Synod! It’s coming!
Are you excited?
Are you expecting God to turn up, for the Holy Spirit to be manifested in wonderful and amazing ways?
Are you expecting the Synod to inspire the church, set new directions, and call us to rise to the challenges of the day? Do you believe that it will be a witness to and an example of the way we might live our Christian lives in community?
Are you praying? Are you praying that it will be so?
Are you supporting and encouraging those you are sending that they may come not only to attend but also to participate, to think and to pray about what it is that Synod is called to say to the church, to our community, our nation, the world?
There is expressed in the Basis of Union an expectation that Christ will speak through the councils of the church. The Synod is one of four councils referred to in the Basis of Union whose task it is “to wait upon God’s Word and obey God’s will in matters allocated to its oversight.”
With that responsibility in mind, this year Synod is going to take on a different form. Instead of having worship in the context of the business meeting of Synod, the business of Synod will take place in the context of worship.
Synod will not begin with an opening worship and end with a closing worship — Synod will be worship and over four days, insofar as it is possible, Synod will follow the pattern of a worship service through which will be woven the business of Synod.
Each table group will be a small worship community and I will be encouraging members to bring their Bibles and any prayer or other resources that might help the members of the table group to participate in worship and, through the worship, participate in the business of the Synod.
As we are intentional about our worship of God, I pray that our business will also be an act of worship.
I would ask those who are coming to Synod to prepare themselves not only by reading the papers they will receive but also through prayer and reflection, both individually and with others in their congregations and presbyteries.
My hope is that members will come to Synod prepared to worship God, wait upon God’s word and with expectation that Christ will speak through the Synod to the church and the world.
The vision of the Synod is “Moving with God – Transforming Communities”.
We say we will achieve this by being “courageous, inclusive and generous”.
Picking up the first word, the theme for the 2007 Synod was “With Grace and courage”.
In 2008 the theme will be “Called to be inclusive”. It is hoped that Synod will express the spirit of this theme, not necessarily by asking every possible representative group to take a part, make a presentation or, in some way, be catered for, but rather by seeking to be accessible to all.
I hope that members of Synod will come with an open mind, a willing spirit and a grace-full heart and that those not coming will commit themselves to upholding the Synod in prayer both now and when the Synod meets to worship God for four days from September 27.