group was disbanded, with thanks extended to the members of the group for their work.
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