“Stewarding God’s Gifts for Mission” is the theme for the 149th Synod of the Diocese of Niagara, aptly chosen by Bishop Susan Bell.
Members will explore and pray on this theme as a lens through which to contemplate the matters coming before the Synod. A passage from 1 Peter, chapter 4 verses 8 through 12, serves as the biblical foundation for this year’s theme. It exhorts us to love one another deeply in all matters, and to steward the gifts that God has entrusted to our care in order that they might serve others. The passage also speaks about a time of testing. While the pandemic certainly tested us, our Mission Action Plan continues to focus us on the many opportunities where God is calling us to life and compelling us to love.
Our Synod will convene virtually this year having met in a hybrid format last year. Members will gather via Zoomon Saturday, November 4 to consider essential matters during the half-day session.
At the outset of the Synod, Bishop Susan Bell will share her charge to members, reflecting on the theme and casting a vision for our collective ministries over the coming year. Members of synod will also hear how, through our Mission ActionPlan, we are enlivening our faith, reshaping our culture and structures for mission, and fostering God’s justice.
Synods are an important structure in the governance of our diocese, but, they are so much more than that. They seek to build up the whole Church through prayer, story-sharing,relationship-building, discernment, and decision-making.
The budget will share how the diocese has faithfully stewarded God’s gifts for mission, especially through the challenges and tumult of the pandemic. While revenues forecast to be at a low ebb in 2024 due to our three-year rolling average Diocesan Mission and Ministry formula, there are many reasons for hope and excitement as we look ahead to the renewal of God’s mission in 2025 and beyond.
The business parts of the Synod will also include receiving the 2022 auditor’s report as well as a few housekeeping changes to the canons. The election of Provincial Synod delegates—which is set to meet next fall in Sault St. Marie—and regional representatives to SynodCouncil will be conducted using an online voting platform and reported during the Synod.
All the reports and resolutions for the Synod will be posted at niagaraanglican.ca/synod/2023. In the coming weeks, please hold the members of synod in your prayers as they discern how our diocese—and all its parishes and missions—can best steward God’s gifts for mission in this next season of the Church’s ministry in Niagara.