Sunday, May 23, 2010

Synod diaries - Natal West

I got home late yesterday from the Natal West Synod in Gamalakhe near Port Shepstone. 
For many of us Synod is a mixed blessing of watching the church in action and watching parts of the church in the final stages of rigamortis . 
It was the first time that I actually read the 'blue book' (The agenda with resolutions, reports & other such miscellaneous) from cover to cover before arising at the Synod. I must admit this helped me understand the gist of the debate most of the time.  It kept me engaged, that is until last day when the District finances were given.  The finance committee of our district should get a medal for being inept but like all things in Rome they were nominated into position again.  

I promised myself not to lean on the negative but to see the hand of God in the place.  The addresses (bar the Bishops - my humblest apologies) were very good. Alfred Dlamini spoke on John 15 and re-emphasized the need for us not just to 'abide' in this church of ours but to bear fruit.  Alan Bester gave two exhortations on the text from Luke 24 (Emmaus).  The first one emphasized the shattered dreams of the two disciples Jesus met on the road to Emmaus and the second one he focused on 'burning hearts', 'opened minds' and telling witness of once he revealed himself to them. We were given time after the first message to respond as we examined our broken dreams etc.

I was also impressed by our three ordinands and their testimonies.  I think it has been due to the years of having to do deep theological reflection throughout assignments and especially their practical 'transformation assignments' that showed itself at Synod. 

There is no doubt that the Seth Mokitimi Seminary has injected a whole new dynamic to this district. Where once this district use to be a back water it now has representatives from the seminary that have upped the debate on the floor.  

Although leaving with my brain half dead there was indeed light, but you had to look hard.  

A quote from one at my table during Synod "The word became flesh and then the theologians made it words again". 

Grace to you all, 



Steven Jones said...

Hi David

Interesting thoughts on Synod. Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment, but I was a bit disappointed at not being able to attend Synod this year (the constitution of SMMS provides for only one seminarian representative). Not that I enjoy wading through all the business, but Synods provide a good opportunitity to meet colleagues within one's District.

However, as an ex-accountant now in ministry (at the seminary), and having served on Central District's finance committee prior to my candidature, my eyes were drawn to your statement, "the finance committee of our district should get a medal for being inept...". What has gone wrong, and what needs to be done to improve matters?

I also nodded in wry agreement with the second part, "...but like all things in Rome they were nominated into position again", and share your frustration. Why do we do this to ourselves? We complain about the leadership when they don't perform, yet we return them to their positions time and again. Is there such a dearth of talent within the MCSA? Or are the real reasons more sinister tha that?

Let me not get cynical...


David Barbour said...

Hi Steve,

Yes, it is easy to get cynical and angry with oneself for not standing up and making a huge scene at times. The truth of the matter is some in responsible positions are there by political vote. They are not skilled and thus drag our efficiency down. There is growing sense that this cannot be tolerated any longer. But, I am afraid to say it needs to needs to come from the likes of the Ray Kumalo's of this world.

I will put you on my blogroll and we will not doubt meet one bright Methodist day.