Church is the gathered community, not a building. Synod communities and ministries meet around kitchen tables and in living rooms, coffee shops and pizza parlors, rented halls, and sometimes even in borrowed sanctuaries: wherever two or more are gathered together in Jesus’ name. Our focus is on serving God and God’s people, not financing real estate.
What unites us in Synod as ministries and communities is our voluntary covenant to be together in this experiment in faithful living. It all comes down to trust in ourselves, in each other, and in Jesus the Christ.
We live our faith: working always for openness to other viewpoints, to the possibility of changing one’s own understanding based on the testimony and insight of others, in dialog. We work intentionally to recapture that openness to new insight, and act on the belief that God’s Holy Spirit is truly among us, leading us forward.
Small is Beautiful
A gift of our small size is that we do not need any layers of bureaucracy or mazes of agencies. We are committed to a fully participatory community so that all truly have a voice in the growth and life of our Synod. We never confuse ‘head count’ with the quality of our witness and ministries.
Local ministers and communities come together to renew our covenant, and strengthen our friendships at our Annual Conference. Decision-making is by consensus. The Synod’s business is managed by a small Ministry Team elected by the whole of the membership. Our two bishops act as our “cat herders”, keeping us connected and tending to the few administrative duties among us.
Through our baptism, we are all made ministers of the Gospel, and followers of the Christ. Yet we recognize that as gathered communities and ministries, we sometimes need “specialists”, who are trained to preside at the Sacraments, and lead and teach and counsel.
The three kinds of ordained ministers are not a hierarchy of privilege or power, as has happened too often in the Roman and Orthodox and other Anglican churches. Each ministry is a unique expression of servant leadership, and has its own calling and duties.
Deacons are ordained to supervise the right use of the worldly goods of the local community, and actively work in ministries of service and presence between the local communities and those who are in need in the world at large. Deacons give voice to the voiceless, and make visible the real needs of those whom our society makes invisible. By extension, Deacons are called on to speak for the earth, as stewards of the resources of our planet, and as kin of all our non-human sisters and brothers. Deacons at worship proclaim the Gospel and serve at the Communion Table.
Priests are ordained to celebrate the Sacraments (Baptism, Eucharist, etc.), provide pastoral care and oversight for the local communities (or ministries or chaplaincies), to teach the Gospel and lead by example. Priests are called on to reveal the whole earth as Sacred, and all of life as Holy.
Bishops are ordained as the pastoral leaders of our Synod. Bishops fulfill their ancient role as initiators of the faithful into the Mysteries of the Christian community: baptizing, confirming, commissioning and ordaining. As such, Bishops ensure that those who are initiated are ready and worthy. Our Bishops stand in the apostolic succession of bishops, but we remove what the Roman empire inserted into the role of Bishop: princely control. Our bishops are senior pastors and servant leaders, not privileged rulers. Bishops ensure that the Gospel is revealed, that ministers and communities and ministries are spiritually nurtured.