Sharon in Synodland
In Alice in Wonderland the themes of identity and growing up are seen through a fantasy trip down a rabbit hole. Going to Synod was many unknowns being discovered along the way.
Quotes from Alice in Wonderland:
#1 Alice: “Where should I go?” The Cheshire Cat: “That depends on where you want to end up.”
Have a plan. Without one you’ll waste a lot of time in the process. Much of the work and planning has taken place ahead of Synod. You read and read and read some more. I spent 20 hours or more reading material ahead of Synod. Much of the business of Synod affirms the work that has gone on ahead of time. Not all committees affirmed the work done and challenges this year were made to the budget recommendations and to the pastoral care suggestions in the majority report regarding same sex marriages.
#2 The Duchess “Be what you would seem to be—or, if you’d like it put more simply—never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others.”
Be authentic. In a sea of CRC Pastors, theologians, Ministry Leaders, Professors, and other assorted delegates it can feel overwhelming. I was told share your thoughts honestly, being careful to make your words matter. Avoid being the voice that is no longer heard. I intentionally took time to connect with other delegates and to learn about them. This year Synod welcomed deacon delegates for the first time and it was good to hear their voices.
#3 Alice “Curiouser and curiouser!”
Be curious. Take a risk and try something new. The blanket exercise was done to help understand the Document of Discovery. It included Canadian and American historical perspectives with our first nations’ people. It was humbling to participate in this exercise. The large attendance and the smaller discussion groups afterwards were very moving.
#4 White Rabbit “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”
There was more reading during Synod as reports were submitted. Worship and sessions started at 8am and many night sessions ended after 9pm. With little time to process during the day I spent many late nights pondering and praying and reading.
#5 The Unicorn “If you believe in me I’ll believe in you.”
Maybe the idea of LGBQT + Christians seems as fanciful to you as the notion of unicorns. Many LGQBT + individuals and their supporters sat in the viewing area of Synod the night we discussed Pastoral Care to those in same sex marriages. It demonstrated their quiet appeal for acceptance, their interest in the CRC community. A few Pastors I spoke to at Synod have children who identify within the LGQBT + community. They spoke of and their deep love and hurt for their children. Their desire for them to be a part of the denomination they were raised in. How much greater our heavenly Father’s love for them must be.
Questions that surfaced for me:
- What would our churches look like if we left change, both for ourselves and others, to God?
- What if we stopped trying to convince others of our perspective and channeled that energy into hospitality and welcome for everyone?
- How messy, and uncomfortable, and transformational would that be?
- What does it look like to really believe in each other as image bearers of God?
#6 Alice “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
If you are open and vulnerable, you grow. You will never go back to being the person you were. Synod presents you with thoughts, ideas unfold that can’t be predicted. Taking this in and learning from what was shared, was draining and stimulating all at the same time. I’ve been asked if I would go again, and the answer for me is yes. God uses this diverse denomination with varying views and a wealth of experience and knowledge to further His kingdom.
Sharon attended Synod June 10-17th, 2016. The acts of 2016 were distributed in August.