Saturday, May 13, 2006

Remainder of Synod

So I talked the other day about the first day of Synod... but what about the rest of it? As has been discussed on the Church of Ireland Email Forum, Synod was a bit quiet this year, possibly because of the announcement of 'the big man' relating to his retirement. There were some interesting, if very short debates on subjects including the Masonic, the ARCIC Mary Document, the Windsor Report, and Ministry in the church.

Rather worrying was the debate on the Masonic, though. The Standing Committee of the Church had produced a statement, which was in the Book of Reports, and went as follows:

"The Honorary Secretaries recognise that the religious aspect of Freemasonry, as far as we can tell, does not equate with the fullness of the Christian teaching of the Church of Ireland. Notwithstanding this recognition, the Honorary Secretaries believe that membership of, and participation in, Freemasonry is a matter of free choice and conscience ofr members of the Church of Ireland."

Brian Blacoe was quick to point out that not only are its aspects different from the teaching of the Church, that the Committee should have gone further, in condemining the order outright. He quoted from a hymn, sung at the meetings, which praised masonry as divine, and elevated King Hiram to the highest place.

Two speakers (I didn't know who they were), then got up and stated that they were members of the order, that there was nothing wrong with it because you had to believe in 'a superior being' to join, and that there was unity in the lodge room between Christians, Jews, Muslims and other theists, and that it enabledthem to be a better Christian. Because, after all, we all believe in the one God, and there was respect among the members who were on 'different pathways.'

My respects go to David McClay, rector of Willowfield who immediately got up to rebuke them, asking was this house not Christian, and if so, did we not believe Jesus when he said 'I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father, except by me'? I almost got up myself, but David got there first and said what needed to be said.

That was possibly the most interesting of the debates, but, as in so many, there was no resolution or proper debate - the chairman simply called time and wanted to move on. And that was General Synod 2006. Next year's event is in Kilkenny, so it will be a bit of a holiday, and my first time as far south in Ireland - unless I make it down there between now and then.

And the day after General Synod finished, what arrived in the mail, only the notification for the Diocesan Synod, to be held in Moira near the end of June. So we have that to look forward to!

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