Here we are, less than 20 days out from our Diocesan Synod, so my last week has been spent with the staff from Pastoral Ministries and the members of the Synod Working Party busily refining the Synod documents and the Five Foundations Papers, thanks to the many valuable submissions, along with working on the practical reality of running the Synod across six hubs.
I am sure it will come as no surprise to my readers that what has occupied me during this past week has been the reading of the synod submission responses to our contemplative dialogue process during Lent – Building the Kingdom of God Together – Our Journey. On average there have been fifty submissions each week to the Five Foundations.
Our belief in the teachings and resurrection of Jesus prompts us to be a part of the Christian community. In turn, our experience of Christian community strengthens our faith. It was only when Thomas was with the other disciples that he met the risen Christ and came to believe in him. It is a simple truth that faith builds community and community builds faith.
I believe this is part of the very essence of our diocesan synod.
This message, written on Sunday 4 April, is special to me in many ways – it is Easter Sunday, it is Allen and my wedding anniversary, and it is also our son’s 40th birthday. So much of this is about new life, new beginnings and about faith, hope and love. This is what Easter stands for and I am glad to have been brought up in a faith-filled Christian Catholic family which provided me with a meaningful life and a reason to serve.
I hope that you were able to experience the exhilaration of being able to sing as a whole community on Sunday. For me, this began on Thursday, as I joined in our choir practice for the Holy Week ceremonies at the Cathedral. I realised that without this community singing, I had not woken up during the past year with hymns being ‘played’ in my head - a whole year without that sound of joy to greet my days. I was thrilled to be able to sing the parts of the Mass tonight (Sunday) and to hear the voices of those gathered. The other aspect of Mass at the Cathedral this Sunday evening was the swelling of the numbers of those who attended. It was awesome to have something near normal for the first time in over a year.