My Dear Parishioners,
The Forty-Ninth Session of the Synod of the Diocese of North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba convenes this week here in St. Kitts. It begins with Solemn Evensong and the delivery of the Bishop’s Charge Part I, today, Sunday, 27th September, at 6.30 pm. A Solemn Procession of the delegates and national flags begins at the Parish Hall at 6.00 pm. It moves along Victoria Road turning right to the Parish Church. Then the Opening Service will be followed tomorrow by the business meetings at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort when Part II of the Bishop’s Charge will be delivered to the delegates.
The Synod is the highest decision-making body of the Church in our Diocese. It consists of clerical and lay delegates who represent the parishes which comprise the Diocese. From among the laity, there is both an adult and a youth representative, attending on behalf of each parish. Diocesan officers, commissioners, trustees and Heads of Diocesan organizations will also be attending. Bishop Errol Brooks, our Diocesan Bishop, will chair the meetings. At this Synod there will be some emphasis on applying the Gospel to everyday living. To this end, we shall be having facilitators who will be leading the discussion on various topics, namely: health issues such as non communicable diseases, the environment, climate change, stewardship, disaster preparedness and so forth. The General Theme of the Synod is: “We are Stewards of God’s Creation.”
In his Introduction to the Bible Study Booklet, Bishop Brooks had this to say: “For many persons, stewardship is about money. That is partly true…..Stewardship is a way of life...God owns everything. We are stewards of God’s creation.” God has made each of us a steward and has given us abilities and talents that are unique. Everything we have is given to us by God: time, relationships, the Gospel, property, talents….. and the list goes on . We should use them all - abilities and material resources, as well as our very lives to serve God and our fellow human beings. A Christian steward serves God out of love and gratitude for these gifts, knowing that it is not how much we have , but what we do with what we have, that is of paramount importance.
Synod will run for four days beginning with Morning Prayer, Daily Bible Study and Theological Reflection, Holy Eucharist at mid-day, and Evening Prayer at the end of the day’s proceedings. During past Synods we grouped into clusters and shared ideas in plenary. In this Synod there will be a slight departure from that. When we consider that everything that we are trying to undertake requires resources, financial and human, we feel it is necessary for there to be total discussion on finance and just by one group. Again, the entire assembly should be looking at our human resources not least, discussing our youth; and so this will engage everyone’s attention. Thus all clusters will have built into their discussions some aspect of finance and youth. That is the proposal for this and future Synods in our Diocese.
Perhaps I should bring this commentary to a close by harping some more on the major theme, which is a subject that can never be exhausted. Nowadays, this concept of stewardship finds a place in the spiritual sphere as well as in the secular realm. Environmentalists, agribusiness leaders, public servants, industrialists and scientists, to name a few, refer to stewardship when dealing with various aspects of their disciplines. This obviously gives weight to our understanding that all of life is about stewardship.
God is the source, and a generous God allows us to use and hold in trust whatever we have during our journey through life. As stewards it behoves each of us to ponder and act upon it. This means therefore that each delegate should return to his/her parish with renewed energy, and a clearer understanding of what stewardship is, and intent on being a catalyst for change in relation to our life and what we do with it for God. In other words, there must be a serious attempt and effort for us to examine the way we live and the manner in which we are using God’s gifts. Delegates should therefore challenge their congregations to be faithful stewards of God’s creation, and endeavour to implement strategies and achieve
goals as they manage and sustain their stewardship.
May this be a learning experience for all of us.
With all good wishes and prayers Canon Val