Monday, March 22, 2010

Lent Blog 18: Synods again

It was so exciting first time, I thought I'd have another go.

The first part of the Diocesan Synod on Saturday consisted of a discussion about how many times a year a Deanery Synod should meet as a minimum - 2 or 3. This was such a riveting topic that it took about 20 minutes to resolve. The consensus was 2.

The key question was never asked, of course, which was to ask what the point of a Deanery Synod actually was. If you're clear on the purpose of something, then its frequency becomes self-evident. No-one asked, and I wanted to get to the next item.

Deanery Synods are the level of meeting between a local parish and the Diocese, but falling between those stools leaves it a bit lost. It provides the voters for General Synod elections, and it's a meeting where reps from parishes can listen to talks of general interest, organise some shared events and can be consulted by the 'higher' levels of church government on issues (e.g. votes on ordination of women were taken and fed back to Diocesan Synods) However, they have no power, because they have no money.

Abolition has been proposed, which would have some positives, but would also risk a greater distancing of parishes from the central administration. The alternative is to give them more power. There's a clumsy Euro word, which makes a very good idea sound horrible - subsidiarity. That means get decisions as close to people as possible - take them at the 'lowest' level of decision making that you can.

Maybe the best hope for Deanery Synods would be to give them real money to make real decisions about ministry staffing, mission and priorities. That would given them some focus, and might even help churches to look beyond their boundaries as their shared interest in a local area would be at stake.

Just a thought.

1 comment:

Revsimmy said...

Mmm. Our synod went to 2 meetings until it was discovered that it reduced opportunities for asking questions and making real world decisions. Now we are back to 3.