Diocesan Synod: 2-6th February 2015
We flew from Malta to Larnaca, Cyprus on the Saturday – I had a Bishop’s Council and Standing Committee Meeting on Sunday before the start of Synod on the Monday. Compared with the previous year, the Synod had a very positive spirit. There was the usual pattern of worship, teaching from the Dean of St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem, a quiet morning at a monastery, discussion groups and the business of Synod and many opportunities to meet others from different chaplaincies and overseas over meals . It varied from previous years in that there was an overall Diocesan video. Jon Lavelle’s first months as a curate and Angela’s Remembering trees featured in this from Bahrain, rather than individual Chaplaincy reports. This freed up time in the programme for three group discussions on three features: What is a Diocese for? What does a Diocese do? and How can this be resourced? The results of these discussions fed into three motions presented to the Synod on the final day.
The big elephant in the room, sometimes referred to but often lurking was the Dubai Chaplaincy. Archdeacon Bill Schwartz spent the week in Dubai. The Senior Chaplain, who has seen all his clergy colleagues leave in the past year, has had his licence to minister taken away by the Bishop. But he has effectively declared UDI from the Diocese and is fighting his dismissal with every means he can. It is a very unhappy situation and your prayers for Dubai are requested at this time.
It was good to meet the newly appointed Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Nicosia – Jeremy Crocker – and look forward to developing the relationship between our two cathedral communities.