This year’s General Synod will take place in the Millennium Forum, Derry/Londonderry, between Thursday 16 May, and Saturday 18 May. This is the second ordinary meeting of the 51st General Synod and will be presided over by the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Richard Clarke.
Business will be preceded by The General Synod Service of Holy Communion in St Columb’s Cathedral at 10.30am on Thursday where the preacher will be Bishop Ferran Glenfield.
The Diocese of Down and Dromore sends 120 delegates – 30 clerical and 90 lay.
By the closing date for circulation, the Honorary Secretaries had received three Bills for consideration by the General Synod:
- Bill No. 1 – to make provision for Holy Communion by Extension for persons unable to be present at the public celebration;
- Bill No. 2 – to make provision for the Service of Prayer and Naming and the Funeral Service in cases of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death; and
- Bill No. 3 – to transfer a portion of the Diocese of Achonry to the Diocese of Elphin, to transfer the United Dioceses of Tuam, Killala and Achonry from the Province of Armagh to the Province of Dublin, to unite under one bishop the two United Dioceses of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, and Limerick and Killaloe, in the event of a future vacancy, and for associated matters.
Among the motions will be a proposal from the Standing Committee in relation to synodical representation, and a joint proposal from the Standing Committee and the Representative Body to affirm the Church’s commitment to meeting its obligations under data protection legislation.
Following a review, the Board of Education (NI) has identified a new way forward for meeting the current and future needs of education and the Church. To this end, a motion to update the Board’s definition and remit in the Constitution will be brought before General Synod.
The Representative Church Body report will note that during 2018, the total funds available to the RCB decreased by 7.5% to €179.3 million (from €193.9 million). Total expenditure from the General Funds and other central funds decreased from €7.2 million to €7.0 million.
Significant matters dealt with by the Standing Committee included the establishment of a Working Group on Synodical Representation and a special all–day meeting of the Standing Committee to discuss its work, the establishment of a Consultative Group on Disability, and the approval of a conflict of interest policy for parishes and Church of Ireland bodies and committees.
The Board of Education (RI) has liaised with government in relation to a wide range of issues, including school admissions, leadership and management, and special education teaching supports.
The Bishops’ Appeal and the Council for Mission will present the findings of a scoping study, approved at last year’s General Synod, to identify the gaps and overlaps in the Church’s response to justice issues.
For further information and to follow Synod business, please go to the General Synod website. There will be an audio broadcast during General Synod whilst the hashtag #coigs will be used for Facebook and Twitter as well as other social media outlets.
Information on parking, public transport and accommodation may be found at this link.
With thanks to the Honorary Secretaries of the General Synod