Troubling Synod has a silver-lining

It is that time of the year again - synod.

For the past few years, I have been getting used to synod. I have been curious to observe each year our priorities, and this year is no exception.  If one knows how to navigate the paper warfare prior to synod, some of the issues for discussion become clear.

Some of the items on the business paper are just required because of the nature of synod. Others indicate a looking backward. Others indicate a looking forward. Some are about peripheral issues. Others have the potential to cut to the heart of matters that are significant to our future.

In my last post, I gave a brief summary of Jim Collin's book 'How The Mighty Fall.' It is not written about us, and it may not even apply. But in reflecting upon what has contributed to companies failing, Collins warns against looking for the silver bullet to attempt to change things quickly.

We have had our setbacks in recent years. We have not grown in ways that we might have liked (no matter how the numbers are analysed). And some feel that we have lost the financial base to move forward.

But Collins encourages:

the ability to come back from setbacks, even cataclysmic catastrophes, stronger than before. Great companies can fall and recover. Great social institutions can fall and recover. And great individuals can fall and recover.

The key is to resist radical change, resist hype, resist looking for a 'saviour-leader', and all the time looking to your fundamentals. 

In our case, I would suggest that our fundamentals are bringing people to Christ, and helping people grow in Christ.  (I might take this opportunity to say that the Mission Areas initiative seems to be one that has potential to help us in these areas).

The paperwork can only give some indication of what is in store this synod. Ultimately, and one of the good things about the synod process, is that the energy of those involved has a part to play in determining what is significant.
I, for one, hope we can leave the issues of past financial disappointments in the past. I hope that we won't become engrossed in largely internal matters.

What is it that you think synod should spend its limited time deliberating on?

The Rev Raj Gupta is the senior minister of Toongabbie Anglican Church, member of Standing Committee, and Mission Area Leader of the Parramatta Mission Area. He is also a partner with the 'Exploring Effective Ministry under God' team, and currently undertaking a Doctor of Ministry at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDs).

Comments (9)

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  • Craig Schwarze
    October 6, 10 - 7:28am
    Hmmm...it's not plain to me where we will spend our time, so I must be incapable of reading the "paper trail"! I'd be interested to know what it tells you, Raj...
  • Craig Schwarze
    October 6, 10 - 7:47am
    Just flicking through the business papers...I'm guessing the sale of Bishopscourt might provoke some debate...
  • Michael Canaris
    October 6, 10 - 9:20am
    While not a delegate, I'd urge Synod to delay Bishopscourt's sale at least until the GFC is well behind us in public memory. If its putative sale gets portrayed as an economy-measure, I'd anticipate bad press.
  • Raj Gupta
    October 6, 10 - 11:48am
    @Craig - one of the papers is an 'Indicative Timetable for Business'. Synod can change it, but it gives you some indication.

    Another is the advance business paper - it lists what people have already given notice of.
  • Raj Gupta
    October 6, 10 - 11:52am
    @ Michael ...I'm interested to hear more of your reasoning.

    Having read the report, it seems like a 'no brainer' to me. I did not realise the level of current maintenence, nor the funds tied up in the residence that could be used to recapitalise the EOS. And the list of reasons goes on. I would like to think that down-sizing could be seen as a positive thing.
  • Michael Canaris
    October 6, 10 - 12:15pm
    By all means sell if you collectively deem it expedient, but please try to avoid any impression of having to do so.
  • Allan Patterson
    October 6, 10 - 9:36pm
    We sometimes seem to lose sight of the social aspects of the gospel. The bible tells us we were created for good works. Anglicare partnerships could be one priority. The Archbishop's overseas aid projects could be another. It is interesting that EZ 16:49, talking about the destruction of Sodom, says "She and her daughters were proud because they had plenty to eat and lived in peace and quiet, but they did not take care of the poor and underprivledge."
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    October 6, 10 - 9:40pm
    The Sydney Morning Herald has already reported the proposed sale of Bishopscourt .
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    October 8, 10 - 1:46am
    Raj - in practice, what does it mean for Synod to focus on the fundamentals? There is a danger of this merely being a motherhood statement.