The 134th session of the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton was held on Saturday, November 7, at Christ Church Parish Church. The theme for the synod was “Walk the Walk.” The Cathedral’s representatives were Dean Geoffrey Hall, Jim Morell (present lay chair of B&C) and Chris Stevenson (a past lay chair).
Bishop David Edwards was consecrated last fall. This was his first synod as our bishop, and he delivered his first charge to 273 synod delegates (75 clergy and 198 lay) who were in attendance from 70+ parishes across the diocese. The stated main purpose of the synod was to receive his charge, which was based on Ephesians 4: 1-6, and to respond to it through discussion in small groups.
“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” NRSV
Some of his important messages were these:
- God calls us, as his disciples, to live together in unity and “to bear with one another,” even when we have differing opinions on church matters
- Centering ourselves personally and corporately on Jesus, prayer and Biblical knowledge are the foundations on which we are to build our individual lives and our shared life in the church
- Our worship is meant to be “intentionally oriented to lifting us beyond the everyday and enabling us to touch the edge of heaven”
- The Bishop will be focusing on new, 21st century methods of education and training for our leaders – both clergy and lay; and he intends to establish new models of ordained and non-ordained ministry
- Youth work is vital to our church, and in that we must be more creative
- God directs us to engage our communities and to take the Good News of Jesus to people outside our congregations. He made special mention of our obligation to those who suffer in a broken world
- Despite having to deal with many issues and challenges, Bishop David said he continues to be encouraged by many positive developments within our diocesan family – including the rebuilding of the Anglican church in Edmundston (Parish of Madawaska) following a fire and a $5.5 million bequest to the diocese by a quiet, faithful Anglican woman in Saint John
In response to a pre-synod motion delegates voted in favour of asking Diocesan Council to review diocesan canon two respecting ‘election of bishops.’ Discussion prior to the vote centred on the importance of delegates having more knowledge of those nominated.
giver of all and ruler of all that is seen and unseen;
we ask for continual divine grace to your Church
and especially to the 134th Session of Diocesan Synod.
May we walk in your way,
leading lives worthy of our calling,
in humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another in love
and maintaining the unity of your Spirit in the bond of peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
J. Morell, C. Stevenson, G. Hall