Added on 20/03/2013
The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 12 March 2013 in Church House, Dublin. The March meeting deals with a considerable body of material for consideration at the General Synod which will meet in Armagh from 9–11 May 2013, beginning at 10.00a.m.
The Priorities Committee report is an annual highlight at the March meeting of Standing Committee. Priorities Committee Chairperson, Mr Roy Totten, proposed and the Standing Committee agreed that diocesan targets should not be raised for 2014. This year, the Priorities Fund will disburse €498,149 in 48 grants.
Charities legislation in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is currently the subject of consultation by the two Governments. In the Republic of Ireland, an initial consultation has been launched to consider how the Regulatory Authority may be set up and begin its work to establish a Register of Charities and reporting. The Standing Committee’s response to this consultation can be found on the Church of Ireland website (www.ireland.anglican.org) under Information/Charities Resources and parishes and dioceses are encouraged to read it and to use it to assist their own responses. The consultation document can be found at: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/CharitiesConsult
In Northern Ireland, the Charities Commission is now consulting on Public Benefit Guidance and Registration Guidance. The following people were appointed to a Working Group to respond to the two consultations: Ms June Butler, Mr David Cromie, the Revd George Davison, Ms Cynthia Cherry. Further details on the consultation in Northern Ireland can be found at: http://www.charitycommissionni.org.uk/About_us/Currentconsulations.aspx
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland will be conducting a number of public consultation events throughout Northern Ireland during March and April. Parishes are encouraged to attend.
The Honorary Secretaries reported that they have written to the Taoiseach welcoming the Irish Government’s decision to re–open bi–lateral meetings with faith groups and have requested a meeting on behalf of the Church of Ireland.
The Standing Committee requested the Primate to sign the account of the Standing Committee General Purposes Fund for the year ended 31 December 2012 and the Standing Committee Receipts and Disbursements Account.
Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief
Responding to the Resolution passed by the General Synod in 2012, the Standing Committee considered a proposal for the creation of a Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief. The proposal, which is to be brought before to General Synod in May, envisages a body that will enable the Church to continue its listening, dialogue and learning process on all issues concerning human sexuality in the context of Christian belief. The Select Committee would have a two year term of office. The Representative Body later considered a request to issue a report under Standing Order 52 of General Synod to give General Synod assurance that the funds are in place before the Committee is established. Progress was made towards a list of members to serve on the Select Committee for consideration at General Synod, with any additional names to be forwarded by members to the Honorary Secretaries by 22 March to help them bring a completed list to the Standing Committee in April.
Appointments, resignations & invitations
The Most Revd Michael Jackson and the Revd Niall Sloane to attend the Four Nations Anglican Faith and Order Meeting in Woking, Surrey in October 2013
The Revd Andrew Orr to be the Church of Ireland Representative on Eco–Congregations Ireland. The Revd Elaine Murray was thanked for her service in this position.
The Moravian Church will be invited to send a representative to General Synod in Armagh.
Mrs Ethne Harkness and Ven Robin Bantry White to serve as the two Honorary Secretaries on the Executive Committee of the Board of Education
Mr Andrew McNeile has resigned from the Budget Sub–Committee. Mr McNeile was thanked for his service.
The Standing Committee agreed to increase the fees in the Republic of Ireland for searches in parish registers to correspond to similar price increases with the General Registry Office (RI) as follows:
– A fee of €20 for each additional copy of an entry in register of baptisms or burials;
– A fee of €2 for a search of a five year span of marriage registers;
– A fee of €20 for a general search of marriage registers;
– A fee of €20 for a certified copy of an entry in the registers.
Child Protection Officer (NI) and Child Protection Officer (RI) Review
The Honorary Secretaries noted that since the last review of these positions in 2010, it has become apparent that the role of Child Protection Officers has become vitally important and should be regarded as permanent. Standing Committee supported this view and agreed that in future, reviews should focus on the role descriptions in the light of changing legislation and procedures, in particular the development of policy in respect of vulnerable adults.
The following grants were recommended:
• €4000 towards the commissioning, drafting, designing and printing of two new leaflets (on episcopacy and liturgy) for the APCK;
• €37,500 to the Allocations Committee to contribute to the cost of activities relevant to the fund;
• €16,000 to facilitate purchase of stock relevant to parishes (parish registers etc) from the Sunday School Society following the closure of their shop in Holy Trinity Church, Rathmines.
General Synod 2013 – Reports
Committees reporting to the Standing Committee presented their reports which will be considered at General Synod in May.
Synod Motion on Amendments to Constitution of the Standing Committee
The Standing Committee will propose two amendments to the Constitution of the Standing Committee of the General Synod to enable nominations to be made by e–mail (Section 5) and expanding the definition of the phrase ‘in writing’ to include communications by e–mail (Section 1).
Bills recommended to General Synod
Standing Committee agreed to recommend four Bills to General Synod:
Bill to clarify status of Deacon–Interns;
Bill to allow for the Amendment of Forms;
Bill to Prevent Automatic Re–nomination to General Synod;
Bill to Provide for Record Keeping.
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