The three-day Church of Ireland General Synod got underway at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Galway, on Tuesday, May 13 at 11am.
The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Reverend Alan Harper delivered his Presidential address shortly after Synod opened.
In it he reflected on the recent visit by the four Irish Church leaders to the Holy Land at the invitation of Trócaire and Christian Aid. Archbishop Harper joined Cardinal Seán Brady, the Rev Roy Cooper, President of the Methodist Church and the Rev John Finlay for a four day visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The Archbishop also outlined a vision for the Church of Ireland in the 21st Century developed by the House of Bishops with particular reference to changes in the training of clergy for ministry in the Church. Download the Archbishop’s Presidential address in full here.
Among other things discussed on day one of Synod were four bills, pensions and the report of the Church in Society Committee.
Preaching in St Nicholas Collegiate Church in Galway at a Eucharist for members of the Church of Ireland General Synod on the evening of Tuesday May 13, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr John Neill stated that the crisis in the Anglican Communion “can be viewed positively.”
His comments come in the lead up to the 14th Lambeth Conference when for the third time he, along with the Archbishop of Armagh and the other Bishops of the Church of Ireland will travel to Canterbury, England, for a once a decade conference of worldwide Anglican Bishops.
Speaking on the broad topic of unity in diversity, the Archbishop said: “In the Church of Ireland, we have set a great store by the fact that we have been able to remain one in times of deep political division, and in spite of the fact that our ministry, North and South, is in a very different context.
"This is something that must not be taken for granted.”
Archbishop Neill's full sermon can be downloaded here.
The main event on day two will be the visit by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, the first time ever that a President of Ireland will have addressed General Synod. She will be welcomed by the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin and the Mayor of Galway, Cllr Tom Costello before having lunch with the Bishops of the Church of Ireland and invited guests. At 2pm she will address the full General Synod.
On day two, General Synod will also discuss the report of the Representative Church body (dealing with property, investment and finances) and Standing Committee (dealing with policy and ecumenical matters).
At 7pm the Mayor of Galway will host a reception for the members of General Synod in St Nicholas Collegiate Church, Galway.
The main event on day three will be the discussion of the report of the Board of Education. Also due to be discussed are the reports of the Church of Ireland Marriage Council and the Boards of Social Responsibility.