Observer: Impressions of my first Synod

by Shirley Kitchen

shirley-kitchen
Photo: Hollis Hiscock

I received my name tag labelled “Observer” at the registration table, paid $5 for a bag of food for the food drive (bags made available for those like me who forgot to bring a food item) and with my synod delegates made my way into the Cathedral.

Tables were set in rows to accommodate everyone and the place was buzzing with conversations.
Meeting familiar faces is always enjoyable. A chance to meet new people is always a bit tough for an introvert like me, but I am always glad when I do.

I came because I had recently been elected the alternate for our parish and I thought it would be good to see what Synod is like.

We opened with a hymn, Bring Forth the City of God. It was inspirational.

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Tables were set in rows to accommodate everyone and the place was buzzing with conversations. Photo: Hollis Hiscock

There was much to be thankful for as we listened to reports. Lay ministry is flourishing, Canterbury Hills is revitalized, Justice Camp was a success, the 140th Refugee Sponsorship Initiative had an amazing response (16 cases and 78 people have come with more on the way) and WOW (Walking On Water) grants have been put to good use.

Check out blessthecity.ca and how the parish at St. J & B Port Colbourne is reaching out to its neighbourhood aided by recording equipment purchased through a WOW grant.

We shared community outreach projects from our own parishes on sticky notes posted on the glass windows at the back. Then we developed the Bishop’s charge in table groups, “What hinders or challenges us, and how do we move ahead?” Hmmm. God, grant us grace to go in the right direction.

I listened to the report from General Synod—the most newsworthy part being the proposed change to the marriage canon.

As one with orthodox views on marriage and a strong belief in the Word of God, I am grieved.
We all heard about the strange proceedings with the voting at General Synod. I ask, “God, what are you showing us?”

It is not over yet. A second reading is needed in 2019 and then if passed same-sex marriage will officially be accepted in the Anglican Church of Canada.

Bishop Michael informed us that one marriage has taken place in our diocese. This is apparently justified through a pastoral loophole.

He also invited those present that they could have an opportunity to speak with him.

Personally, I feel a call to prayer. I can love and respect my fellow man without agreeing with them, and for me and many others the phobia and hate labels put on us are not appreciated.

That aside, our diocese and the committees involved need our prayers and support as they move ahead.

One committee is working to try and simplify the DM&M so that hours are not wasted correcting errors and each parish is fairly represented.

Another committee for Cathedral Place revitalization shared a new vision of what this project will look like and all the hurdles still need to be overcome.

God bless us with heavenly wisdom and help us to pray.

Shirley Kitchen actively participates in many ministries at her parish, Grace Church Milton.