Day 2 of synod was a day packed full of discussions in small groups in slightly larger small groups, elections, discussions of resolutions, casting ballots, greetings and all the other things that typically happen when the body of Christ gathers together to discern their direction for any length of time and for Moravians in the Southern Province of the Moravian Church in America that happens to be every 4 years. The pictures to the left reflect what we spent most of the time doing sitting in plenary session listening to our partners in ministry bring greetings or resolutions being read and discussed.
The good news is that’s not all we did. We meet in our pilgrimage groups (small small groups) and our characteristic groups (slightly larger small groups) twice. The characteristic group that I’ve been assigned to is growth. So we spent several hours today talking about growth in relationship with numerical growth within our churches. We used creative ways to get us talking about where we are now and where we might be in 8 years.
In the where we are now we used a technique known to many as mind mapping. Which is a fancy name to saying using both picture and words answer some questions (or at least thats what it meant to my small group). Since we were talking about growth we used a tree as our structure and the limbs where words or phrases that defined aspects that are relevant now to Church growth – specifically looking at the culture that surrounds the church. We were instructed to not make it a list of problems or to problem solve. Easier said than done. Then as we gathered our three small groups together we shared our mind mapping with each other. And it was interesting how common threads where seen throughout the conversations.
The next time we gathered we were called upon to be even more creative as we looked at where we will be in 8 years — we were encouraged to dream to think out of our abundance and not out of our fears. Then we were given creative license to find a way to share it with the our three small groups when we gathered. Our group did a sort of skit/drama as a newscaster from our 24 hour Moravian Network interviewing a board from a growing and thriving church. We laughed and we played together and I mentioned after all three groups had taken their turn that it’s great to think out of our abundance. It makes laughter easier, it draws us closer together and it reminds us of our common purpose. One of the small groups made use of the term magnetic church and I loved it….who doesn’t want to be the church that can attract new members and new mission opportunities. The term Magnetic doesn’t seem to come with the baggage that perhaps Mega Church does.
Now back to plenary session – we had several elections but it is significant to note that The Rev. David Guthrie was re-elected to a 4 year term as Provincial Elders Conference (PEC) president on the second ballot and we elected 3 clergy reps to the PEC on the first ballot. Now the task ahead is to elect the lay people to fill the remaining positions. We also decided to elect 1 Bishop and the first ballot was cast. No results of that have been shared with us.
During plenary session tonight I was at times distracted by the beautiful sunset that graced my view, so in closing I share some of the pictures I took of that.
I am grateful to God for allowing me the great blessing to serve as pastor in such a church. Thanks be to God!