To synod or not?

May 10th, 2007 | By | Category: Church of Ireland Comment

The Church of Ireland General Synod, which has been meeting for the past three days in Kilkenny, came to a close this afternoon. The significance of the end of the Synod for me is that Katharine is home again and I won’t oversleep as I did this morning (mainly due to setting the alarm for 7.30 instead of 6.30, I never could do Roman numerals).

What was the significance of the Synod? I have no idea. It certainly had no impact upon my parish. Perhaps the problem is that we are so concerned with looking at what the church is about that we fail to actually be the church.

Lesslie Newbigin, about whom I am currently writing an essay, once wrote:

It is surely a fact of inexhaustible significance that what our Lord left behind Him was not a book, nor a creed, nor a system of thought, nor a rule of life, but a visible community. He committed the entire work of salvation to that community. It was not that a community gathered round an idea, so that the idea was primary and the community secondary. It was that a community called together by the deliberate choice of the Lord Himself, and re-created in Him, gradually sought–and is seeking–to make explicit who He is and what He has done. The actual community is primary; the understanding of what it is comes second.

Maybe if we were the community he came to create, we wouldn’t need a General Synod.

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  1. Oh dear! I am sure there is nothing bad about the synod in itself, the problems arise when the only important thing about church is the synod. Or the PCC meeting, or whatever.

    But then we often measure church effectiveness by the number of meetings it has and/or we attend. Which is pretty daft really.

  2. Joe,

    I think I would have questions about the nature of Synod. It is a parliamentary system and conducts adversarial debates – proposers and opponents of bills, etc. It is about the exercise of power. I wonder if it is an appropriate way of doing business for people who claim to belong to the Kingdom of God.

    (I was a member once, but got thrown off!)

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