Now that I’ve recovered from the long weekend of Synod Council meeting and Assembly, it’s time to reflect on the events of the weekend. While I’m certainly not new to Synod Assemblies, I am new to attending as a Synod staff person. That changes the whole dynamic.
I have to admit, I’ve always been one of those pastors who likes to attend assembly to have time to catch up with colleagues that I don’t see often enough. Yes, the business of the church is important, but I was often found in the hallway talking to my friends. Some of the most important business conversations took place after the meetings and during the socializing, in my viewpoint.
Well, that sure has changed. Actually that changed once I was elected to Synod Council to begin with, but even more so now that I am involved in this aspect of church work every day. I listened more carefully to the speakers and discussions. I paid more attention to the resolutions (partly because my job was to work with Reference and Counsel on making recommendations.) I still spent time in the hallway having deep conversations, but it was mainly between business sessions and it was in a whole different role.
What I’ve learned in this new experience is that we have some solid and strong leaders in this synod, who are deeply committed to the work of the church. I’ve learned that we have some amazing potential for relationships across denominations, as I listened to the representatives from our Baptist, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian colleagues. I’ve learned that we have some excellent ministry already taking place throughout NT-NL and the whole ELCA, but that we also have some huge challenges ahead of us.
Many of my conversations outside of the business session showed me how much our leaders care about each other, but also how many great ideas are out there to be developed. To be honest, there aren’t enough hours in a day to do all the work that could come out of those conversations, but the good news is that those folks who have the ideas are more than willing to work together to make things happen. The future of the church is challenging, but the challenge will be faced courageously and creatively, if we can manage to follow through on all the brilliance in that assembly gathering.
Now I pray that the Holy Spirit blows through us all, and that we have the strength, wisdom, and courage to make things happen!