Last night we all wrapped up warm and headed to Embra for the Diocesan Synod. Numbers are usually down for this October one because it usually deals with budgets and money things which I understand is not everybody’s cup of lapsang souchong. However, of late, whoever is responsible for organising these things has tried to jazz things up a bit.
We begin with worship in the cathedral (the coldest cathedral in Christendom, I believe). After all, I believe they have good heating systems in Helsinki. For some reason we don’t use the nave altar but the high one, which is lovely and all that, but it means that half the folk get to sit up beside the choir stalls, then there is the choir and then miles away are the remnant. Most bizarre. And now I have to take back all I have said about the same old hymns being trotted out each time. For yes, we had one modern-ish hymn (Brother, Sister let me serve you) offset by a mass setting by Victoria. Lovely though.
Then it is a quick race to Starbucks for a decent decaff and a fag outside and blether to all latecomers. Then into cosy (yes some churches put their heating on) Palmerston Place church to find out which group we are in. (This is the jazzing up bit.) Being put into groups does two things. It stops old friends sitting in the same old place and creating ‘naughty corners’ and it means that we meet new people who we might not have had a chance to talk to before.
The finance bit was actually entertaining thanks to our new gorgeous Diocesan Treasurer, the lovely Rachel. (A party girl, we were told, and not just a boring accountant – and I can vouch for that!) Then Morag and others gave us an amusing presentation on Messy Church. She told us that everywhere she goes people ask her how to get children into church. Her first powerpoint slide suggested ‘Procreation’ but, as she said, looking at the age profile of Synod that might be a bit ambitious. An understatement, I’d say.
Bishop Brian gave us a talk about God and Synod, I think. With powerpoint too. (I was having a bit of trouble with my Blackberry at this point so may have missed some of the finer details.) Perhaps there was something about early church synods discussing the nature of God so we did, in our groups. Our facilitator wrote up our comments and they will be collated later.
This was Fr Kevin’s last Synod in Edinburgh before he takes up his post as Bishop of Argyll & The Isles so we said farewell to him and watched his face as he was presented with a creature made out of empty water bottles (think Messy Church). Every bishop’s palace should have one.
So all in all I think it was a good Synod. Even worth travelling into Embra at rush hour for.