Synod diary #6 - Together we can grow far

Nigel E Fortescue

Well, it's over!

My children were cheering at breakfast this morning and expressing their thankfulness for the conclusion of Synod with hugs and kisses. I too am thankful that we are done for another year, but the matters discussed at this Synod will remain with us in the year ahead.

On the second Monday of every Synod we have the Missionary Hour. In this very significant hour, we hear about the work going on throughout the world that is supported and encouraged by the Diocese. We heard about theological education in Chile at the CEP (now being led by Michael Charles), we heard about how the Moore College PTC is sweeping the world like a plague (now being translated into French for use in Madagascar and Africa), and we heard from Alfred Olwa. Here from Uganda, Alfred is studying a PhD in preparation for theological education back home. Three inspiring stories, but the one comment that stuck in my mind, and perhaps defined the Synod, was the African proverb Alfred shared.

A man who travels alone can go fast. A man who travels with others can go far.

Alfred spoke of his thankfulness for our partnership in ensuring long-term Gospel ministry in Africa. But the proverb also speaks to the centre of our discussions about Bishopscourt and how to fund the ministry of the Archbishop and Bishops.

A man who sets up his church alone and makes decisions alone and does his own thing with his resources can go fast. A partnership that wants to work together and fellowship together and share resources together will not move fast, but will go far.

I believe the decision not to sell Bishopscourt and to levy parishes in 2011 is the sort of "go far" decision implied by Alfred’s proverb.

We are not a centralised church nor a decentralised church. We are not in the business of setting up lone rangers to do their own thing. We are in partnership and fellowship with one another to do ministry together. Joy in one part brings joy to the whole (aka Missionary Hour!). Pain in one part causes pain through the whole (ie EOS cash crisis).

My vote for the levy was a vote for the long-term fellowship I am a part of. That said, the mood of Synod in my corner was that if the doctors cannot come up thoughtful, transparent, and creative treatment by next Synod, our fellowship may be stretched to the limit. Given the people charged with the task, I am confident they will!

Peter Jensen wisely reminded us that God is still on his throne despite our dramas. That means it is time to stop blogging and start praying.