In Preparation for the Meeting
Getting ready for the Synod Event
“We are called, as a community of God’s people, to give voice to the story which shapes us, and into which our own lives are woven. The service we offer and the worship we celebrate are shaped by our witness, and give form to how we speak of the hope we have,” says Rev. Simon Hansford of the event.
Pray in the lead-up to the event as we gather to seek God’s will for the life and mission of the Church and articulate – together – our hopes for the future of the Uniting Church. We will join as a “fellowship of reconciliation” to listen and value each other as a body of Christ.
As members, there are a number of ways you can prepare yourself prior to the event.
Having a voice
The Synod meeting can be intimidating for a first timer. The Moderator chairs the meeting and wants to hear from a diversity of members. Your voice is as important as any other voice. In seeking to discern God’s spirit, the smallest voice can effect change. Additional time at the microphone may be given to members for whom English is their second language and there will be a translation service available at the meeting. A hearing loop is also provided. Make sure you read the Manual for Meetings and you will understand how you can engage effectively in the meeting.
The Synod App/BYOD
The Synod App will be released soon and this will contain all the information needed prior to the event like proposals and reports. For Synod 2017 we are not providing paper, so be sure to bring your device (iPhone, iPad or Laptop) to access all the reports, nomination forms and other materials. We will be providing charging stations for all types of devices.
The Manual For Meetings
The Synod uses meeting procedures which are set out in the Uniting Church’s Manual for Meetings (MfM). Consensus procedures are its preferred and primary method for decision-making. A presentation in the first business session of the meeting explains the Synod’s business processes. Former Assembly General Secretary, Rev Terence Corkin, in the introduction to the 2009 revised version of the MfM, states that it provides the official standing orders and rules of debate for the Church.
The Uniting Church believes that we hear the voice of God in the councils of the church. Church meetings that encourage community, and listening to one another in a spirit of openness and humility, are more likely to discern the will of God. Terence Corkin
For the duration of the four or five days of the meeting, the members of Synod become a community, listening respectfully to each other as they seek to discern God’s will. It is important you come open to the movement of the Spirit which leads to hearts and minds being changed, and the building up of a Godly community.
For this community to function at its best, its members need to commit to attending every session; to come fully prepared (more on this later); and to engage all the necessary skills in building communication: listening; assertion; conflict-resolution and collaborative problem solving (MfM 1.6).
Many people have affirmed the value and benefits of the consensus process, and the way that it can deal with both simple and more difficult issues. When the community is operating at its best, its members can fully experience a fellowship of reconciliation.
Another book that people have found quite helpful is The Church Guide to Making Decisions Together by Terence Corkin and Julia Kuhn Wallace. The book is reviewed here and you can visit their website to find out more about the book and purchase it if you wish.