Well, that was unexpected.
I thought Synod was going to be 5 long hard days of debating our governance restructuring and finances. But those issues aren’t what framed Day One. Doubtless, many thought they would be. They are important. The pre-Synod briefings majored on them. The extensive Synod papers are certainly dominated by them.
But two motions without notice from the floor of Synod brought a sobering reminder of much more important issues facing the church. Dr Karin Sowada introduced a motion thanking the Federal Government for its dollar for dollar matching of donations to Anglican Aid’s Horn of Africa Appeal. The Dean then introduced a motion that highlighted the plight of Pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani and called on the government and media to pressure the Iranian government. Suddenly the challenges facing us paled by comparison.
I’m sure many of us had also seen the terrible images of Coptic Orthodox protestors in Egypt being run down by military vehicles. Yet here we were - free to meet, able to speak the gospel to our city, rich beyond the imagination of most Christians in the world, and in a diocese with a wonderful evangelical heritage.
Don’t misunderstand me. The financial and governance issues are vital and we will get to them. But they mustn’t define our life together. This is a new Synod with many new members. It will have the heavy responsibility of electing the next Archbishop in August 2013. It will consider significant structural reforms over the next three years. All these things will take place as the ranks of the ‘Billy Graham’ clergy generation thin further.
As we work together at Synod we need to be grateful to the past, keep looking out to the lost, and depending on God for the future. The Presidential Address rightly challenged us to keep trusting God’s gospel word as his chosen means to grow his church. That sounds like a much better frame for our time together at Synod.