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A Meeting Full of Hope - Reflections from Synod

by ajack last modified 10 Nov, 2021 04:10 PM

While Synod is about members receiving presentations and updates, it is also about questions from the floor and a real sense of participation by all members in the debates and decisions.

So what's it like to be a member of Synod? 

Over the next few weeks, we will be features the voices of some of our Synod members,  

we start this week with  The Revd Jo Haine, Team Vicar for Emmanuel and St Mary's Churches, Weymouth  and Gillian Clarke Chair of the House of Laity 

"A meeting full of Hope!", that was how The Revd Jo Haine described this Synod: She reflects:  

Sitting alongside people who have just received bad news, opening the cathedral so people can come for Covid-19 vaccinations, supporting a school in the mess and trauma after a fire, allowing people to explore faith through wonderful art displayed at our cathedral church, opening up the church following the recent train crash in Salisbury, sitting alongside others as they question life, faith and what it means to be human, and as a Diocese having one of the highest percentages of church attendance in the Church of England. 

These are just a glimpse of some of the amazing things happening across Salisbury Diocese. At the November Diocesan Synod meeting, we had the pleasure of hearing about these and more, it really was a meeting filled with Hope!   

The meeting also covered the financial challenges that we as a Diocese are facing, these are real and cannot be ignored but, I was struck by the sense of Hope. Hope in the future, Hope for the Church and Hope in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Gillian Clarke reflects on the day:

We received a safe and hospitable welcome at St Paul’s and worship led by our guitar-playing Bishop Andrew set the tone for the day; it was good to be together again and the mood was positive and encouraging. 

In her presidential address, Bishop Karen drew on her recent pilgrimage to Iona, referring to the Celtic Christians’ Rhythm of Life - Work, Witness and Worship - as she focused on our diocesan priorities of Evangelism and Discipleship, Dynamic Collaboration and Community Transformation.  

Recognising that the challenge for us all is funding our commitment to Christ’s vision for the church led us to a key item on the agenda as we considered the budget for 2022.  

With presentations from the Finance team and so many questions and comments from the floor that we extended this session by 30 minutes, it was good to listen to each other.  

With the budget agreed by an overwhelming majority vote, we can now move forward as we try to meet the financial challenge. It isn’t going to be easy and it will require us to work together, keeping the channels of communication open. 

What a joy we had to follow this difficult but essential conversation!  

Four of our diocesan chaplains talked about their roles giving an insight into their work with people in the community.  Wonderful stories of ‘church without walls’ and sharing Christ’s unconditional love with others – this was truly inspirational and a timely reminder of our mission and purpose.  

Annual reports can be rather turgid – but not Dean Nick’s report on our cathedral – again full of energy and positive stories, renewing our hope and lightening our hearts!  

An afternoon focusing on the Board of Education was again uplifting as we heard the voices of some of our young people in schools and heard more about the work of the Community Hubs.  

A packed and tiring day indeed – and always aware of the long distances some people cover to attend – I think people left with the sense of a day well-spent and much to report back to their parishes, benefices and deaneries.  

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