The Synod has been in transition for five years now, and we are seeing the wonderful fruit of the “New Way Forward.” Where many were planning the Synod’s end, there has instead been a new vision rising. Now we are living into the plan for broader inclusion of those of every racial identity, economic class, age, or ability. Fostering relationships, pulling together networks of people with shared mission passions, and supporting mission financially are the business of the Synod.
The Synod is intent on increasing cultural diversity. The leadership began with a Summit on Race in 2014. A Working Group on Race was created and the hard work of understanding and surmounting the boundaries of culture and privilege continues. A pre-Synod training in the issues of racism was held this year and over 100 people attended.
The Synod has drawn together the Emerging Leaders Group of those under 40. Their ideas experience and creativity are crucial to a church determined to connect with current community and culture. The support they find in shared conversation is valuable as they begin ministry in the church as it is.
The Synod Mediation Network has helped us to be no longer among the Synods with highest number of PJC cases. A new way of solving disputes is set.
Our desire is always to be more inclusive. As such the last Synod Assembly approved the election of interested active church members to voice and vote at the Synod Table. A remedial complaint against this was upheld by the GAPJC. The Synod pursued this with an overture, and that too was defeated. Still the pursuit of broad inclusion is not over. The Synod is encouraged to bring further recommendations to the 223rd GA.
Stated Clerk Dan Rogers whose minutes were approved for another year without exception and with commendation certainly deserves our thanks.
Rev. Susan Strang has been the Teaching Elder at Christ’s Church of the Hills in Schenectady, NY for 9 years. She serves on the Albany Presbytery Stewardship & Mission Interpretation (SIM) Committee.