I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as a Commissioner to the 2018 Synod Assembly. This is the first time I have ever been to Synod Assembly, so there were some things that I hadn’t been aware of before I got there. One is that most of the “business” of the Synod is handled by the Synod Commission. This is part of the New Way Forward, which was adopted a few years ago. What that meant was that the majority of the meeting was taken up by other things. We did do some important business tasks, like approving the budget and appointing the Permanent Judicial Commission, but these were not the focus of the meeting.
The focus of the meeting was much more on connection and celebration. The Synod of the Northeast has prioritized building networks and funding new and innovative ideas. We got to hear reports from a number of the different networks and groups that have been supported by the Synod. I have been involved in two of these networks:
- Young Ministry Leaders Gathering for ministry leaders under 40
- Northern New York Committee on Ministry Network which connects the COMs of five Upstate presbyteries
I serve on the planning teams of both groups. We also heard about some of the mission projects undertaken within the Synod. The Synod has a partnership with the Synod in Puerto Rico, and we got to hear about how we have been helping those affected by Hurricane Maria.
There was a confession written by some young ministry leaders called a Confession for Such a Time as This. I was honored to have helped present this confession to the Assembly. The Assembly did recommend that it be reviewed by the churches and presbyteries of the Synod, so more details about that will be coming!
There were also plenty of opportunities for worship. The preacher at the opening worship service was the Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett, who is the Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The concluding worship service included extensive singing from a youth gospel choir that received a grant from the Synod for their work with at risk youth. All of us at the Assembly got really into it. There was even dancing during some of the songs!
Before I went to Synod Assembly, I worried that it would be a boring business meeting and the reality could not have been further from that. Throughout the meeting (and meals!), we were able to learn more about each other, form relationships, and celebrate all of the amazing things happening in the 1,100 congregations of the Synod of the Northeast.