For five days over the last two weeks, the ‘parliament’ of the Anglican Church in Sydney met. Each parish is represented by its rector, as well as the Synod reps elected at the Annual General Meeting - for us, that’s Yvette McDonald and Gabriel Lacoba.
In all, that means around 800 people gather for a meeting! Necessarily, formal meeting procedure becomes a part of the experience, but important issues are raised and decided at Synod.
In particular, this year we passed several Ordinances (church laws) related to a national Anglican child protection system, as well as a policy on helping parishes respond well to situations of domestic abuse, and to gender identity issues. A new scheme for professional development for ministers was adopted, as well as a proposal to tax parish property income (although it will have minimal impact on us!).
Lots of other items were debated and decided, and for the keen curious, a full report will be available on the Diocesan website.
Perhaps the most noticeable feature of the Synod, however, is it’s Christian character - little to no nastiness, back biting or antagonism, although plenty of engaged and robust debate and disagreement.