By Rev. Canon Val Kenyon
Аs we come together as a diocesan family for our Synod gatherings, we do so, with great expectation, anticipating as in our parishes, that as we gather, God’s Spirit will be faithful to move between and among us, guiding our reflections and considerations, opening our hearts and our minds to new understandings and perspectives of all that it is to be a follower of Jesus in this moment in the Church.
For it is in prayer that we not only lay before God our cares and concerns, but we also pause to listen and to make space in our lives into which God can speak. It is in prayer that we are reminded of who we are in Christ and to what we have been called. It is in our prayer that we both find and lose ourselves as our connection to the divine empowers and enlivens all that we do. As the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer within the Diocese of Huron, we exist to encourage and enable the ministry of prayer and to assist both individuals and parishes to both grow and be changed by their life of prayer.
Our practice in the Diocese of Huron over the past number of years, has been to encourage parishes to organize a Synod Prayer Vigil during these days of Synod, so that we may surround all that will be considered and discussed during our time together in prayer. Prayer vigils can be done in a variety of ways. In consultation with your Rector, some parishes may decide to gather together to pray during portions of the Synod while others may choose instead to commit individually to a specific time during the three days of Synod meetings to pray on their own for Synod concerns. Whether in a group or as an individual you may wish to use something from the suggested simple format below:
1. You may begin by either prayerfully reading a psalm or two (Psalm 8, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have set in their courses …”; Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork…”, Psalm 139, “Lord, you have searched me out and known me …”) which acknowledge the wonder and beauty of God’s creation, and our stewardship of it.
2. This could then be followed by thanksgivings for the gift of our salvation through Jesus Christ, our faith and blessings received. As well we give thanks for the parishes and people of the diocese of Huron, including Huron’s leadership in its bishops, priests and deacons, lay leaders and especially the many who are serving and presenting at the Synod during these days could then be mentioned. Our prayers would include in particular that as a diocesan family, together we may strive to be faithful saints in the way of Jesus, discerning what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church in our time and in our particular context.
3. The Anglican Fellowship of Prayer (Huron) has sent out materials to all parishes in Huron in late April. To see: a list of suggested prayers, and a template to use to organize your prayer vigil, please speak to either your Rector, or your Anglican Fellowship of Prayer Representative to see these materials.
If they have not received this material for any reason, copies may be found on the diocesan website or by e-mailing Rev Kimberly Myer at: email@example.com.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:15-18)
I would encourage us all to find some moments both before and during these important Synod gatherings to commit ourselves to holding this important occasion before our loving God asking for eyes to see, ears to hear all that the Spirit is saying to the Church in Huron in these days as we choose to be faithful stewards of the bounty that surrounds us.
SYNOD PRAYERS ON DIOCESAN WEBSITE (Prayers for Synod; Prayer Vigil Signup Sheet)
Rev. Canon Dr Val Kenyon is an Anglican Fellowship of Prayer Executive (Huron).