The Standing Committee of the General Synod met on Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, in Church of Ireland House, Dublin.
Mr Ken Gibson opened the meeting in a prayer reflecting on 2 Corinthians 4.6 and God’s calling for light to shine out of darkness, and interceding for wisdom, patience and a spirit of reconciliation for the United Kingdom and European Union in facing the complex issues of Brexit. Those affected by the recent car bombing in Londonderry were remembered in prayer.
Book of Common Prayer
The Honorary Secretaries reported that sales of the new edition of the Book of Common Prayer have been extremely brisk. Copies are priced at £20 or €22, with a 10% discount for orders of 10 or more, and are available from the Church of Ireland’s online bookshop (store.ireland.anglican.org) or from Ms Heather Jestin – email@example.com or 00 353 (0)1 4125 665.
A report was received from the General Synod Representation Working Group, which has met twice since the meeting of members of Standing Committee (held solely to look at this issue) in Taney on 12th November 2018. Its work was commended and a considerable discussion of the report took place; the working group is to meet again in February and the issue will be given further consideration at the March meeting of the Standing Committee.
Mrs Kaye Nesbitt was elected as a co-opted member of the Standing Committee, following a vacancy arising from the resignation of Mrs Pauline High. Mrs Nesbitt is parish administrator for the united parishes of Dunnalong and Leckpatrick, in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe, and was previously a member of the Standing Committee between 2015 and 2018. She is a diocesan reader, and member of the Derry and Raphoe diocesan synod and diocesan council, and has just taken up the role of Finance and Central Services Unit Co-ordinator with the Mothers’ Union Ireland.
Mrs Dianne Morris and Ms Sylvia Helen were appointed as co-opted members of the Marriage Council. The Very Revd Niall Sloane was re-appointed as a Church of Ireland member of the Irish Inter Church Committee.
General Synod 2019
Standing Committee members were informed that the following deadlines are in place ahead of General Synod, which will take place from 16th-18th May in the Millennium Forum in Derry/Londonderry:
- last day for the receipt of Bills (for circulation): Thursday, 4th April;
- last day for the receipt of Motions (for circulation): Tuesday, 16th April;
- last day for the advance receipt of Requests for Information: Thursday, 9th May;
- last day for the receipt of Petitions: Thursday, 9th May; and
- last day for late Bills: Thursday, 9th May.
Forms are available at the synod website: synod.ireland.anglican.org
In all cases, documents should be sent to the Honorary Secretaries at Church of Ireland House, Rathmines, Dublin 6, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Legislation Committee is available to assist members of General Synod with the drafting of Bills for General Synod. Members wishing to avail of this assistance are asked to contact the Synod Officer, Dr Catherine Smith, at email@example.com
The deadline for receipt of applications for display stands at General Synod is Tuesday, 19th February, and applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. These will be considered by the Finance and Arrangements sub-committee at its meeting in March.
The Standing Committee requested the Honorary Secretaries to invite a representative of the Irish Council of Churches and representatives of the following Churches to attend this year’s General Synod: the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; the Methodist Church in Ireland; the Roman Catholic Church; the Moravian Church of Great Britain and Ireland; the Church of England; the Society of Friends; the Cherubim and Seraphim Church; and the Greek Orthodox Church in Ireland.
The meeting concluded with the Grace.
A course on reconciliation – entitled Be Reconciled – has been produced by the Revd Catherine Simpson, curate in Seapatrick Parish Church (Down and Dromore), with support from the General Synod Royalties Fund and Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland.
Through six weeks of small group study, the resource aims to inspire and equip the local church in peace-making and help it to consider reconciliation more centrally as part of the Church’s witness, mission, and discipleship, and is likely to be of relevance across the island of Ireland. More information on the course and its resources is available at www.bereconciled.co.uk
Ms Simpson also attended the Irish Inter-Church Meeting at the Dromantine Centre last October, which reflected on the Irish Churches’ continued contribution to building community and healing a wounded society. This included challenging and hopeful perspectives from young people who have taken part in Church of Ireland programmes, including the ‘ripple effect’ of God’s love in families and communities. The meeting also affirmed the Church’s role in supporting men and women who continue to live with the physical and mental scars of the Troubles.
New Braemor Studies launched
The latest in the Braemor Studies series, highlighting the best dissertations from the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, which are also supported by the Royalties Fund, were launched at the institute on the evening of 22nd January.
Infertility to IVF: Theological, Pastoral and Ethical Insights for Couples and Clergy, by the Revd Nigel Cairns, provides an overview of some of the main theological, ethical and pastoral considerations for couples who are coming to terms with infertility, and is also intended to assist clergy who may be called upon to minister within such a context.
Mind and Ministry: To What Extent is Secular Psychotherapy Compatible with Christian Pastoral Care? by the Revd Rebecca Guildea, seeks to theologically answer questions that may surface when those in ministry encounter the field of psychotherapy with reference to anthropology, ensoulment, the New Testament understanding of grace and sanctification, and the role of modern psychology in inner healing.
Both studies are available at £5.50/€6 along with previous publications from the series from the Church of Ireland’s online bookstore: store.ireland.anglican.org
The Revd Catherine Simpson, author of the Be Reconciled course.
Mrs Kaye Nesbitt, who has been elected as a co-opted member of Standing Committee.
Authors the Revd Nigel Cairns and the Revd Rebecca Guildea with their supervisors, Dr Katie Heffelfinger and Canon Dr Maurice Elliott. Photo credit: Lynn Glanville.
Main image: Dr Raymond Refaussé, Dr Susan Hood, the Revd Nigel Cairns, the Revd Rebecca Guildea, Dr Bridget Nichols, Bryan Whelan and Canon Dr Maurice Elliott at the launch of Braemor 9 and 10. Photo credit: Lynn Glanville.