Open Space revitalises Synod

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A Synod survey shows that incorporating Open Space had a significantly positive effect on participants’ experiences and engagement at Synod 2019, with a number of Action Groups continuing to explore important areas of interest that impact our community of the Anglican Church in Southern Queensland

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While Synod 2019 has come and gone, many Synod participants continue to explore and share dialogue about issues of interest, such as climate change, support for rural and remote ministry, and new models of Christian community.

Thirteen action plans were included in the Open Space book of proceedings, which can be found on the Synod webpage. Many Synod members expressed interest in ongoing action planning. Each action plan has a convenor and email address listed so others who are interested can make contact and join in.

Anglican Parish of St George with Dirranbandi Church Warden Diane Massurit, who helped organise the Action Plan following the climate change Open Space conversation at Synod.

An online survey of participants taken a few weeks after Synod revealed the success of the Open Space program.

90 percent of survey respondents said that incorporating Open Space this year improved their Synod experience and engagement.

A number reported highlights such as the opportunity to have a say without judgement; enjoying the collaborative nature of the conversations; building each other up even if we do not agree; enthusiasm and passion for making a difference; tolerance of other’s points of view; learning from voices not typically heard; and, hearing stories that people may otherwise have missed.

Archbishop Phillip Aspinall joining other Synod members as they consider which Open Space self-organising dialogue session to participate in.

84 percent of respondents said that Open Space had positive flow-on effects for the rest of Synod, with comments such as “People listened more and we worked better as a group”; “People were more actively engaged”; “It created an opening for connection and dialogue”; and “I felt more contented because I had contributed”.

Importantly, 98 percent of respondents reported that they were either ‘Fully Engaged’ or ‘Engaged’ in the debate on Synod motions.

95 percent of participants thought that Synod should continue to include a different way of meeting that encourages engagement and dialogue, with most saying this should occur every two to three years, and some saying every year.

The feedback from this survey is encouraging and includes helpful suggestions for improving future Synod planning. This includes suggestions on how to better set out business papers, improve venue logistics and enhance the interaction and participation of Synod members.

If you have any questions regarding the survey or how your Action Group can be supported, please contact Lisa Sargeant via The General Manager’s Office on 3835 2253.

Synod Open Space facilitator Brendan McKeague introducing Open Space to Synod members in Morris Hall, Churchie.

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