Get ready for action. Synod is coming.
“It is easy to sit up and take notice, what is difficult is getting up and taking action.” – Honore de Balzac
And so we arrive at Synod again! The agenda has taken shape, the registrations start coming in, and all things are being prepared.
Synod attempts to be a time of both decision-making and celebration for the Church. Celebration, because we gather as a large community of the wider Church; and as a council to hear God speaking to us. Decision-making because there are crucial and vital issues facing the Church.
The Synod Standing Committee has been working hard on a strategy document and this will be presented to the full Synod meeting. The Synod budget needs to be confirmed, but it requires us to make some hard choices and decisions.
As a Church we have been reflecting under the Rev. Niall Reid’s leadership on the issue of property and its place within the Church. This will be just one of the issues we must wrestle with as we meet together in Council.
Bible studies will be led by Rev. Dr Jione Havea. We will elect a new Standing Committee as well as electing our members to the Assembly in 2015, to be held in Perth. We will also hear good news stories and we will be challenged by other people’s stories of hope and struggle.
We look forward this year to a presentation from the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress as well as a major presentation from Arda Agahazarian, a Palestinian Armenian woman who will tell of the current struggle of life for Christians in the land of Israel-Palestine. You can read more about Arda on our website as you begin to prepare for the coming Synod.
This year we hope to have a paperless Synod. We’ve developed an app in readiness, which will give people the ability to receive papers electronically. I encourage you to get online and discover how to start using this app in preparation for the Synod.
If you are not attending the Synod please pray for us! I anticipate this will be a Synod of difficult decisions.
The recent lectionary reading was on the feeding of the 5,000. I love that story. Its appearance in all four gospels is an indication of its importance in the life of the early Church.
The lesson I always take away from that story is that the disciples feel that their resources are hopelessly inadequate. When viewed logically, they are right! A few loaves and fish to feed a crowd of 5,000 (only men being counted) or perhaps 10,000 or more would not only have seemed daunting, but ludicrous.
But the point of our faith is that we bring what we have, we do what we can, we offer it to Jesus, who blesses it, gives thanks, then gives the resources back to us that we might get on with the task of serving a needy world.
Whenever we feel we are struggling with inadequate resources; that our numbers are small; that our frailty is showing, it is here that we are required to bring what we have; to do what we can, and to trust Jesus for the rest. This should be the mood with which we approach our Synod meeting and our life in the Church at this time. Let us not be distracted by trivial things or “fiddle while Rome burns”. This surely is a time for action.
Rev. Dr Andrew Williams, General Secretary