This weekend, the Synod of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory meets at Knox College. This is my first meeting of Synod, my first annual (well here it happens every 18 months) meeting away from the United Church of Canada. However, even though there will be some differences to the way things are done here in Australia, I am sure that many things will be very much the same. There will be people who will meet up after many months of being apart. They will spend some time asking how things are going and catching up. There will be time spent in worship. Some of this worship time will be very inspiring. Other worship will leave me thinking- "Oh I wouldn't have done it that way." There will be reports given- some will be very interesting, others I won't find quite as interesting. There will be time given to debating proposals- again some will catch my attention and I will have a strong opinion on them, others will be less urgent in my mind. There may be times when there is great division in the court- some times we deal with controversial issues. Other times we may spend a lot of time talking about a subject that everybody agrees on. And at times we will truly understand why we are a Uniting Church and not a divided church. At times Synod is exhausting, at times fun, at times I do great learning, at times I am challenged, and at times I am affirmed.
I like to think of Synod gatherings as a big family reunion. There are definitely people there that we like to see and are excited to see. There are some family members who we find it a bit harder to get a long with. There are those family members who seem to be in charge and direct the progress of the reunion while others just sit back. There are those that are happy to be there and others who are more critical. There are those family members who report all that has happened to them and their part of the family for the past year (some of these stories will be riveting and some will be uninteresting). There might be a few squabbles and some bickering amongst members of the family. Hopefully though at the end of the reunion, people might have a deeper appreciation of each other and are able to come to the realisation that they are bound together through not only common ancestors, but through stories, squabbles, breaking of bread together, laughter and tears.
Being that it is my first meeting with this Synod, and given that I am an introvert, I will spend a lot of time observing the going ons at the Synod. Who are the workers? Who are the leaders? Who are the great schmoozers? Who are the ones who love the sound of their own voice? Who are the ones who are hyper critical? Who are the ones who are just glad to be there? Hopefully, in the end I will understand that the church truly is a family- working together, struggling together, arguing together, worshipping together, loving together. Blessings.