Come Holy Spirit, Renew Our Hearts
Once again, on 16-19 April the Synod of NSW and the ACT will meet to discern God’s will for our Church in The Great Hall at Knox Grammar School in Wahroonga on Sydney’s North Shore.
The Synod Meeting is an Annual General Meeting of approximately 350 members across the Uniting Church in Australia’s Synod of NSW and the ACT. Members are elected by Presbyteries across the Synod. These elected members join with office holders, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress members, youthful members and meet for four days every 18 months.
Discussion on the life and mission of the Church and a variety of reports from around the organisation are shared and tabled via group sessions and questions from the meeting floor.
The theme this year follows on from the Triennial Assembly in Perth which was “Hearts on Fire” and continues the call for renewal and commitment to the values, mission and faithfulness amongst it’s membership to the continued work of the Uniting Church in the world. The Moderator Rev. Myung Hwa Park has said of the Synod Meeting 2016 theme “Come Holy Spirit, Renew Our Hearts,” that: “as we meet, we wait on the Holy Spirit to enliven and renew our sense of mission, purpose and calling in our communities and our state.”
The Moderator’s prepared the liturgy for the event and this will direct worship and Bible study over throughout the event.
Come, Holy Spirit, Renew our hearts
renew our faith;
renew our love for you;
renew our openness and compassion;
renew our sense of justice .
Come, Holy Spirit, Renew your Church
renew our love for the Gospel;
renew the liveliness of our worship;
renew our commitment for the care for the poor;
renew the church in its understanding of its calling.
Come, Holy Spirit, Renew the Earth
teach us to protect our environment
teach us to care for other people as our own brothers and sisters;
teach us to imagine all living things as we are connected to each other;
So may the peoples and all living things live in harmony with the earth.
“The theme – Come Holy Spirit, Renew Our Hearts – is a call for all who are attending to come open to meeting in community knowing that Christ is in the midst of this. Our hope is for members to be open to a spirit of renewal and where Christ is leading us as a Church,” says General Secretary, Rev. Dr Andrew Williams of the event.
“I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to pray for the meeting. Pray for the people in the Secretariat and Communications teams who have worked tirelessly to bring the event together. Pray for the members, that they will come expectant and open. Pray for the Moderator and myself, who will be leading the meeting in various capacities. Most of all pray that as we gather we seek God’s will for the life, mission and future of the Church.”
Fr Stephen Bevans, SVD will be the featured guest speaker for the event. Fr Bevans is a Roman Catholic priest in the Society for the Divine Word, an international missionary congregation, and serves for nine years as a missionary in the Philippines. He has published numerous books on the subject of mission and missiology and in 2014 was one of the four Catholics appointed by the Vatican to the Commission on Wolrd Mission and Evangelisation at the World Council of Churches. He will bring prespective, encouragement and wisdom to the meeting with regard to our mission in the world.
This year at Synod 2016 members will elect a Moderator to begin their term in September 2016. The meeting will undergo some changes in how we engage members with Open Space being used in Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning sessions. These sessions are intended to provide a marketplace of diverse ideas and opinions and the sessions will be facilitated by Andrew Rixon. Members will be able to create and manage their own agenda of parallel working sessions around the central theme “Renewing our Church – the issues and opportunities”.