Added on 29/01/2013
The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 22 January 2013 in Church House, Dublin. The first half of the meeting was chaired by The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, for the first time as Archbishop of Armagh, and was opened with a scripture reading and prayers, including prayer for peace in Northern Ireland at this time. The second half of the meeting was chaired by The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin.
The lives of the late Mr Jim McGaffin and the late Canon Brian Mayne were remembered and their contribution to the life of the Church of Ireland recalled with gratitude.
Submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children on Abortion
The Archbishop of Dublin introduced the paper which he and Mr Sam Harper had submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Committee prior to the hearing at which they gave evidence on Thursday 10 January 2013 (see also the official submissions section of this website). Members of Standing Committee commended the contribution of the Archbishop and Mr Harper to the public debate.
It was resolved to appoint a Working Group on Abortion comprised of the Archbishop of Dublin; The Hon Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness; the Revd Daniel Nuzum; Ms Joy Gordon; Dr Rory Corbett; Mr Samuel Harper; Ms Hillary Prentice and the Revd Adrian Dorrian, which is authorised to prepare a paper, in consultation with experts in psychiatry and other disciplines, on the medical, legal, ethical and pastoral implications of the proposed legislation on abortion in the Republic of Ireland.
Report on the 15th Anglican Consultative Council Meeting
The Revd Dr Maurice Elliott reported on his attendance at the 15th Anglican Consultative Council Meeting held in Auckland, New Zealand in November 2012. He highlighted the Anglican Alliance; the Anglican Communion Networks (in particular the family network); the Evangelism and Growth Initiative; the Anglican–Methodist Initiative and the Network of Inter Faith Concerns (NIFCON). Standing Committee resolved that the report be referred to the Anglican Affairs Working Group and the Inter–Faith Working Group of the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue for focused reflections and appropriate suggestions.
Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief
Following the presentation of a paper and ensuing discussion, the Standing Committee approved of a plan allowing progress to take place on a process of tripartite inter–diocesan conferences in Autumn 2013 on the issue of Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief.
It was resolved that the Honorary Secretaries and the Archbishops and Bishops develop a formal resolution for submission to General Synod 2013 pertaining to the appointment of a Select Committee to enable the listening, dialogue and learning process. Standing Committee also agreed to encourage each diocese to organise and facilitate its own respectful listening and dialogue process.
The Central Communications Board expressed its concern to Standing Committee that matters of importance are not currently being addressed proactively enough by the Church and that there is a need for more authoritative material to support coherent reflection on major issues. In the course of discussion, along with useful suggestions relating to taking forward developments such as digitisation of the Journal of the General Synod, the question of the authority to speak for the Church of Ireland was raised and discussed. The Honorary Secretaries indicated that they are in the process of looking at the work of the committees of the Church in relation to the issue of addressing public debates and would report further to Standing Committee.
It was agreed that the Bishop of Limerick be appointed to represent the Church of Ireland at the Church of England General Synod in York in July and that the Revd George Davison be appointed to attend the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church in Edinburgh in June.
The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe and Mr Sam Harper were appointed to attend the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church to be held in Londonderry in June; the Revd Asa Bjork Olafsdottir and Mr Trevor Morrow were appointed to attend the Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland to be held in Carrickfergus in June; and the Bishop of Tuam was appointed to attend the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends to be held in Cork in July.
Representatives were appointed to the Irish Council of Churches, and the Revd Canon Ian Ellis was nominated to the Anglican–Lutheran International co–ordinating Committee.
General Synod 2013 – Representatives of Other Churches
It was resolved that the Honorary Secretaries be requested to issue an invitation to the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church to appoint two representatives respectively to attend the General Synod in 2013; that the Irish Council of Churches be invited to appoint one representative; that the Church in Wales be invited to appoint one representative; and that invitations be issued to the Lutheran Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church to appoint one representative respectively.
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