Slideshow image

Personal Reflections of the 68th Synod of the Diocese of Edmonton

Attending Synod is not something I take for granted.  I hope these reflections help everyone who worships at St Thomas to be affirmed about the work of Anglicans throughout the diocese as well as the good will of those who support us.

Friday Evening Service:

A beautiful service in a beautiful setting.

  1. Personally, I like pageantry from time to time.  I believe that ritual is a vital part of all cultures, especially at emotional points in our lives.  It’s good for us and I think the service was good for me.
  2. One of the readings was taken from an Indigenous source and the young person reading it did a very nice job.  It made me curious; I wish there was more explanation about it.
  3. The greetings from representatives from other faiths were thoughtful and carried a message of sincere good will that I found encouraging.

Saturday Meeting:

  1. It was wonderful to connect with others from St Thomas, friends, and other clergy I know.
  2. The music was amazing.  I love church music.  The selected pieces were all excellent…and new to me.  Maybe one more traditional piece would have been nice.
  3. It occurred to me that our influence to do good as a church does not simply mean attendance numbers.  We can be an influential minority.  

There were, for me, three resolutions that got my attention.  I selected various statements to give a sense of the resolutions and my reflections for each.

The current Canons require the Social Justice Committee to have between 14 and 18 members. It  has proven difficult to recruit that many members. The proposed amendments remove the size  requirement while giving the Bishop and the Committee the flexibility to appoint members as  required.  

Reflection:  This troubled me.  I don’t know if this is because we do a poor job promoting the committee or if it’s too much work, or what.  However, for me, this is a big issue.  I hope more people can step up.  I’m going to give this some thought and look into it further over the next few months.  I hope others do too.

That the Synod of the Diocese of Edmonton requests the Executive Council, the Property and  Planning Committee, and the Administration and Finance Committee – in consultation and  collaboration with local Indigenous, Metis, and Inuit partners – to develop for presentation and  implementation…

a) Policies and procedures to ensure that future material benefits of the lands and  infrastructure our churches occupy are equitably shared with First Nation, Metis, and  Inuit partners in accordance with the spirit and intent of the treaties;

b) Policies and procedures to support parishes and the diocese in giving away generous  portions of accumulated savings accounts to fund local Indigenous-led community  projects and healing initiatives;  

c) Policies and procedures to support parishes and the diocese in giving away a minimum of  10% of all future sales of diocesan properties, assets, and lands to fund local Indigenous led community projects and healing initiatives. 

Reflection:  I supported this resolution (as amended).  However, an incident occurred that caused me to think about how we handle disagreements.  I struggled with some of the comments made by members of Synod and the responses that followed.

I think that, as hard as it is, we have to respond better.  Given our collective history, we don’t have the room to become righteously indignant.

  1. That the bishop request and encourage every parish to communicate through their actions, messaging, and outreach that they are an affirming and safe space for members of the  LGBTQ2SIA+ community.  
  2. That the bishop ensure every parish is able to provide welcome, support, and sacramental ministry for members in the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, including full access to celebrations of  marriage within the diocese. 

Reflection:  This was amended to include families of members of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community.  I’m pleased about the resolution and the amendment.

Listening to people tell their stories, I reflected that not all of my friends and family are straight.  I hope everyone can feel welcome in God’s house.