Friday, June 11, 2010

The Spirit of the Synod

The General Secretary (GS) of Blantyre Synod has been in Scotland for the past three weeks attending the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly and meeting with groups with whom the synod has partnerships. This is the first major trip he has taken since last year’s Bi-annual Meeting, when the new Deputy General Secretary (DGS) and Moderator were elected. In these ten months since the elections, the spirit of the Synod has changed dramatically from tension and struggles for power to cooperation and team work. That was evidenced yesterday at a gathering at the DGS’s home to welcome the GS back. All the clergy who live on the mission grounds were invited for a meal and fellowship, to let the GS know that we were happy for his trip and happier still to have him back.

This seems like a simple enough event, just a gathering of colleagues for food and fellowship, to welcome one of their own back from a long journey. At one level it was just that, but there was a deeper significance to the event. This was a celebration of our unity as a staff. The ministers’ wives arrived early to help the DGS’s wife with the preparations. They enjoyed the fellowship of working together over the open fires of Malawian cooking. Their spouses and other guests gathered in the living room and laughed and heard stories of the GS’s travels, and filled him in on the events on the Synod grounds while he was away. When the food was ready, the wives joined the laughter in the living room. All protocols were observed. We had a Masters of Ceremonies who directed the program of the evening – dinner and speeches and a toast (with soda pop) to hail our friend’s successful trip. There were jokes and laughter amid it all.

During the speech of one of the senior members of staff, he observed that this was the way the Body of Christ was intended to function and it was a blessing to be part of a functioning body. He drew great applause for the acknowledgment of what most of us were thinking. It is good when brothers and sisters in Christ dwell together in unity. The irony is that none of us gathered there could remember a time when this had happened before. We committed to make it the first with more to come. We want to foster this spirit of unity.

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