General synod votes in favour of covenant

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THE general synod of the Church of Ireland has voted in favour of the Anglican Covenant.

A motion, approved by the synod delegates, said: “’Seeing that the Anglican Covenant is consonant with the doctrines and formularies of the Church of Ireland, the General Synod hereby subscribes the covenant.”

The vote was passed by a large majority of the house of representatives.

The House of Bishops also voted as a separate body, approving the motion, also by a large majority.

The covenant reads: “We, as Churches of the Anglican Communion, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, solemnly covenant together in these following affirmations and commitments.

“As people of God, drawn from every nation, tribe, people and language, we do this in order to proclaim more effectively in our different contexts the grace of God revealed in the gospel, to offer God’s love in responding to the needs of the world, to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and together with all God’s people to attain the full stature of Christ.”

The Church of Ireland motion was proposed by the bishop of Cashel and Ossory, the Rev Michael Burrows, and seconded by the bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rev Harold Miller.

In the course of the synod debate it was stressed that the word “subscribe” in relation to the covenant, rather than “adopt”, was important.

Subscribing the covenant is an indication that the Church of Ireland has put its collective name to and aligned with it, through the Anglican Communion.

The covenant sits under the preamble and declaration of the church and does not affect the sovereignty of the Church of Ireland or mean any change in doctrine.

Meanwhile, a new book entitled The Extra Mile was launched at the general synod in Armagh. It is designed to help churches find new and imaginative ways to serve practical needs in their local community.

Archbishop Michael Jackson said: “The Extra Mile encourages people of all generations to do simple things.

“It manages to communicate that it is the simple things people do that can make the real difference.”

‘The Extra Mile’ was written by two members of the Church of Ireland diocese of Derry and Raphoe – the Rev Robert Miller and Rev Earl Storey.

n A service of thanksgiving and dedication on June 9 will mark the completion of renovation work at St Columb’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Londonderry. Work has been carried out over the past 18 months on the ancient 17th cathedral.