Rupert’s Land News reached out to various delegates to the 118th Session of the Synod of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land which was held in October of this year, and asked them to respond to these questions about their experiences at Synod 2022:
- Can you please share: What is your home church? What kind of delegate were you at Synod 2022 (clergy, lay, youth, etc.)? Was this your first-time attending Synod, or had you attended previously? Did you have any specific roles during Synod 2022?
- Were there things you appreciated about Synod 2022? To bring it back to the theme of this month’s magazine theme, were there any “gifts” of Synod which you experienced?
- Are there any moments from this year’s synod which stand out in your mind?
- Were there things you struggled with or found difficult?
- What would you like to see at Synod 2023, if you were to attend again?
Below are a few thoughtful reflections from velegates about Synod 2022.
Rachel Twigg is a Priest, Writer, Spiritual Director, and Retreat Guide. You can follow her on her website at revracheltwigg.com, or on social media as “Rev Rachel.”
1. I have been going to Synod for about 10 years. I attended Synod 2022 as a clergy delegate for St George’s Transcona. I was also on the liturgy planning committee, lead Morning Prayer, and presented a motion.
2. Something which I appreciated was the smudging that was offered at the beginning of Saturday’s session. I was very grateful to be able to start the day in that way.
3. One moment which stands out to me was having lunch in the Tijuana Yacht Club and watching the primate line up for food on what is normally a dance floor with music pulsating through the space. It was an incongruous moment that made me chuckle, but also a beautiful one – the church is the church regardless of location. It was also just lovely to be able to have face-to-face conversations with people.
4. Words matter to me, but we spent so much time focusing on specific words that I often found myself having a hard time remembering what the actual points of the various motions were.
5. I would like to see us find ways to remove the barriers of participation. I think short presentations on the context of a motion before debate begins would be helpful, as would some instruction in the basic rules of debating a motion. I talked to a number of delegates who said that they did not feel comfortable saying what they felt because they didn’t know the rules, or because they would not be comfortable with the level of criticism speaking up might result in. We need to make sure that anyone who wants to speak, can, and not just people with a specific skill set.
The Reverend Theo Robinson is an Anglican priest serving as a Pastor in the Interlake Regional Shared Ministry with the Lutheran Church of the MNO Synod. You can follow his blog at tjrobinson.blogspot.com.
1. Over the years, I have attended the diocesan synod in different types of delegation roles—first as an elected lay delegate, then as a deacon. This year marked my first synod as a priest, and I represented St Cyprian Anglican, Teulon, MB as their incumbent.
I was also asked to be part of the worship team for Synod 2022. I was honoured to take on the challenge of planning the opening worship and was blessed with an amazing support team that helped ensure a smoothly run event.
2. It was amazing to be able to gather at Synod once again. The previous meeting was held via Zoom, and while the business got done, we missed out on all the smaller conversations that happen at the coffee station or over lunch. The gift of being in the company of people from all over the diocese who want to see our church flourish and grow is incredible.
The additional bonus of having the Primate attend our synod and give the opening welcome was a marvelous gift.
3. Speaking of the Primate, she provided a stand-out moment for me. During the discussion period of one of the motions, a clergy member happened to mention how some of us had just come back renewed and encouraged from the Anglican Health Care Chaplain’s retreat in Mississauga, ON. Within minutes, I, and the others who had attended, received an email from the organizer of that event telling us the Primate noticed what had been said. It stood out for me because of the speed at which that message went around. It showed me that the Primate was listening and heard us.
4. Being part of a meeting of this size is not the easiest. There is a lot of information to process and plenty of opinions about the topics at hand. It can be difficult to stay engaged when there are back-and-forth discussions about sentence formatting and specific wording. It can be hard to keep the conversation on track.
5. One thing I would love to see at future synods is a pre-meeting review of Robert’s Rules of Order.
Overall, attending Synod is an amazing experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Chris Salstrom is a Certified Spiritual Health Practitioner at Riverview Health Centre. She conducts research in the area of Spiritual Health, especially in the field of Long-Term Care and Dementia, and Quality of Life issues. She is a Transitional Deacon working at St. Stephen and St. Bede.
1. I have been to Synod as both Diocesan staff and as a lay delegate. I was a first-time clergy delegate at Synod 2022, and also an Anglican Fellowship of Prayer representative, offering a prayerful presence. A colleague and I submitted a motion and found out that late motions have several conditions they must meet before being heard. We submitted it and left it with God.
2. There were several things I appreciated about Synod 2022. One recurring theme during the gathering was a deep concern with discipleship, and the bishop defined what discipleship means to the diocese. That was a huge gift. I also sensed a great desire of the delegates to be inclusive. Debating terms can feel difficult, and I appreciated the intention behind it; I think it is life-giving. I also valued the care voiced for the bishop; it is important to care for our chief pastor!
3. A moment which stands out to me is when our motion finally came up. It had passed the bishop and committee but needed to be approved by two-thirds of the synod just to be heard, and it was. I was delighted when the bishop spoke eloquently about the role of Chaplaincy in the Diocese. He was far more articulate than I could have been. I only added that chaplains lived discipleship as the bishop described it. The motion asked that the Anglican Chaplains Network be recognized as an official ministry of the Diocese and be commissioned (sent out) by the Diocese. It passed. I thanked the Holy Spirit for the nudge. I was pleased that this was also the will of the Diocese.
5. I hope that all our synods continue striving to be respectful and inclusive, and to set new precedents for what we can be in the future. I look forward to being a part of them!