Synod 2022 by Jane Andrews

Last year, thirty minutes before I was supposed to get in the car to go to the Synod eucharist, I was desperately dumping the contents of my wardrobe onto the floor to find the perfect outfit for Synod. I settled on an outfit that I wasn’t comfortable in, desperate to conform to my idea of a ‘Christian’ and trying blend into the background. This year, I am happy to report that I have arranged my outfit a fortnight early, hanging up next to my graduation dress. Regardless of what I am wearing to Synod, I feel more comfortable about my place there, and my ability to bring my perspective to the conversation. This year, I hope to represent Anglican Church Robina well.

It is hard to represent something without knowing it well.

Firstly, you must understand what you are advocating for. There are twenty-one separate motions before Synod this year, ranging from current political and social issues to theological constructions of the core tenets of faith. To represent our church, I feel it is important to understand what I am voting on. I came to the conclusion that Synod motions, a bit like the Bible, should be read in context and with others. I talked to people inside and outside the church that would understand the context of the motion and why it was important to discuss. These conversations reminded me of the value of looking at everyone else’s perspectives and reasoning behind their beliefs. Motions that I hadn’t considered to be controversial were the ones that others identified as the most important issue. To represent us well, I realised I had to listen to all these perspectives and form my own conclusion.

Secondly, I realised it is important to know who you are representing. I often find that our church is unified in its difference. We understand that not everyone will think, believe, or act the same way, and that is a good thing. A great occasion that showed this was the ‘Hello’ Dinner we had recently, where people brought food from their culture and discussed the importance of being different. During the dinner, we all helped to attach the doves to the installation. Although we all contributed different things to the event, we all helped to bring it to life. We are all different and trying to find a unified perspective on an issue is challenging.

One part of Synod I am looking forward to is the Talking Circles. We can contribute to small group discussions on Enabling Flourishing Faith Communities. As I have pondered what this means for our church, I kept returning to the differences in our church. This Synod, I am preparing with this in mind. Our differences make us stronger; it helps us to rigorously examine our faith and contribute to something greater than ourselves. We must all listen to each other, celebrate that difference, and work toward understanding each other better.