The Bishop of Cork, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton recently stood down as a member of the Church of Ireland Board of Education (Republic of Ireland) on which he had served for fifteen years, and as chairperson of the Secondary Education Committee, a post he held for seventeen years. “It’s important that roles and jobs such as this ‘go round’ and that different people have the opportunity to get involved and to give leadership”, he said. ‘Also, for the first time in twenty-seven years I am not chairperson of a school board primary or second level, somewhere in the State; at one time I was chairing three school boards,’ he added.
The Secondary Education Committee (SEC), which administers the Protestant Block Grant, entertained Bishop Colton to dinner recently, and the members presented him with their gift: glasses and a decanter engraved with the logos of the founding members of the SEC (the Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and the Religious Society of Friends).
Bishop Colton said:
I am very touched by my colleagues’ gift. The SEC is an ecumenical body and that has made it avery enriching experience. Also, through the grants it awards, it makes a very real difference in the education of young people.
I could easily have drifted along in these voluntary roles within the Church nationally, but drifting like that is not good governance, in my view. This decision also comes at a natural break for me as, for the first time in twenty-seven years I am not the chairperson of a school board, primary or second level, somewhere in the State; at one time I was chairing three school boards. Of course, this not mean that my engagement in education issues ends. In this Diocese, I am patron of primary schools, co-patron of a second level school and a governor of two others. So I will still be keeping a watchful eye on education matters as they develop nationally, from a strong local perspective.