May 2, 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Southern Province Synod took place April 19-22 at Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC. Held every four years, the Synod is the highest governing body of the Southern Province. The Synod is comprised of delegates from congregations, boards, agencies, and all pastors serving under call. The Synod provides vision, direction, and expectations for the ministry of the Southern Province. To fulfill this responsibility, the 2018 Synod approved 22 proposals that became resolutions. These resolutions will be the basis for the actions of the Province over the next 4 years. One of the resolutions, Resolution 14: “Leadership Roles and Diversity of Views”, has been the cause for a lot of discussion. Here is a summary of the resolution provided by the PEC:
Resolution 14 (Proposal 28)
Leadership Roles and Diversity of Views
Synod received the report of the 2014 Resolution 12 Steering Committee, accepted its conclusions and observations, and affirmed “that through this conversation process, we have learned and experienced that our unity in Christ is far greater than our differing views and understandings about homosexuality and the church, and we can be welcoming, respectful and loving toward one another in our differences.” Synod affirmed: the role of pastors and Boards of Elders (or Church Boards) in determining within the congregation “who is or is not admitted into membership or leadership, who may or may not participate in rites (confirmation, marriage) and sacraments (baptism, communion) and the purposes for which church buildings [and properties] may be used.” Synod affirmed the “freedom of conscience of pastors to decide whether or not to administer a rite or sacrament in any particular situation.” Synod affirmed the role of the PEC in matters related to candidacy for ordination, approving ordinations of deacons and consecration of presbyters, administering the call process and calling and superintending the ministers of the province. Synod affirmed the respective roles, discernment and decision making of the following in the call process: the PEC, church boards, and pastors. Synod affirmed “there are differences among us in [these] matters, and we will be respectful of one another’s viewpoints, and of the roles, discernment and decision of our pastors, church boards and of the PEC.” Synod directed PEC to develop resources and materials to assist pastors, church boards, and congregations in their dialogue, discernment and decision-making; and encouraged all congregations to make use of these resources.
The New Philadelphia Board of Elders will be making use of the resources developed by the PEC to help our congregation determine what, if any, impact this resolution will have on the life and ministry of our congregation. Worth will also be offering his thoughts on this resolution as part of his sermon on Sunday May 13. Additionally, we hope that you will feel free to ask any questions you have about this resolution or any of the other actions of the 2018 Synod. Worth and I will be happy to answer them and engage in conversation with you about Synod. Attached is a summary of the 2018 Synod. It includes a list of elections and a brief synopsis of all the resolutions.
A Summary of Synod may be found HERE