Earlier this year Neil, Cameron, Steven Woods and myself received a summons from Archbishop Glenn Davies to attend the 1st ordinary session of the 51st synod. Over the second and third weeks of October we spent the best part of 5 days engaged in discussion and debate about topics that affect the Sydney Diocese.
I feel like a lot of you will be thinking ‘cool story, but what does any of that mean?’ Lets start at the beginning. What is the synod? Historically, a synod is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In this instance, the synod is a meeting of the members of the Anglican Church of Australia in the Diocese of Sydney. Each church in the diocese sends representatives (clergy and lay persons) as well as other clergy and lay persons who are invited by the Archbishop. In total, there are approximately 800 members of the synod.
The synod heard many discussions and debates over a variety of topics, including the employment conditions of assistant ministers, adopting national safe ministry guidelines and practices, euthanasia and assisted dying, domestic abuse, ministry development guidelines as well as upholding the biblical principle that marriage is between one man and one woman. There were many questions asked, many speeches given, much debate and often much disagreement between members of the synod.
Despite the disagreement and debate, the lasting impression I have from my first synod is how respectful and loving people were, despite their disagreements and differences of opinion. This example set by these men and women of our church contrasted all the more given the current angry and inflammatory debate we see played out in our country.
Synod was an interesting and eye opening experience. I had never put much thought into the work that goes on behind the scenes to govern each church and the diocese; however this has highlighted how much time and effort that Godly men and women put in to ensure that the Sydney diocese remains faithful to the Word and continues to see Jesus proclaimed across Sydney.
Rebecca Broom (Evening Church member & Synod Rep)