What is the kaupapa of this hui? It is to listen to God’s Spirit in this land with respect to stewardship, connectedness, hospitality, and unity.
Bishop Justin spoke these words in Māori in response to the warm pōhiri (welcome) from representatives of Ngāti Rangi at Ruapehu College, and this set the tone for a bright and positive Synod in full view of the beautiful Mt Ruapehu. Entering as guests, we became family with mana whenua and sensed that God was doing a work of whanaungatanga – building bonds of connectedness. We worshipped God and began Synod as we should – giving our Lord all honour and glory, and asking Him for guidance as we discern the way forward for our diocese.
High praise is due to the organising team of Synod, and especially to the hardworking Alison Seifert, Kathryn Greenwood, and all parishioners in the Ruapehu Parish. Hosting several hundred people in a small and remote venue undoubtedly presented unique challenges, but the team ensured that the event ran smoothly and carried the strong flavour of the area – with gifts of carrot pens, mountain-inspired fridge magnets and recommendations of where to find top quality chocolate eclairs! And who could beat that view?!
Rev Caleb Rowe led us in worship, assisted by Rev Kim Duxfield (replacing Caleb’s wife, Rev Billy Rowe, who was unwell) and a team from the Parish of Whanganui. Caleb put it so clearly as we began – we gather to celebrate that we are family, and to mark ourselves as family. Synod is a time to worship and discern God’s way forward for us, and this is the atmosphere in which the governance aspects of the hui were held. As one feedback respondent exclaimed, it was “the best Synod in 30 years!”
You can read more news from Synod below, and there will be further stories published over the coming weeks.
Watch the Bishops’ addresses:
Diocesan Council reports on past year, new members elected at Synod
Synod accepted the report of the Diocesan Council, which highlights the work of the Council in the past year. We thanked members who were stepping down, and approved the appointment of new members. Read the story
New Lay Ministry Canon to lighten the load of administration
A new Lay Ministry Canon has been introduced, replacing one dating back to 1998, which reduces the administrative burdens of lay licencing, and allows flexibility for parishes to celebrate those who serve in a wide variety of lay ministry capacities. Read the story
New sabbatical system allows for better clergy care
A new centralised system of funding for sabbatical leave is to be implemented to ensure that our clergy are well-cared for, and have appropriate Biblical rhythms of rest, work, renewal, and growth. Read the story.
Synod encourages PM and Finance Minister to reduce inequality
A motion was passed that requires Synod to write to the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, requesting that they implement the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group. Read the story
2018 Synod presentation spurs parish to mental health action
In this Synod Hotspot, our Newlands-Paparangi whānau share about the actions they took to support those in their community who are bereaved due to suicide, following last year’s Synod presentation on mental health. Read the story
Diocese to remain focused on climate change, housing; moves into year of discipleship
The motion that determines our diocesan focuses in the following year was carried, reiterating our focus on child poverty (with a focus on housing), climate change (with a focus on reducing carbon emissions), and on discipleship. Read the story
Other Synod News in Brief
Read here about other topics of discussion at Synod 2019.