Report Back From Synod

Report Back From Synod

Synod Representatives for St George’s Barcelona, Denise Kent and Jennie Hebson, report back from the Archdeaconry Synod of Gibraltar, Diocese in Europe, which was held from Tuesday 31st January to Friday 3rd February 2023 in Calpe on the Costa Blanca.

It was the first time in three years that everyone was able to attend in person because of the pandemic. What a joyful time it was to meet people we had only known via Zoom, plus those we had met in previous Synods.

The theme for this year’s Synod was “Ministry and Sustainability in the Contemporary Word” — not just sustainability in the environmental sense (although we did talk about how we are caring for God’s creation as chaplaincies too) but as Church.

  • How are we being sustained by Jesus each Sunday?
  • How are we receiving the freshness of the Holy Spirit and being sustained and renewed through him?
  • How are we “going together” (which is what “Synod” or assembly essentially means) towards the Father?

As usual, we talked about issues such as finances, safeguarding, youth ministry, the archdeaconry’s mid-term vision, etc. In the midst of practicalities, it is easy to get lost in the mundane or fall into worry, especially when talking about financial stability. However, the Holy Spirit clearly had a message for us because two speakers, independent of one another, had prepared a talk on Matthew 6: “Do not be anxious… consider the birds… your Father knows what you need…”.

This is a good reminder for us; it is right for us to be wise stewards of our resources and to consider how we can increase what we have, but we must ultimately acknowledge that everything we have is from God and is for him.

We were reminded that God is generous, and that what we do as chaplaincies (events, fundraising, etc.) is not just about bringing in money, but about growing disciples and building people’s faith.

Hearing the Peru update from Revd Deborah Chapman was particularly poignant for this reflection. She shared a video from Bishop Jorge. There, they are living out the gospel every single day: serving the needy; giving time, energy and resources; glorifying God by loving others.

Jesus said that people would recognise us as his followers by our love for one another. This can be a takeaway from Synod.

How is our chaplaincy reaching those who don’t yet know Christ?

The greatest way we can show love is by leading people to Love himself: God. The God who gave himself for us, who welcomes all people, and who brings healing and transformation to all areas of our lives for his glory.

It was an intense but enjoyable few days, seeing how other chaplaincies in the Diocese of Europe work. It made us realise just how fortunate and blessed we are!

Read A Time of Kairos about the 2022 Archdeaconry Synod


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