178th Synod of the Dioces of Huron – London Convention Centre, Monday, May 27
The Monday session of Synod was all about celebrating what God is doing in the people, parishes and ministries of the diocese. Members told each other stories of faith in action, gave inspiration to one another in the midst of a world of uncertainty and an uncharted future for the church.
The Right Reverend Linda Nicholls’ charge to Synod was for us to look forward using “as our guide, the Five Marks of Mission.” We are to live them out, she said, “with love, joy and action.”
Bishop Linda quoted scripture of Luke 10, where Jesus sends the disciples in mission with nothing but: “God used their willingness, their faith, their courage, in all their frailty, to be those who transmit the Good News of the Kingdom and love. “ The purpose of the church, she said, is “not for self-preservation” but the people of God, like the disciples, are to go where God calls us and not fear or worry about having all the answers or to have an end goal but to see ourselves as “continuing apprentices” in God’s work; a life long journey.
The Bishop called celebrated the work already being done in the diocese by faithful people living out the Five Marks of Mission; reaching out in many various and new ways to be missional in the world.
The Bishop concluded by quoting from a prayer by Oscar Romero that encourages us to keep in mind that “we cannot do everything but we can do something”, that we can “plant the seeds” and we can allow “an opportunity for God’s Grace to enter”. We are called into discipleship to be sent out for God’s mission.
It was a day full of Good News and new initiatives: over 90% of parishes met their apportionment target and the budget has a surplus!
Huron Camp will sponsor this year’s Anglican Church of Canada Justice Camp in August. The theme will be “respect” of one another and creation.
The Bishop has appointed the Rev. Rosalyn Elm as the Animator for Reconciliation and Justice to begin anti-racism training in the diocese.
2019 marks the 60th anniversary of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. It was announced that the “Huron Hunger Fund” will change its name to “PWRDF Huron Committee”. The decision removes confusion that they are two separate groups. It recognizes that “we are part of the one sent family, the world wide Anglican communion and our commitment to our missional call, ‘to respond to human need by loving service’”, as stated by Will Postma, the executive director or PWRDF.
In the afternoon Synod was inspired by three lay people – Gilles Hache, Chuck Erion and Laura Manias – who told their faith story. They spoke from the heart about their journey in faith and how God is using their faith and gifts to serve others.
Different parishes were asked to sit together and to talk with each other about their Mission and Ministry plans. Ideas were shared and in the process it was uplifting to see all the good works already in process.
The delegates could also heard three success stories from the representatives of three colleges in the diocese with very deep Anglican roots: Renison, Huron and Canterbury.
The highlight of the afternoon was the signing of copies, in English and Portuguese, of the renewal of the Covenant between the Diocese of Huron and the Diocese of Amazonia by Bishop Marinez and Bishop Linda for another five years. The two dioceses will continue working together to: “care for, learn from and teach each other to love Christ in all people…to serve the poor, the weak and the victims of injustice.”
Several notable motions were passed by Synod. From the Justice League, a motion to encourage parishes to reduce single use plastic products, with 2023 as the target to eliminate their purchase. The Constitution and Canons motion to update language in the canons; the word “congregation” is replaced by “parish”; and “rector”, and “priest-in- charge” by “incumbent”. A motion was passed raising the PWRDF Huron Committee target for 2019 to $350,000 (it was noted that $42,000 was collected towards that goal at the previous night’s Eucharist service).
Synod remembered those who have gone before and their contributed to the church. New members to Synod and new clergy were welcomed.
At the end of the day all gathered for supper; good food, good fellowship; awards for achievements and work well done and for good music. The recipients of the Order of Huron for this year are: Jim Ferguson and Terry Marklevitz.
It was a positive day about steps being taken, good work being done, and good people finding their calling. It was a day and a time for us to recognize God is with us, we have gifts to use and we can be bold in trying new things. As Bishop Linda said in her charge to Synod, “we are not alone”, we go forward with God and we rejoice!
The 178th Synod of the Diocese of Huron ends on Tuesday, May 28.
Rev. Cheryl Highmore