24 June 2014

Saying farewell to old friends
and welcoming some new ones

At High Leigh during a coffee break at the Us conference today (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerford

At the end of a long day’s work at the annual conference of Us, the Council of Us held its annual meeting at the High Leigh Conference Centre near Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire.

I represent the Church of Ireland on the Council of Us (along with the Revd Lynne Gibson who cannot be at this year’s meeting). The other members of the Church of Ireland on Council include the Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory, the Right Revd Michael Burrows, who is a Trustee of the London-based parent body, Us (formerly USPG) and Jan de Bruijn, who is also a director of Us Ireland and Us Northern Ireland.

The Revd Dr Alan McCormack, who I once worked with closely in the Dublin University Far Eastern Mission, was here today as the Council member for the Diocese of London; Linda Chambers de Bruijn is here as a staff member of Us Ireland, and board members of Us Ireland here include the Revd Richard Bartlett, who is also a trustee of Us, and Mrs Yoshimi Gregory from the Diocese of St Albans.

We had financial matters, accounts, reports, and some constitutional matters to deal with this evening, as well as the appointment of auditors.

Among the new Vice-President we elected this evening are: the Revd Canon Edgar Ruddock, former Deputy General Secretary of Us/USPG; Bishop William Down; the Revd Brian Stevenson (Diocese of Rochester), and the Right Revd Mauricio José Araújo de Andrade, Primate of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil It was a privilege to second their nominations.

We heard about the resignation of two trustees due to the pressure of work, the Right Revd Andrew Proud, Bishop of Reading, and the Ven Dr John Perumbalath, who has become Archdeacon of Barking in the Diocese of Chelmsford since the last residential meeting in High Leigh.

In addition, three trustees have completed their term of term of office: the Right Revd Dr Jacob Ayeebo, Bishop of Tamale, Ghana; the Right Revd Edward Malecdan, Prime Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines; and the Revd Dr Ian Rock, Principal of Codrington College, Barbados.

We elected a new trustee, the Revd Bunmi Fagbemi (Diocese of London), elected Mr Roger Hird to the Council, and said farewell to some former council members who are retiring.

Before the end of the day, the Revd Dr Andrew Wingate spoke about his excitement at recovering some paintings that he thought had been lost with the sale of the College of the Ascension in Birmingham, where he had once been Principal.

The conference continues tomorrow [Wednesday] morning, and concludes at noon with the Eucharist. Bishop Jacob Ayeebo, one of the retiring trustees, is presiding, and the preacher is the Chief Executive of Us, Ms Janette O’Neill.

Walking in the Hertfordshire countryside near High Leigh, outside Hoddesdon, this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

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