On Saturday afternoon, several members of Synod joined Bishop Eleanor on the streets of Palmerston North to invite members of the public to a special healing service. The healing service was the Synod Eucharist, which was beautifully crafted by Rev James and Rev Julia Coleman, Priests in Charge of the Parish of Silverstream, and our Synod Chaplains for 2017. The songs, readings and sermon were all clearly designed to remind us of God’s healing power available to us, and to teach those members of the public for whom God may be distant. As part of the service, prayer ministry was offered to those who sought healing.
Inviting the public in was a bold step of faith, and even more so was the expectation that God would heal people even in the midst of the service. Yet this was a logical response to the challenge laid down during Synod worship on Saturday morning, in which an excerpt from Romans chapter 10 was read: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Verses 14-15)
Being a people who are sent with good news for the last, the lost and the least is the current diocesan focus, and it was never more present than throughout Synod. As with the prophet Isaiah when he saw the Lord and then responded to His call to go, those at Synod too, were constantly aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit, and and His mission for us was constantly at the forefront of the business of the weekend. Even as the Synod attended to the more routine aspects of governance business, there was a sense of a common call to advance God’s kingdom here on Earth, in everything we do.
At the end of Synod, a huge vote of thanks was offered to Rev James and Rev Julia Coleman for their attentive leadership of worship throughout the weekend, as well as Rev Ben and Rev Teri Johnson-Frow and other members of the worship band from Johnsonville Parish.