Abiding in the Word: 177th Synod of the Diocese of Huron

By Brittany Cartwright

After reconvening promptly at 9am on Monday May 28, at the London Convention Centre, the 177th Synod of the Diocese of Huron listened attentively to Bishop Linda Nicholls as she gave her charge and vision for the Diocese in the coming year.

Following the charge, Synod dived into bible study with a reading from the evening prior from Isaiah – a passage famous for its ending phrase: “Here I am, send me.” There were also several laity “faith witness” speakers that were personally invited by Bishop Linda to come and speak before Synod about how they live out their faith in their daily lives.

Synod was very happy to hear of the strong surplus in this year’s budget which brought our overall deficit down to approximately $94,000. ACW also had a very successful year which allowed them to present three generous gifts to the Diocese of Huron, Huron Church Camp and the Council of the North. Synod also heard from the newly formed Communications Committee.

Some conversation and presentation regarding the Marriage Canon was brought in, bookended by prayer. It is important to remember, a message echoed by Bishop Linda, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, and many other leaders, that this conversation is one of fear and anxiety, but also hope – and pain will be felt regardless of the direction it goes. Our Diocese has a strong desire to walk together but some also struggle with whether they can reconcile the 2019 decision with their values. The time between General Synod 2019 and any possible implementation in January 2020 will be a space necessary to hopefully combat fear and anxiety with faith and love. Archbishop Fred Hiltz also commented on the likelihood of there being “consequences” handed down from the Anglican Communion should Canada move forward with the proposed changes.

Presentations were heard from Huron University College, Renison University College, and Canterbury College. The Bridge Builders, in particular Rev. Roslyn Elm, spoke passionately about systematic oppression and the difference between survival and living.

EnviroAction announced that they would be formally merging with the Social Justice committees to create the Committee for Social and Ecological Justice, commonly known as the Justice League of Huron. There were moving videos regarding clean water initiatives immediately prior to the motion calling for continued Indigenous and Biblical education around resource stewardship “in and with, not over Creation.” Also on stewardship, we received a presentation about broadening the definition of what constitutes a gift – that time and talent are amongst the non-financial ways of giving but other key factors in stewardship are increased awareness of financial state, and expressing gratitude.

Huron Church Camp proclaimed themselves a “thin space,” reflecting on Bishop Linda’s words the evening and morning prior; this “thin space” has people create a second family- friends that they maintain throughout their lives. After much anticipation the youth of the Diocese announced their challenge to the Diocese in the form of a game. To help finance their trip to Thunder Bay, a game was setup at the side of the banquet hall where deaneries could purchase rolls of the dice in order to move their buses on the gameboard- the twist was they could also purchase obstacles for other deaneries.

Finally, the night was wrapped up with laughter and affectionate stories about the retirees and with Archbishop Fred Hiltz speaking about his time as Primate – the rejoicing and the struggles.

The 177th Synod of the Diocese of Huron ends on Tuesday, May 30.