An archdeacon views Synod

by Suzanne Craven

Synod — any year — I just love it!

I’m there early (also to find parking) and I love to watch as the space slowly fills with colleagues from all over the Diocese. I think I have attended 20 Synods now — as a student, intern, priest, Canon and Archdeacon. In my latter position, with the opportunity to move around the region, I am also getting to know the lay delegates from other parishes, so this is another opportunity to interact with the larger Diocesan family.
2017: Before we started, there was a real buzz in the room — yet tangibly, a different buzz.

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Bishop gives his charge to synod. Photo: Hollis Hiscock

This would be our Bishop’s final Synod and Charge to the Diocese of Niagara. For some lay delegates and also some clergy, Bishop Michael is the only bishop they have known in their tenure of serving as lay or clergy reps of their parishes.

The atmosphere, to me, was charged with a nostalgic glow of thanksgiving for our Bishop, of anticipation as we awaited the Charge, of acknowledgement as Archbishop Colin Johnson spoke of this time of transition and change for all of us. (How many Anglicans does it take to change … anything?)

One of my colleagues referred to Synod this year as a “Love-in”. Maybe it was. The standing ovation following Bishop Michael’s Charge, and the standing ovation in agreement with the final motion of thanks to our Bishop, could only speak to the love, admiration and acknowledgement of the work and leadership he has provided, not only in the Diocese, but in the wider Anglican Communion over the last 10 years.

Bishop Michael has brought many gifts to this episcopacy, with a quiet yet strong confidence of God’s direction for us. We have succeeded on so many fronts from those challenging early years of dissident churches and challenging economy to which he referred in his charge. We took hold of the vision and flourished in many exciting new ministries.

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A standing ovation for Bishop Michael followed the passing of a motion thanking him for his courageous, inspiring leadership over the past 10 years. Photo: Bill Mous

As an Archdeacon only for the last two years, I have been privy to the inner workings of our relationship with the Diocese, privy to support wonderful examples of ministry in our Trafalgar parishes and very grateful to serve our Bishop.

God bless us all as a Diocesan family, strong to serve those in every walk of life, as we proclaim the Good News of our faith.

The Venerable Suzanne Craven is Archdeacon of Trafalgar.