Update from Synod 2018 – St. James Westminster Anglican Church
It has been a few weeks since your delegates and clergy attended the Diocese of Huron’s 2018 Synod – also dubbed by the Bishop the Sauna Synod! In writing this report it is hard to know where to start. Why do we go to Synod? Well the obvious answer is that we are your elected representatives charged with advising and voting on key issues of the church in this Diocese. But there are lots of other reasons too. There is something about being with swarms of other Anglicans all there for a common purpose, examining issues, investigating new ideas, receiving reports, exchanging ideas, studying the bible and worshipping together – it is an awe inspiring and resounds in doxology –glory to god whose power working in us can do more than we can ask or imagine!
One of the key moments of Synod for me (Judy) occurred early on. It was Bishop Linda’s homily at the Sunday Evening Service. She spoke of her time in Assissi, walking the same streets as Saint Francis and St Clair, visiting the places of prayer. She spoke of the “thin places”- places where the presence of God is tangible to us in new ways. She felt Assissi was one of those places. She spoke of going to the Church of Santa Damiano – the ruined church where Francis came to pray and heard the voice of God calling him to “rebuild my church”.
And Francis did –he rebuilt the physical church – and then realized God intended him to rebuild the body of the church – to renew the life of the people of God and to share God’s word. Bishop Linda said this is the call of every Christian! How relevant is this story to us here at Saint James. We are being called to rebuild our church physically- to make repairs to make the building sound. But more importantly we are being called to rebuild the church – to make it grow and to become an even more vibrant part of this community!
There were many other highlights of synod. The primates address, the thoughtful and informative Q & A with Bishop Linda and Archbishop Fred on the Marriage Canon, Bible study with Bishop Terry, tributes to churches who have closed, reports from various diocesan committees. The Bridge Builders (which is a Diocesan task force on the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery) presentation was particularly poignant with the sharing of personal witness stories in the midst of difficulty. While the content was often hard and disturbing to hear the tone of the presenters was hopeful and significant progress is being made.
On a lighter note, there was also an ingenious fundraiser by the youth involving taking buses to Thunder Bay – many buses ending up in the ditch, having a flat tire or losing a youth enroute! London Deanery did not win (although John Sizeland is a lot poorer for trying) but we did not lose either. All in good fun.
Synod 2018 was basically a good news Synod. Reports were positive. There were no divisive motions- no angry speeches etc. John gave the report on the Finances of the Diocese and it was very positive. The ACW presented 3 cheques of $50,000 one to Bishop Linda for Diocesan work, one to the Ministry to the North and one to Huron Church Camp for a capital project! There was an exciting and heartfelt presentation from Huron Church camp – with again good news in how the camp is impacting the lives and faith of young people around the diocese and beyond.
You might wonder in what ways Saint James is involved in or supports Synod?
Of course your delegates and clergy attend to see to the business of synod but there are many others involved! There was the crew that volunteer at the synod BBQ Randy and Ron Cripps, Carolyn Fryer, Sarah Mills, Marlene Chapman, Jen and Tom Porawski.
Then there was Duncan Sizeland representing the youth of London deanery. Laura Manias who was a youth chaperone. There was Chris Hughesman who not only stepped into a delegate spot at synod but was also inducted as a diocesan server -a new role for the diocese. Elizabeth King was there in her role of St John’s ambulance. Maggie Ryan participated as a gifted speaker in the Huron church camp presentation. Then there were those managed various booths at synod – Jack Sizeland, Libi Clifford, Ann Debono – I have probably left out others. Saint James certainly has a presence!
Going to Synod is a gift and an honour. If you are interested in more information about Synod, please talk to any of us! The Huron Church News is full of articles about this year’s Synod and both the Bishop’s Homily and Bishop’s charge are on the Diocesan Website. We also have copies if you would one we will get it to you. Each year we return with a renewed energy, vision and purpose. For us the call to rebuild our church is a very personal and relevant one. We can do this! Thank you for allowing us to be your representatives at Synod. Let the work of rebuilding our church both here in this place and beyond begin today!