The proceedings of the Pentecost Synod 2006 have been finally decreed in ceremonies in Wellington and Nelson.
The booklet contains future statements and propositions from Synod 2006 and some stories from the appreciative inquiry process which took place in parishes in preparation for the synod. The booklet was launched on 20 September in Wellington and 29 September in Nelson.
Representatives of all the parishes in the archdiocese were at the two masses to collect their copies. Antonia Sopi, Rita Kasiano, Tava’e Mika and Sarah Alaifatu danced a copy of the booklet into Sacred Heart Cathedral before the Offertory and Archbishop John blessed it with incense.
In his homily, Archbishop John confessed to a deep respect for composers who had the ability to touch people’s hearts with their music.
He referred to the avowed goal of the subject of the film As It Is In Heaven, Daniel Dareus:
‘Ever since I was a small boy I had a dream, my dream was to make music that would open people’s hearts.’
This is what we tried to do at the synod – create a dream for what our church could be … that would open people’s hearts to the wonder of God present in our lives … for where we would pray and work together, where we would be salt and light together for our world which needs to feel the touch of God, where many are ready to be opened to the mercy, graciousness and wonder of God.
This dream was not just for our parishes and communities, our pastoral areas and chaplaincies, but to be the Church of Jesus Christ for the world around us.
Remember our prayer?
‘Jesus calls us salt and light and sends us to be a freeing, healing presence in our world today – you send us into the world as salt and light to flavour life with joy and to scatter the darkness of fear.’
When you receive the synod document you will read of our aim – ‘to enrich every moment with the living presence of Jesus’.
If we use this document well …we will, like the composer Daniel Dareus, open people’s hearts – we will fulfil our dream for our church.
Jesus had a dream. His dream was the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of truth and life, … of holiness and grace … of justice, love and peace. Jesus spoke and acted in such a way as to open people’s hearts.
Jesus spoke of sowing seeds. That seed is the word of God, the gospel, the Christian message of salvation … to enable us to live fully human lives. Living the gospel brings us to full human living; when the gospel rules our lives we enable others to live. The seed, the Word of God, is sown in our open prayerful hearts [and] we begin to live in a way we never thought possible, and together we give God’s life to others.
[At the synod] therefore, we reflected on, prayed about, debated and discussed:
Ministry and Local Leadership
Liturgy Prayer and Spirituality
Youth and Young Adults
Social Justice – our Responsibility
Education and Life-long Growth in Faith
We saw these synod topics as making it possible for us to be a Church of Holiness, Helping, Hospitality and Healing. I invite you to work with this document to do that.
St John wrote about his dream:
‘I saw a new heaven and a new earth’ – the old creation had gone, all John could do was wonder at the glory of God.
‘Now God makes his home with people. God will live with them. They will be the people of God. God will be with them and be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
The one who was sitting on the throne said ‘I am making everything new!’
God is making everything new and will always do so when we open our hearts to grace.
As I promulgate this synod document – I ask you all to use this to create your own pastoral plans, so that through all of us using our gifts God will make all things new and we will open people’s hearts.
Our mission – remember the church is missionary, or it is nothing – is to hear the Word of God, let it take root in our hearts through prayer and be sent out to announce by our presence, by our words and deeds the Reign of God.
We are bound together through baptism, clergy and laity, young and old, women and men, Māori and Pakeha, wherever we originate from, we are bound together in the same fundamental task of being bearers of compassion, peace and hope in our rapidly changing world. Our mission is to work toward peace and justice, toward freedom and truth – longing to see everything as it is intended to be by God. A new creation!
Daniel Dareus, in As It Is in Heaven had a dream to make music that would open people’s hearts.
John’s vision was of a new heaven and a new earth, where God lives among us and is making everything new [Rev 21: 1-5].
Jesus’ dream was for people to hear His word, take it to heart, live by it.
We have created a vision for our church.
There is a temptation which is part of every spiritual journey and every pastoral work: that is to think that the results depend on our ability to act and to plan. God simply asks us to cooperate with his grace, and invites us to invest all our resources of intelligence and energy in serving the cause of the kingdom. It is fatal to forget that ‘without Christ we can do nothing’.
As we continue to dream about opening hearts with the music of the gospel, never forget: that ‘God is making all of creation new’. Remember always ‘Here God lives among us’.
After Communion parish representatives processed to the altar to receive their parish’s copy of the synod booklet, Archbishop John gave the final blessing and the congregation left the cathedral singing: ‘For builders bold whose vision pure / saw more than brick or stone / who laid in hope foundations sure / with Christ the cornerstone … Let faith’s enkindled flame not fail / let love’s best gifts increase / Let hope in Christ’s sure word prevail / til earth and time shall cease.’