Positivity abounds in God’s autumnal hue
Orange is the colour card that members of Synod show when they agree with a speaker or a proposal. When all the cards are orange, we have consensus. It is the way we say “Yes, I agree”. A blue card says “no”.
I should hasten to add that Synod members were not just a bunch of “yes” people. There were a few things we could not agree about, and sometimes we had to say “no” as a way of getting to “yes”. However, with the Spirit’s guidance, we were able to maintain a strong respect for those who spoke, and hopefully, a safe place for all to explore that which was put in front of us for discussion and decision.
The overwhelming sense was of a community of faith working out of its ethos of inclusion, hospitality and social justice, deciding to say “yes” to many important things, including:
• Endorsing the efforts of the leadership team of the General Secretary and Executive Directors of Boards in working together to bring about the structural changes called for by Synod 2011, and to break down barriers between their respective groups;
• Affirming Fair Trade as a way to support primary producers in poorer nations in getting a fair price for their goods, and encouraging all parts of the church to use and promote Fair Trade products;
• Agreeing to act against global warming by the Synod divesting itself of its investments in companies that extract fossil fuels, and investing in renewable energy;
• Encouraging the NSW Government to make greater efforts to protect important agricultural land, vital water resources including underground aquifers, and fragile ecosystems from coal seam gas exploration and other mining.
Perhaps the biggest “yes” was shown by the participation in worship that placed God at the centre of the Synod’s life, and expressed itself in a vibrant and multi-cultural way. Each day’s program, which was preceded by prayer gatherings, featured a one-and-a-half hour worship service that inspired us to keep Christ in our hearts and minds through the other matters.
I thank the many people who gave so much of themselves to the life of this Synod. More than anything, I personally appreciated the prayer that upheld me and others through four days of intense focus.
As I now enter the second half of my time as moderator, my orange card is for the theme of the 2013 Synod: Uniting for the Common Good.
My message to the Synod is for us all: “Friends, I urge you to see that we have much more reason to be positive and hopeful than to be negative and critical.
Yes, our limitations are obvious, and at times cruelly exposed by the prophets, ancient and modern. Yet Christ calls us on, and calls us anew to a deeper spirituality that enables a more profound experience of God. In this divine space, on this holy ground, our compassion becomes deeper, our desire more passionate to see the flourishing of all.”
Rev. Dr Brian Brown