Irish Synod backs changes to election of bishops

15 May 2015

CHURCH OF IRELAND

Massed choirs: festival evensong on Sunday, part of a music outreach project at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. More than 180 singers from 22 diocesan parish-church choirs took part

Massed choirs: festival evensong on Sunday, part of a music outreach project at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. More than 180 singers from 22 dioce...

PROPOSED changes to the procedure by which bishops are elected were outlined in a motion brought before the Church of Ireland's General Synod.

The Synod was asked to accept the position report of the Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures; acknowledge the need for change; and ask the commission to bring a Bill to the next Synod to reform the procedure for electing bishops along the lines proposed.

They include the provision that when a bishop announces his or her intention to resign, the Archbishop will appoint a facilitator to meet episcopal electors from the diocese concerned. The part played by the facilitator will be to help draw up a draft diocesan profile and statement of needs.

The proposer, the Revd Stephen Farrell (Dublin), told the Synod: "This will allow a diocese to take stock: to consider, as clergy and people together, the needs of the diocese going forward."

The Electoral College will then set up a discernment sub-committee to compile a shortlist of three to five names for consideration by the Electoral College.

"Where an election is made, the consent of the person elected is obtained before their name is passed to the House of Bishops. The role of the House of Bishops is unchanged, save that the Discernment Committee liaises with the House of Bishops, and gets their input just before it prepares its shortlist."

If no candidate is elected, the College may choose to ask the President of the College to summon a third meeting of the College within one month, and ask the Discernment Committee to bring forward additional names for consideration at that date. Alternatively, if the College does not elect, it can opt to pass the election to the House of Bishops.

The motion was carried.

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