On Saturday, 11th June 2022, the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross held their Diocesan Synod at the Rochestown Park Hotel in Douglas. It was the first in-person Diocesan Synod since 2019.
The day started with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist for the Feast of St Barnabas in St Luke’s Church, Douglas. The choir of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork sang at the service under the direction of Peter Stobart with Robbie Carroll, Assistant Director of Music, playing the organ.
At the Synod itself, the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Rev. Dr Paul Colton took the President’s Chair at 11am and the Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Ven. Adrian Wilkinson opened the proceedings with a reading and a prayer. The Diocesan Chancellor, Lyndon MacCann S.C. was nominated Assessor by the Bishop, a post which Mr MacCann has held now for the past twenty years. The Bishop welcomed special guests and a review video of the past months since the last Diocesan Synod was played, before appointments, retirements, resignations and jubilees were noted. Some significant anniversaries included that of Canon Peter Rhys Thomas, who marks fifty years of ordination as a Deacon and that of Brian Studdert, who has now served as a Reader for fifty-six years. There was a minute’s silence kept for all those who has died and to remember the late Roy Warke, former Bishop of the Diocese, and his wife Eileen, as well as Mrs Beth Mayes, wife of Bishop Michael Mayes, former Archdeacon of the Diocese. After these announcements, Helen Arnopp was elected as Lay Member of the Representative Church Body.
In his Presidential Address Bishop Paul Colton addressed the impact of the Corona Virus and the invasion by Russia of Ukraine, especially thanking the CEO of Protestant Aid, David Webb, who confirmed that Protestant Aid will donate €50,000 to fit and equip the houses at Kingston College for our Ukrainian families, and The ONE Foundation who donated €200,000 towards the same project. Bishop Paul also reflected on the work of the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Centenaries Commemoration and Reconciliation Project and especially on the work of Bishop Charles Dowse, who was Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross from 1912 to 1933. The full Presidential Address can be read here.
After words of thanks were spoken and remarks on the Presidential Address were made, former Diocesan Secretary Wilfred Baker shared Impressions from the General Synod of the Church of Ireland 2022 in Belfast. After that, Dr Simon Woodworth proposed the Report of the Diocesan Council, which was seconded by the Dean of Cloyne, the Very Rev. Susan Green. The Report was adopted unanimously. Peter Stobart proposed the Report of the Diocesan Board of Education, and it was seconded by the Rev. Anne Skuse. This report was also adopted unanimously. The report of the Diocesan Youth Council was proposed by Oriel Hosford, seconded by the Rev. David Bowles and adopted unanimously.
Two motions were proposed to the Diocesan Synod. The first motion called on the Diocesan Council to set up a working group to explore and address forms of exclusion within our Diocese. It was proposed by Stephen Spillane and seconded by Simon Elliott. The second motion called on the Synod to encourage each Select Vestry in the Diocese to consider their parish becoming a ‘Church of Sanctuary’. The motion was proposed by the Rev. Canon Alan Marley and it was seconded by the Rev. Canon Elaine Murray. Both motions were passed unanimously.
At the end of the Diocesan Synod, two presentations were given. The Rev. Tony Murphy spoke on the Burundi Project and an interview on the Cork Burundi Partnership can be watched on the Christian Aid Ireland YouTube Channel. The presentation on the project can be found here. The presentation on MindMatters CofI was given by Eddie Hallissey, Project Team Member at MindMatters CofI. The Diocesan Synod ended with a hymn and a blessing from the Bishop.