Added on 24/03/2014
The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday 11 March 2014 in Church House, Dublin. The meeting was opened by the Archbishop of Armagh who noted with sympathy the recent deaths of the Archbishop of Dublin’s mother, the Bishop of Tuam’s mother, and Dr Valerie Jones, a former member of the Standing Committee; a moment of silence was kept to remember those who had been bereaved. Mr Sam Harper led the meeting in a scripture reading and prayers before the business of the meeting commenced.
The meeting was chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh and by the Archbishop of Dublin. The Archbishop of Armagh welcomed the Revd Alison Calvin to her first meeting of Standing Committee following her co–option and also congratulated the Ven. Adrian Wilkinson on his appointment as Archdeacon of Cork.
Honorary Secretaries’ Report and Election of Honorary Secretary
The Archdeacon of Belfast, the Ven. George Davison, updated members on the ongoing matter of the reworded Girlguiding Promise and the debate and resolution relating to it at the recent Church of England General Synod. The Honorary Secretaries have since met with representatives of the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches in Ireland and are hoping to have a meeting with Girlguiding Ulster in the near future for further discussion; progress will be reported.
With the retirement of the Venerable Robin Bantry White, a vacancy for a Clerical Honorary Secretary of the General Synod had arisen. The Revd Gillian Wharton, Rector of Booterstown and Carysfort with Mount Merrion, was elected to fulfil this post. The Revd Gillian Wharton will hold office as Honorary Secretary until the day previous to the next meeting of the General Synod in May.
The Chairman of the Priorities Fund, Mr Roy Totten, presented recommendations for grants for 2014 from the 2013 Church of Ireland Priorities Fund. Out of a total of 79 applications requesting grants of €1,740,547, 59 grants totalling €472,646 (out of an available fund of c.€500,000) were recommended to a wide range of projects across the island falling under the themes of Ministry; Retirement; Education; Community; Areas of Need; Outreach Initiatives and Innovative Ministry in a Rural Context.
Mr Totten highlighted a number of examples of inspiring and diverse applications such as: the Solas Project in Dublin providing mentoring and skills–building for young offenders in prison, saying that it indicated ‘growing relationships between the Church and communities and provided a practical and caring outworking of the Church’s witness’; Christ Church Clifden’s application to use its church building for flexible wider community purposes while retaining its essential purpose as a place of worship; and a church planting initiative in the Braniel area of Belfast ‘resulting from fresh thinking, initiative and vision’.
Standing Committee resolved to receive and adopt the report and its recommendations. Thanks were expressed to Mr Totten and the Priorities Committee and to Mrs Sylvia Simpson, the Fund’s Organiser. The Archbishop of Armagh commended the Priorities Fund for its ‘unifying impact on the life of the Church, demonstrating its work and witness North, South, East and West and in both urban and rural situations’.
It was also resolved that, as recommended by the Priorities Fund Committee, the diocesan targets for contributions to the 2015 fund should be increased by 1% in recognition of inflationary pressures.
In September 2013, the Standing Committee approved a proposal for a joint RB/Standing Committee expert group (Charities Registration Monitoring Group) to consider the progress of the pilot registration scheme in Northern Ireland and its implications for the Church. As part of its work the expert group prepared a draft Explanatory Memorandum on the Governance of the Church of Ireland which Mrs Janet Maxwell presented on its behalf to the Standing Committee for its consideration. This document was warmly welcomed and it will be made widely available for reference in due course.
It was resolved that a subvention of €3,000 from the Royalties Fund be provided to the Columba Press for a forthcoming production of a biography of Bishop Donald Caird, former notable Archbishop of Dublin, currently being written by Aonghus Dwane.
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