Covenant Council – COI Synod Report & Motions

Posted by admin on April 23, 2014  /   Posted in News

REPORT OF THE COVENANT COUNCIL TO THE CHURCHES 2014 – This report was presented to both COI Synod and Methodist Conference

MEMBERSHIP

Church of Ireland

  • The Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh (Co-Chair)
  • Ms Elva Byrne
  • Very Rev Nigel Dunne
  • Rev Dr Maurice Elliott
  • Rev Barry Forde (Secretary)
  • Rev Canon Ginnie Kennerley
  • Rev Dr Peter Thompson
  • Vacant

Methodist

  • Rev Winston Graham (Co-Chair)
  • Rev Donald Ker
  • Rev Andrew Dougherty
  • Rev Janet Unsworth
  • Rev Louise Donald
  • Ms Gillian Kingston
  • Dr Fergus O’Ferrall
  • Mr Nigel Beattie

Interchangeability of Ministry

The primary focus of the Covenant Council has been on the proposals on Interchangeability of Ministry. The Bill before General Synod in 2014 builds on the Agreed Principles presented to, and received by, the General Synod in 2010 and 2011. It is the considered opinion of the Covenant Council that the Bill is a reflection of the mind of Synod to take a significant step forward in realising the aspirations of the 2002 Covenant between the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland. If passed, it will open up new doors of ecumenical opportunity for both traditions as we seek to carry out the mission of God in Ireland. It is the hope of the Covenant Council that General Synod continues to affirm the journey we have been on together, and provides for the interchangeability of ordained ministries between our two denominations.

The Covenant Council is aware that, if the Bill on interchangeability is passed, it will help pave the way for further development and consideration of how lay ministries might work together, recognising the potential role that the Covenant may play in the Church of Ireland Commission on Ministry and Pioneer Ministry.

Local Covenant Partnerships and Projects

The Covenant Council is delighted to see links continue to grow between the Church of Ireland Theological Institute and Edgehill College. In the area of Pioneer Ministry there were attendees from both the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland at conference on Pioneer Ministry hosted by Rev Ric Thorpe, St Mellitus College in London. There are further plans to grow and develop these links. During the week of prayer for Christian Unity a Methodist Communion Service, presided over by the Covenant Council member Rev Andrew Dougherty took place at the Theological Institute, with Rev Barry Forde sharing in the Ministry of the Word. There are a number of partnerships and projects that continue to grow. In January 2014, the Church on the Hill in Maghaberry took a significant step forward in a service of celebration to mark the signing of a Local Covenant Partnership, signed by the Rt Rev Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore and Rev Kenneth Robinson, District Superintendent for the Portadown District. The Church of the Good Shepherd and Primacy in Bangor continue to further the work of the Covenant, whilst the Covenant at Queen’s University, Belfast continues to be further consolidated. During Holy Week 2013 a team from QUB Chaplaincy participated in a week of outreach by the Church of Ireland parish and the Methodist church in the town of Strabane, and in 2014 a similar week of outreach took place in the Joint Project at Glencraig, in North Belfast. The Covenant Council continues to encourage all dioceses and parishes to look for opportunities in which the Covenant might be of assistance for ministry and mission.

Membership

The Covenant Council is thankful for the role of Rev Denis Campbell who acted as Presbyterian Observer on Council for a number of years and looks forward to his successor being appointed by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in due course.

Covenant

Council also wishes to propose Mr Harold Giboney as a Church of Ireland successor to the role vacated by Mr Cyril McElhinney.

Website

The Covenant Council website, www.covenantcouncil.com has been revised, with a forum page for Covenant Facilitators and worship resources and Covenant Council booklets available for download.

Covenant Celebration

The Covenant Council is conscious that the month of September is a very busy month in the life of many parishes. Covenant Council has previously encouraged congregations to celebrate the Covenant relationship with neighbouring Methodist congregations on or around September 26 each year. Following deliberation Covenant Council agreed that an alternative date in the year might prove more accessible for many congregations. It was agreed that the 24th May, John Wesley Day in the Church of England, is a suitable date and Covenant Council encourages all churches to consider celebrating the Covenant on or around this date.

Motions to propose at General Synod

The Covenant Council also proposes the following motions for the consideration of the General Synod this year:

“That the following be elected as Church of Ireland representatives on the Covenant Council for the coming year:

  • The Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh (Co-Chair)
  • Ms Elva Byrne
  • Very Rev Nigel Dunne
  • Rev Dr Maurice Elliott
  • Rev Barry Forde
  • Mr Harold Giboney
  • Rev Canon Ginnie Kennerley
  • Rev Dr Peter Thompson”

‘That General Synod continues to encourage congregations to celebrate the Covenant relationship with neighbouring Methodist congregations on or around John Wesley Day, 24th May each year.’

Comments are closed.

^ Back to Top