Added on 27/11/2012
The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 20 November 2012 in Church House, Dublin. The meeting was chaired by the Archbishop of Dublin, The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, and was opened with a scripture reading and prayers.
On behalf of the Standing Committee, Archbishop Jackson said he would convey prayers and good wishes to The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke as he prepares to assume the role of Primate of All Ireland on 15 December, sentiments which were echoed by the Honorary Secretaries who have written to the Archbishop–designate of Armagh offering him congratulations and an assurance of their prayers and support for him in his new role.
The Archbishop of Dublin also expressed thanks at the close of the meeting to The Right Revd Ken Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh, for all that he had contributed to the work of the Church and its committees on this his last occasion of participation as a diocesan bishop attending Standing Committee.
Following warm applause, Bishop Ken Clarke spoke about his sense of gratitude and privilege in having been able to serve a ‘great’ Church which has held together through so many challenges and which was still vital as an ‘agent of Kingdom transformation on this island’; he hoped to continue to serve God and the Church in his capacity as Director of SAMS in Ireland.
Honorary Secretaries’ Report
The Honorary Secretaries presented a report which was adopted and ratified by the Standing Committee.
It was indicated that a meeting is to take place in early December to discuss how all of the committees of the Church involved in mission – the Council for Mission, the Commission on Ministry, the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue and the Parish Development Working Group (Church 21) – can better co–ordinate their activities.
At it, committee chairpersons and secretaries will consider how best to make progress in this area. There was also discussion relating to the format of the Form of Declaration in the Schedule to Chapter III of the Constitution which the Honorary Secretaries will consider afresh.
It was indicated that the closing date for applications to have display stands at General Synod in 2013 is Friday 15 February 2013, which will be strictly adhered to.
General Synod 2014
Having examined the options for a venue and dates for General Synod in 2014 – and
Synod staff having met with members of the Disability Working Group to discuss how the venue can be made more accessible – it was resolved that the General Synod in 2014 be held in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin from Thursday 8 May 2014 to Saturday 10 May 2014.
Representatives at General Synod
The Honorary Secretaries have reviewed the present approach for inviting representatives of other Christian Churches to General Synod in the light of changes in the membership of the Irish Council of Churches and a recommendation from the Council for Mission that the increasing presence of African Churches in Ireland be reflected. Standing Committee approved a revised rotational procedure for inviting representatives of other Christian Churches to General Synod. The current pattern of inviting a representative of the Moravian Church of GB and Ireland every year was also formalised.
General Synod/Standing Committee Finances
The Budget Sub–Committee submitted a report and recommendations for consideration. Following discussion and minor amendments, it was resolved that the recommendations be adopted and forwarded to the Representative Church Body Allocations Committee.
Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief
Further discussion took place relating to progressing work emanating from the General Synod’s resolution on human sexuality in the context of Christian belief.
Continued work on this and on developing the process by which greater dialogue across the dioceses will take place during 2013 will now be taken forward by the Honorary Secretaries and the Bishop of Tuam.
Review of the Disciplinary Scheme
The Honorary Secretaries presented a revised proposal reviewing the Disciplinary Scheme to the Standing Committee which was noted and broadly welcomed.
Inter Church Peace Programme
A proposed Inter Church Peace Programme in Northern Ireland which is to involve the Presbyterian Church in Ireland as lead partner with the Church of Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church in Ireland and the Irish Council of Churches as other parties is to be funded under the PEACE III Programme, monitored by the Special EU Programmes Body.
A report examining the proposal in consultation with others was presented by the Bishop of Clogher and it was resolved that the Standing Committee authorizes the Archbishops and Honorary Secretaries to, with the assistance of the Legal Department of the Representative Body, approve a partnership agreement between the Church of Ireland and the other partners for the setting up of the Inter Church Peace Programme, and to sign the agreement on behalf of the Church of Ireland.
The Bishop of Clogher and the Revd John McClure were appointed to the Steering Committee of the Programme.
The Honorary Secretaries, having consulted with Diocesan Secretaries and the Chairpersons and Secretaries of various Church committees, presented a paper along with recommendations to the Standing Committee on how best to gather statistics for the fruitful purpose of the life of the Church into the future (giving effect to the Statistics Statute – Chapter I of 2012).
Several helpful suggestions were made at Standing Committee which will be incorporated into taking this work forward.
The Venerable Philip Patterson was appointed to the Church of Ireland Pensions Board to succeed the Venerable Donald McLean following his retirement.
The Revd Kevin Graham was appointed to the Board of the Board for Social Responsibility (NI) Ltd, following a period of reorganization and an invitation to the Standing committee to appoint a representative to its Board.
Reports were received from the Church of Ireland Historiographer, Dr Kenneth Milne; from Mr Philip McKinley on both the Porvoo Consultation on the Diaspora and the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends; and from the Revd James Harries (of the Church in Wales) on the Meissen Commission Meeting in Haus Hainstein, Eisenach, Germany, who was representing all of the Celtic Churches in an observer capacity.
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