I have spent the last three days attending the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, this year held at Ps&Gs church on York Place Edinburgh. The agenda of Synod was varied with the familiar financial and canonical information and debates sitting alongside presentations on the 'good society' (see the Churches Together in Britain & Ireland website) and discussions on same sex issues. The latter, as one might expect, interested everybody present.Synod also changed the way we meet. This year we sat at round tables in groups of eight. These were random groups but each table had a facilitator to aid discussion and listening when needed. I acted as facilitator for my table and we had an incredible journey with much deep sharing and expression of passionately held beliefs. For me this Synod was a good experience and I think this way of working has much to commend it for the future health of our church. For more information see the website of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
Synod was modelled parts of the 'Cascade' conversation process that it set up last year, focusing upon agreeable disagreement and deep listening to the stories and views of each other. Although for some present we are not moving forward fast enough in offering equal marriage in church, I think on the whole many people felt that the 'Cascade' process was a way forward in which we can hold together as a denomination and not tear ourselves apart. Hurt and pain, joy and amazement were expressed by different people and if one thing became apparent it was that we can not assume that we know what another person thinks or feels about this topic.
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