October 16th through the 18th was this year’s Synod for the Anglican Diocese of Rupert’s Land. Jamie Howison, Lorne Penner, and myself attended as delegates representing saint benedict’s table, and although both Jamie and Lorne had been to synods in the past, this was my first time attending. The basic outline of synod is as follows:
- Thursday evening is a worship service in which the bishop gives an address outliving his vision for the future of the dioceses and setting the tone for the rest of the weekend.
- Friday has presentations by various groups within the dioceses on a range of subjects along with voting on motions that came out of the bishop’s address. Interspersed throughout the day are a couple of short meditations by a speaker on specific biblical texts.
- Saturday morning has voting on who should sit on the diocesan council for next two years, along with the election of delegates to both the provincial and national synod. It then continues with more presentations, short meditations, and motions that were submitted to the synod either in advance of the weekend or during the day on Saturday.
So the synod is really a big meeting where the business of the dioceses is discussed. In years past there have been contentious motions raised, but this year was fairly smooth sailing. Motions on giving parish leaders more knowledge on mental health, creating canons to govern the diaconate, and approving the budget all passed without much, if any, descent. One motion that did generate concerns from Jamie and myself—not on the intent of the motion which was to examine how the church’s culpability with the Native Residential School effects our relationship with God, but on the theological language that was used in the wording of it—gave us both the opportunity to address the synod with our theological concerns. After discussion a friendly amendment was made to alter the wording and the motion was passed.
Although there were things that occurred during the synod that caused me to wish other Anglicans would adapt some of the sensibilities of saint benedict’s (Not the least of which was the decision to sing all 7 verses of “All Creatures of Our God and King”), the synod was overall an enjoyable experience. It gave me an opportunity to meet Anglicans from other churches that I would never have met without this event. During a discussion time, and then again during dinner on Friday the table I was at had a good exchange of thoughts and ideas involving people from at least saint benedict’s, St. Margret’s, Holy Trinity, and St. Matthews on topics that ranged from the future of the church to the parish system of church organization. If such discussions and connections can come out of the synod each year, I am more then willing to sit through the parts that I find less appealing.