Our Diocesan Synod took place on 5 March 2022 via Zoom coming from St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow.
Below is a selection of the relevant materials which were discussed and offered during Synod.
- Bishop Kevin’s Charge to Synod 2022
- Elections Results
- Dean’s Presentation
- Canon Missioner’s Presentation
- Digital Missioner’s Talk
- Diocesan Centre Update
Bishop Kevin’s Charge to Synod
The Rt Rev Kevin Pearson opened our Synod on 5th March 2022 with the following words:
Dear Friends – welcome to our Diocesan Synod in the midst of a crisis in Ukraine that is perilous for the world and for every one of us. There is nothing I can say that will not sound trite and trivial.
If we were meeting in person, at this point I would ask you to stand, simply to remember the people of Ukraine, and pray. By God’s grace, we are able to create and share this sacred space and so we are able to pray together. And I would remind you that we pray not to manipulate God, but we pray for God’s peace, in the sure and certain hope that good is stronger than evil, in the sure and certain hope that God is love and in prayer we share that peace and love, with those in Kyiv who knelt in the snow outside their cathedral last week, with those whose lives and families this day are torn apart by violence and that most lethal of all weapons – fear.
O Lord Jesus Christ who said to your disciples, ‘My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you’: grant to us your peace this day that with the people of Ukraine we may work to dispel the darkness of fear in the sure and certain hope of your peace and love in the power of the spirit, and to the glory of God, our Father. Amen.
Later in the service, Bishop Kevin offered the following Charge to Synod:
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
From the prophet Isaiah we heard earlier:
‘The spirit of the Lord God is upon me – to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God’
‘The spirit of the Lord God is upon me – to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God’
Vengeance is the word that springs out of that vision of Isaiah.
It springs out, it catches my eye, my ear, my mind, because my idea of retribution is ‘getting our own back, winning’.
But in Hebrew Scripture, the day of vengeance is the day on which God sets right all that is perverted and wrong in the world.
What a vision, as we find ourselves, yet again, in the midst of things we do not understand, in Ukraine.
We carry the people of Ukraine in our hearts as we gather, to pray and to celebrate this Eucharist. This Eucharist in which we celebrate the great Vision of Isaiah, that in Our Lord Jesus Christ we have Hope. Hope, even in the darkest times. Real Hope that is a past remembrance, a present reality and a future Hope.
Past remembrance, the power of this celebration lies in the fact that in our darkest nights of pain, stress and loss, God is with us. That is what Our Lord Jesus Christ is all about, God is with us in the Holy Spirit of understanding.
And that depth of understanding makes God real in the love we share but more than that, much more than that, the reality of the love we share models the eternal characteristics of being with God, but more than that, much more than that, love models the eternal characteristics of God being with us.
This is our Hope, our real Hope that is the proof that ‘the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me’, with me.
Now take that wonderful concept, idea, which was underlined in Psalm 23 when we said, ‘God restores my soul’ and in the reading from James we see, hear, understand how God restores my soul – in the Hope of resurrection. Christ, the firstfruits of those who have died.
The past remembrance of pain and loss, of Jesus’ suffering and death, but of Love that is of a breadth and depth in which we see, hear, understand the eternal characteristics of Love which we see modelled in every gesture of kindness, generosity, understanding – there we model the eternal characteristics of God.
That is why when we read Luke’s Gospel, and we hear Jesus’ words, ‘Today the scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’, there is our present reality and our future Hope. The eternal characteristics of God’s love which we model in every gesture of kindness, generosity, understanding, even, especially in the midst of things we do not understand, in Ukraine, in Covid.
Amidst the pain, fear, violence and loss that we see in Ukraine, and that we have felt through Covid, who in the words of scripture could not fail to be ‘moved by compassion’? Compassion, which is one of the eternal characteristics of Love, which Jesus modelled in all His dealings, a present and our future Hope.
In the midst of things we do not always understand, – the tomb, the place of darkness, loneliness, chaos. To grow into the full stature of Christ we have to recognise the tomb, the place of darkness and fear, disappointment and failure.
When we hear at the beginning of the Eucharist there is no room for feat in love, we have to hear, we have to understand, we have to see that darkness, darkness may be a part of growth. Think of plants and crops, the darkness of a season leading to Spring and new life. Think of the Ukrainian symbol of the sunflower, turning towards the light. Hope and the maturity of the full stature of the eternal characteristics of Love. Isn’t that what this season of Lent is all about, recognising there is no room for fear in Love, recognising that all in the end is Harvest?
Hope in Love, even, especially in the midst of things we do not understand. We pray, we journey with the people of Ukraine and carry them with us on our journey as a Diocese, as a Church, as disciples of Jesus.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon each one of us, every member of the Synod, this Diocese, this Church.
That is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. ’The spirit of the Lord God is upon me’ and each one of us plays our part in making the eternal characteristics of God’s love real in, and through, the Mission of our Diocese and our Church and our Synod structures.
At this point, I have a personal announcement – as you all know I was translated to Glasgow and Galloway on 1st July 2020. It has been a peculiar and challenging time of lockdown and restrictions and finally, therefore, I feel I need to announce that on the 1st July 2022 – I will, finally, Arrive, in Newlands, in Cochrane Street and in the Diocese generally.
As I’ve said, and we all know, that the past two years have been punctuated by more or less restrictions. And personally, constantly, I have been reminded of the story of the children of Israel in the Book of the Exodus, when Pharaoh instructs that they will no longer be given straw to make their bricks, but the number of bricks must remain the same; and the ’Bricks Without Straw’ has perhaps been, and is, the experience of Mission, Ministry and church life for every member of this Synod.
Bricks without Straw has certainly been the experience of the Diocesan office staff, officers, and those of us who should, by tradition, be based in the diocesan office. The Diocesan staff, officers and Core Group have never actually been able to meet in the same physical space, since I arrived. Today and the last Synod are probably the nearest we have achieved to being together, and physically the office was not available for most of the time. The old office, because it was closed, the new office because bricks without straw was, at one point, almost literally the experience of those working on it.
We began today by reading Isaiah this morning, and I would remind you that the prophet’s Vision can be made real, it is aspirational but has a reality, as we can model the eternal characteristics of God who is love, we can model generosity, kindness, compassion in our own lives. Because a vision can be realised, made real; a fantasy cannot.
The Vision of the Diocesan Office is of a Diocesan Facilitation Centre. Within the physical environs of the office in Cochrane Street there will be, there are, resources in terms of personnel and equipment and facilities, all of which are designed to facilitate the mission and ministry of every member of this Synod.
And the importance of the Diocesan Facilitation Centre, is that it represents our confidence, our confidence in the vision of our future serving God, facilitating the mission of making new disciples for Jesus, all over the Diocese and being confident in the power of the wisdom and understanding of the Holy Spirit. Not on a 3-year contract but confident that in 5, 10, 25 years’ time, we will see the gospel preached and flourish, in different ways, even if today we feel we are set to making bricks without straw.
We started laying the foundations for the next phase of Diocesan life, when we adopted a New Constitution, fit for purpose, last year. The move into a Diocesan Facilitation Centre and mode, allows us the opportunity to ensure that our administrative structures are fit for purpose and adaptable for the next 25 years.
Bricks without Straw is a useful concept in differentiating between Vision and Fantasy.
Obviously for the Bishop the office will be something of a base and now that, at last, I am able to actually, physically visit congregations and regions, I will be able to learn about needs and wants and bring them back. It is a great to joy to Elspeth and myself that we are now able to visit a different congregation every week, to worship with you and to get to know you better. I had a super time in Galloway last week, and the potential of that region is something we are actively exploring.
Again, the new Diocesan Constitution, and the new Diocesan Council, enables us to explore realistically how best to use our limited resources to explore opportunities for ministry and mission in the future. Thus, we are looking to encourage appointments in Challoch and New Galloway, Stranraer and Portpatrick, appointments that will facilitate exploration of the potential of these areas. During the pandemic, we have made significant new appointments of people who will bring much to their charges and the Diocese, and I welcome all of you here today.
Involved in stipendiary, ordained appointments, is the whole issue of clergy well-being and the well-being of all those in leadership roles.
Dean Reuben will introduce a programme of online resources that will make counselling, psychotherapy, spiritual direction, and a whole host of facilities, available online at little or no cost, to all those who feel that ‘bricks without straw’ describes ministry at the present time. This a resource alongside Pastoral Supervision, Ministerial Development, and individual mentoring, so valued by all of us in ministry.
Canon Fyfe as Synod Clerk is organising training for those in recognised Lay Ministries. Over the summer I hope to arrange a date in the autumn for a celebration of all lay ministries. The autumn date for the Clergy Conference is in the diary, following the successful clergy pilgrimage through Galloway last October. This October, obviously, we will now pilgrimage through the secret parts of the Diocese of Glasgow, like Motherwell and Hamilton.
Meanwhile, we are preparing in the Scottish Episcopal Church for the Season of Christian life, which will be launched at a Provincial Conference in the Autumn.
Again, on a personal note, I will attend the Lambeth Conference of all bishops in the Anglican Communion in Canterbury in late July and into August. The Conference is two years late, there is still debate as to who will be able to travel to Canterbury due to Covid. Hopefully, it will be a very positive experience and allow us to exchange views and experiences.
One aspect of Facilitation within the Diocese, which is of paramount importance, is that of appointments to Charges. Dean Reuben and I have evolved a process of preparing Vestries for advertising, interviewing and appointment. The process draws on the experience we had in lockdown of using videos, Zoom etc. We also are able to point to the considerable resources and support that are offered to clergy coming into the Diocese. This is working well, and again part of the solid foundation of the Vision of Building God’s Kingdom in and through the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, is the support of those who are coming to minister here, even when we are trying to make bricks without straw.
Just as I end, I would like to talk about death and resurrection in the life of our diocese and our congregations – and about ending well. One of the things about church life is we are not good at ending things well. But at St Mungo’s, Alexandria, the congregation decided that they had gone along the road as far as they could, and they ended their life well. And that is a sign of resurrection: they moved as a body to a different congregation, and they are alive and experiencing God. Today we will be asked to consider the life of St Bartholomew’s, Gourock and their request to end well.
So: as we try to make bricks without straw, we should always remember that bricks without straw was an essential part of the history of our salvation. The salvation which allows us to model the characteristics of Generosity, Kindness, Compassion, modelling the characteristics of God who is LOVE.
The Synod Clerk, the Rev Canon Gordon Fyfe, was elected for a further term.
Below are the results of the Diocesan Council election which was conducted by post. For the first election only following the affirmation of the new Diocesan Constitution the first term of office will be two years for the three Lay Members elected in positions 4th to 6th, and two years for the Clergy Members elected in positions 3rd and 4th under the Single Transferable Vote system.
|Clergy (4-Year Term)||The Rev Cn Paul Watson||Bishopbriggs|
|Clergy (4-Year Term)||The Rev Lee Johnston||North Ayrshire Team|
|Clergy (2-Year Term)||The Rev Janice Aiton||Dumfries|
|Clergy (2-Year Term)||The Rev Willi Nesbitt||Greenock|
|Laity (4-Year Term)||Mrs Nicolette Wise||New Galloway|
|Laity (4-Year Term)||Miss Jenny Whelan||Newlands|
|Laity (4-Year Term)||Dr Beth Routledge||Cathedral|
|Laity (2-Year Term)||Dr David Simmons||Bearsden|
|Laity (2-Year Term)||Mr Nigel Rayner||Troon|
|Laity (2-Year Term)||Mr Ronnie Orr||Monklands|
Below are the results of the General Synod election which was conducted by post. The newly elected members will fill in the relevant vacancies.
|Clergy (4 Year Term)||The Rev Cn Oliver Brewer-Lennon||Cathedral|
|Clergy (2nd 4-Year Term)||The Rev Paul Singh||Moffat & Lockerbie|
|Laity (4 Year Term)||Beth Routledge||Cathedral|
|Laity(4year Term)||Nigel Rayner||Troon|
|Laity (4 Year Term)||Gerry Ewan||Challoch|
|Laity (2nd 4-Year Term)||Carol Lovett||Kelvinside|
Below are the results of the Alternate Representatives to General Synod.
Mr Richard Horrell – Helensburgh
Dr David Hickson – Moffat
Mr Richard Smith – Helensburgh
Mr Paul Hindle – Lenzie
The Rev Cn Gordon Fyfe – Newlands
The Rev Debbie Davison – Paisley & Hillington
The Rev Heller Gonzalez – Dumbarton
The Rev Dominic Ind – Helensburgh
Canon Missioner’s Presentation
Digital Missioner’s Talk
Diocesan Centre Update
During the Synod Eucharist, Bishop Kevin installed the Rev Paul Watson, Rector of St James the Less, Bishopbriggs, as Canon of St Mary’s Cathedral.
The Synod Eucharist also included the renewal of commitment to ministry and the blessing of holy oils.
Download a PDF copy of the Synod Eucharist Booklet.