Having previously attended 2019 Synod as an observer, I had the opportunity to formally contribute to 2021’s Synod as the Youth Representative for the Northern Region. Needless to say, I was slightly intimidated by the shift from observer to Youth Representative and from open space to parliamentary-style dialogue. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the incredibly unique experience I received by engaging with Brisbane Synod in this way.
I enjoyed the formalities and dynamics of Synod, which allowed me to better understand the ways in which important decisions are made at Synod-level in our Diocese. Furthermore, having a background in high school debating gave me an appreciation for Synod standing orders (the rules governing how Synod conducts its business) and the way that they provide all participants with the opportunity to express themselves and their arguments for and against motions. This creates a very inclusive environment, balancing the formality of procedures and the opportunity to share personal perspectives.
I felt that Synod’s formal/personal balance was further exemplified by my interactions outside of Synod sessions. During the breaks over the weekend, I found everybody to be approachable and more than willing to introduce themselves, have a conversation and invite a new face into their discussions. This made it very easy to meet people from other parishes who were interested in the same areas of the Church as myself, particularly in retaining young people in the Church as they become young adults. I look forward to catching up with these friendly faces in the future and I am grateful for the opportunity to expand my network within the Anglican Church Southern Queensland.
Throughout the recent Synod weekend, I learnt more about the decisions and structure of the Church than ever before. The debates and discussions were both engaging and intellectually stimulating, and I often ended up asking myself more questions than I posed to others. I also always felt as though my perspective was valued and it was heartening that everyone had an interest in making sure others felt genuinely heard.
I feel proud to be part of, and to contribute to, a community with such a diverse array of perspectives and opinions. It is also a testament to the inclusive nature of the Church that we are unified under the goal of comprehensive Anglicanism by seeking to listen to everybody’s views in decision making. It is especially rewarding when Synod reaches consensus on an original motion or an amendment.
2021 Synod showed me the power of working together to understand each other and to build a Church that we can all be proud of. It is rare to find a community with such dedication towards inclusive and positive change and I look forward to engaging with Synod in the future.Jump to next article