Editorial bias here makes me include a photograph from this year’s General Synod Provincial Youth presentation! We were well represented at the event, with Rev. Roger Dyer, Rev. Dr. Jenny Holden, Gillian Rose, and Elizabeth Mills all in attendance in various capacities.
Report from General Synod
This was my first time at General Synod. It was a delight to attend as a Visitor. I experienced it as a kaleidoscope of stimulating encounters that encouraged me greatly as we work together to find God’s way forward for us as Episcopalians in Scotland.
Many conversations, both in formal sessions and informally in coffee queues or over meals, were about how we had come through Covid – the hard work; the unexpected joys; the continuing challenge of finding our new shape that would incorporate the things we had learnt about worship, pastoral care and mission during those hard years.
A common thread through all these conversations was everyone’s openness to talk about God. Members of Synod talked about what they had learnt about God through the Covid experience – the steadfast presence of God, the vital place of faith through these years and the cherishing of the community that belonging to Church had provided.
I found that those outside of General Synod (passersby in the street, staff in shops, transport and restaurants) were also open to have conversation about spiritual things. Was this just the high number of clerical collars walking about Edinburgh New Town or was it the openness to the questions of life that many Synod delegates said they were experiencing it their home communities?
A waiter paused to talk to me. ‘Are you a priest?’ (Dog collar. Big clue!) ‘Yes’. ‘Do you believe in God?’ ‘Yes. And how about you? Is it something that’s part of your life?’ The conversation lasted about ten minutes. We agreed that owning more and more things did not assuage spiritual hunger or answer the big questions of life – only relationship with God could do this. He prayed daily and read the scriptures although he didn’t go to church. He wanted to know how I thought you could be fit for heaven. I tried to explain grace! It was a wonderful conversation. Fadel was a young British Muslim. We had much in common.