Reflecting on a Special Edition Synod
General Synod 33 was not my first Synod – but it was my first one as a voting delegate. It was not my first experience with an online meeting – but it was certainly the biggest and most complicated. It was not my first time to wrestle with complicated issues – but it definitely called for all the resources I had, and occasionally for resources I didn’t have.
The business meeting of our 199th ‘Aha Pae’āina was incredibly short, disguising the truth that most of the time Internet-based meetings actually take more time, not less, to hear all voices and reach a decision. Complicated issues such as some of those Synod delegates faced took even longer. Discussion in committees occasionally felt rushed to me; we felt the pressure of time. Debate in the larger plenary settings dragged as tech staff labored to find queued speakers and give them their time, then felt cut short as moderators or delegates called for votes.
The people took up the challenges, however. They wrestled with thorny questions and, if not everyone agreed with the results (and they didn’t), they made choices. They were willing to reconsider actions with new information and they also clung to their strongly held beliefs, whether for better or for worse is hard to say.
I would prefer not to meet or decide in this way. I missed the meals with old friends and their take on the matters of the day. I miss the opportunity to have deeper discussion among our delegation and with other delegations. I miss the chance to wander through a set of displays to just let the ministries of the church wash over me.
Blessings to our Hawai’i Conference delegates and to all who sought the Holy Spirit during General Synod 33!