Synod is not an AGM

Fr Gwilym Henry-Edwards, parish priest at St Bede’s Semaphore, has kindly allowed us to share his thoughtful reflection ahead of Synod this weekend.

Dear friends,

Fr Gwilym Henry-Edwards

October is Synod in Adelaide. The Synod Eucharist is on Friday 14th October and Synod concludes on Sunday 16th, “no later than 6.00pm” according to the announcement.

The word Synod comes from the Greek words meaning “On the way together” which sounds like a walk in convivial company, perhaps in a woodland scene.

Synod can be a useful, invigorating experience, or it can be deadly dull, or it can be controversial.

It reminds us that being a Christian in the company of other Christians is not always “a walk in the park” but can be a heated discussion about the route to be taken.

Synod needs to remind itself constantly that it is not the AGM of a corporate entity, but is the body of Christ coming together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

So among the necessary legislation, financial reports and procedural motions, we, the body of Christ in Adelaide, struggle to find a way forward in a changing and changeable world.

We live in a country where the Christian church is quite rightly criticised for its shortcomings and failures. As well, the faith itself is often maligned and misunderstood. Not an easy place to be.

In these hard times, Synods need to remember that the Gospel of Christ is actually very simple. In six words; love God, love others, love yourself.

In the forthcoming Synod, please pray for me and Karen Fagan, as your representatives with all attending, from Archbishop Geoffrey to the newest of representatives. Especially think of the Registrar, Mr Joe Thorp, the staff of Church Office, the technicians who run the audio visual content and all who facilitate the discussions.

Pray that the Synod may listen to the Holy Spirit, the still small voice, and have the wisdom to make decisions which are courageous, just, righteous and useful. And having made decisions, to have the grace, patience and fortitude to fulfil them.