A big thank you to all those who participated in the 32nd Synod.
One of the things you learn when being a follower of Jesus is the capacity to be surprised. So when about 120 people gathered during Synod to talk about contemplative prayer with Dr Neil Preston, who delivered the Norman and Mary Millar lecture, I was a bit surprised.
Neil came to us to speak about the place of the gospel in western thought and imagination, yet he struck a chord when he articulated the call of the Spirit in his life to take up the disciplines of contemplative prayer.
Contemplative prayer may sound strange and unfamiliar, but it’s not really. It’s simple, but it requires discipline and persistence.
In a church that is strong on being in solidarity with others, on being active in serving others, Neil reminded us of the importance of ‘silence’ (be present to God for who God is; “be still and know that I am God”), and of what he called ‘solitude’ (being oneself before God, and hearing God’s message to us; “you are my beloved child”).
We all had an opportunity to participate in contemplative prayer as a part of the small group work at Synod. If you’d like to know more, talk to your minister, or someone who was at Synod!
The Synod did some important work in discerning directions for the next few years. It took in a lot of information from the life of the church, and from members’ own lives and experience.
The priority themes identified were:
- To be Christ-centred, at Prayer, and listening
- Connecting with communities
- Youth, children and families.
These priorities will guide our life over the next few years.
It’s greatly heartening to me that we are being called to centre our life in Christ—to find our foundation and confidence in the faithfulness of Christ, and in Christ’s capacity, in Word and Sacrament, and in the Stranger, to be present to us and reveal himself to us.
The other priorities are encouraging also, because they direct us away from worrying about preserving an institution, about surviving or being sustainable, towards growing people and living our faith in our context.
So these priorities ask that we find our confidence and our hope in Christ, in Christ’s life in us. They ask us to be a sign and foretaste of the promised reign of God.
Rev David Baker
Moderator, Queensland Synod