Northern Synod Meeting
at Waddington Street URC on Saturday 9th March 2013
Revd Steven Orange welcomed Synod to his Church and hoped we would have a fruitful day.
The Moderator welcomed Kevin Waller to the Synod and carried out his Induction as Children’s & Youth Worker after which Sandy Ogilvie and Dorothy Riddiford an Elder at St Columba’s welcomed him on behalf of Coast churches.
Synod was informed about the many retirements, transfers and bereavements around the Synod.
Jan Adamson of Scottish Synod informed Synod that she was a consultant for Mission and Ministries and would be reporting to Mission Exec and Pastoral Reps Comms. She will meet hopefully with all mission partnerships to see where help is needed and she hoped that whilst she is in the area that hospitality would be offered to her so that she could get around more Mission Partnerships.
Val Barron from Christian Aid gave an excellent presentation on their new Campaign, the main aim of it being to get large companies to pay tax to the countries they work in and have been avoiding paying for many years. India lost £5billion pounds in taxes and they are just one of many large companies doing this.
Alastair MacNaughton from Lindisfarne Regional Training Partnership informed Synod of what was happening for both lay and ministerial in growing and developing their faith. He felt there was a great need for the courses they were running which included exploring and living theology in the north east, what baptism means today, and many more. Leaflets were available at the back of the church.
Rachel Poolman at Holy island informed Synod about a series of quiet and reflective days to be held on the Island each with a different theme. Information on these days was available at the back of the church. She hoped that many people would attend.
Revd. David Whiting drew attention to the Ministers’ Summer School on 17-020th June. The Theme this year would be ‘the Theology of Pleasure’ and booking forms would be mailed out soon. Places were limited so early applications were encouraged.
Prof. Andrew Hamnett, Trust Secretary explained that the Trust sought reaffirmation of this policy and after one or two minutes of lively questioning it was agreed that Synod reaffirms the Trust’s ethical investment policy which included looking at and monitoring all companies in the Trust’s portfolio engaged in the manufacture, distribution or sale of alcoholic beverages.
Maranny Jones appealed for people to join the Mission Executive Committee as this was an important role within the Synod and needed as wide a representation as possible.
John Durell invited our Mozambican visitors to address Synod. Ernesto Langa thanked Synod for its welcome to him and Bart Langa and said how appreciative they were of all the help they had received from the Synod over the past few years. The English language service set by the Durells now regularly attracted a congregation of 50 people. Exchange visits had taken place and Student Pastor Vasco Sitoi had been enabled to study in Brazil with Synod Support. Bart spoke of some the immense damage caused through recent flooding affecting some 150.000 people.
Ernesto then presented to the Moderator a picture, with the greetings of the PCM. The Moderator said what a delight it had been having them in the Synod and that for her, visiting Mozambique had been a life-changing experience. The closing collection from Synod was to be donated to the Flood Relief Fund of the Presbyterian Church of Mozambique.
The Moderator congratulated Daphne Clark who had been an accredited preacher for 55 years and was still available for preaching.
John Durell gave a brief introduction on his visit to The Holy Land with Commitment for Life. He was willing to share his experiences if anyone would like to contact him.
Mary Taylor shared with Synod the inspiration that had led to the centre at Crookham URC near the site of the 1513 Battle of Flodden. She showed pictures of the development of the peace garden and paid tribute to Dave and Diane Herbert who had put so much energy into the project.
Jean Degenhardt presented flowers to the Moderator and gave thanks for her work in Northern Synod, particularly on spiritual and devotional areas.
Earlier in Synod, Revd. Peter Rand had also expressed his thanks on behalf of Synod for Rowena’s Pastoral gifts given so freely to the Synod.
The Lindisfarne Gospels are coming!
The Lindisfarne Gospels are returning to the North East in 2013, and will be on display in Durham from July 1st to September 30th: see the Lindisfarne Durham website for details.
Our synod moderator Rowena Francis, and the other regional church leaders, believe that the anticipated 80,000 additional visitors to the region present a strong mission opportunity. We are challenged to be involved in the celebrations as living witnesses to the faith, and not simply as guardians of an ancient heritage.
If your church, or Churches Together group, are thinking about some special project, there is still time to register it But of course be sure to let our synod office know about it too!
Our Synod Pilgrimage, this year linking the Selkirk and Crookham Peace Gardens, will lead into the big ecumenical event on Holy Island on Saturday July 13th, which for many people will be a highlight of the summer events.