Saturday 9th March.
I have just returned from a long day at the Yorkshire Synod which this time was held at Heath Church in Halifax. I will endeavour to keep this report as short as I can; condensing 6 hours to A4 size is no easy task!
Picked up by Bennett, we proceeded to pick up two of the young people of five from grove Church who were going to take part in the Youth gathering that was taking place in parallel with the main meeting. When they got into the car at the end of the day I must say I was quite envious as their activities had been Ten Pin Bowling and a Laser Quest. From two young people attending the March Synod and feeling very let down, twenty five came today and had a great time. They are making good friendships within the church, which began with the weekend they spent together in the autumn of last year. After lunch they shared a video of their exploits which included canoeing, climbing and raft building. At Synod the post of someone to work with young people and children is vacant and much work has been done to discern what the new post should be. The young people have requested that a Youth Chaplain be employed to help them spiritually as they grow in the life of the church. It was agreed that subject to the terms and conditions being agreed for this post that this post would be advertised. There is an event planned at Roundhay, Leeds for the weekend July 12th-14th 2013. It sounded very good.
The meeting began with worship led by Kevin and his sermon was based on the lectionary reading for this week of the Prodigal Son: Resilience, Remembrance, Restoration, and Reconciliation. Another interpretation of a well-known parable and which certainly gave me food for thought.
There was a huge amount of business to get through during the day particularly around the ‘Many are Called’…a framework for mission and ministry across Yorkshire’. First though was to receive Kevin’s report. (I urge you to read this; it is on the Yorkshire Synod website.) He spoke on his report outlining the challenges the Yorkshire Synod and the URC as a whole faces in the future. From talks on changes to Synods, to finance; from where we are with Mission and Care Groups and the need for churches to reconnect with Synod, to the need for a Young Peoples’ chaplain and where that stands in relation to the URC thinking nationally.
The ‘Many are Called’ document was thoroughly debated with many points brought to the meeting’s attention. It was stressed that this is a flexible framework and is aimed at helping churches receive the ministry they need for the mission they have identified. Part of the SPACE profile was inserted into the document to give an example of different ways that churches can work together to fulfil their mission. The report was accepted by the meeting and will now be a working document.
Another report accepted at the meeting and is relevant to SPACE churches is ‘Care and Disposal of Church Furnishings and Contents’. It looks as if all churches will need to take an inventory of virtually everything in the church from furniture to ornaments, and even to stained glass and memorial plaques. Just giving you fair warning!
A moving tribute was given to Colin Mundy, the Synod Office Manager who will retire in the summer. He has served Synod for 24 years. Tribute was also paid to Miss Ina Barker who is a member at Heckmondwike Church and has just ceased to be a member of the Synod Council after 41 years of service attending every Synod over that period.
The day was brought to a close with worship on the theme of Dancing with the Holy Spirit led by members of the Halifax Group of Churches.
Synod website HERE