Synod Day 2: The real issues
Day 2 of synod was a remarkable day, but not for the reasons I expected.
Last year’s synod was one of high emotion, as was the year before. Our financial issues lead to a breakdown of trust between different people and internal organisations. Day 2 of this year’s synod could easily have been one in which these raw emotions exploded once again.
But instead, we saw that the Spirit of God has been powerfully at work. Trust was being rebuilt as people listened to one another, and compromised. In the end, a motion that had the potential for so much division and conflict ended up being passed overwhelmingly.
This is not to say that everyone agreed on the particular way forward. Part of the beauty of the synod process is that everyone is able to have their say. Serious questions about the resolution of our financial structures and future directions remain:
1. Should we sell Bishopscourt?
2. While it is commendable that the Endowment of the See (which funds the Archbishop, Assistant bishops, and their offices) has reduced expenditure significantly in recent years, are further cuts required?
3. How does one balance a prudent investment mix with sentimental value?
4. How would we transition to a ‘Central Investment Management Board’, how would it work, and is it even desirable?
If one came seeking a resolution to these particular issues, they would have been disappointed. But Day 2 of synod was significant for the way in which we conducted ourselves. Key players and members were gracious to one another. Good humour was in. The Lord is bringing the right kind of expertise together. And an important part of the process that has been established is that there will be continued dialogue and listening to one another.
It is not the kind of day that any secular organisation would expect, for the foundation and difference that the Lord Jesus was clearly evident – and without being dismissive of difficult issues.
We have learnt a lot.