Not normally a fan of Synod meetings, I have often approached them with a certain degree of caution and cynicism however, I found myself surprised and encouraged by the 25th Synod meetings at Carrara last month.
A sensitive Convocation of Ministers at Ashmore on the first day of the Synod meeting set a remarkable standard of community and established the tone for the meetings which followed.
Ministers, Deacons, Pastors and Youth Workers shared stories of their call, their passions, their struggles and their faith, and the spirit of God transformed the group through the worship, laughter, vulnerability, and tears.
As my friend Ian Lord said, “We got real today and that’s when it starts to bite.”
Moderators Chaplain Rev Glennis Johnston shared her dream that the Synod might maintain that spirit for the next five day, and not get caught up by the stuff “that can drag us down”.
Her prayers were answered.
The spirit of gentleness and openness pervaded the Synod gathering and even through the most potentially divisive discussions and deliberations there was a grace and generosity which amply illustrated the Gospel in action.
The highlights of the Synod’s time together were many.
From the multi-dimensional Synod celebration to a wildly energetic lunchtime game of touch football the participation and camaraderie was obvious.
Full credit should be given to the remarkable leadership of the new Moderator Rev Dr David Pitman whose wise guidance steered the meeting along helpful and reasonable paths.
Thanks is also due for the tireless work of many behind the scenes and behind the machines who fed and resourced the Synod for its task.
Best of all was the good humour which allowed people to relax and unwind and enjoy each other’s company.
As Sue Page put it in the Monday Bible study, ours is a God who laughs and gives us the freedom to laugh at ourselves.
As the stories and pictures in this edition of Journey demonstrate, it is good to be church. You can see it in their faces.