Friday, October 12, 2007

ACC Synod - News Bulletin II

From our correspondent in Cleveland:

Friday, October 12, 2007

On another damp, cool day (12 degrees cooler than the day before and, yes,
those degrees are from the original thermometer, not that funny European one) the ACC's Provincial Synod met for the second, and as it turned out, last day yesterday in Cleveland. A number of routine and purely formal actions were taken, such as the separation of the Synod into its three constituent Houses (Bishops, Clergy, and Laity) for those bodies to elect their own officers, elect their members on the Administrative Council, Provincial Court, etc., and generally to chew the fat among

The Senate of the Clergy, as usual, immediately passed by acclamation a motion to reappoint all existing officers, representatives, etc., and adjourned. Thus sensibly the men in black made it possible to spend a couple of hours chatting individually, nosing around the Angican Parishes Association's book table, examining the samples of vestments from the new Church Mouse supplier, talking with Fr. Rice, Sister Anne and their cohorts about Good Samaritan Services (the wildly successful social services agency on the West Bank in New Orleans), and similar things while
the Laity and Bishops, in other rooms, did deep and ecclesiastical things.

When the Synod reconvened, Bishop Garang told it something of the situation in the Sudan and Archbishop John Augustine reported on the developements in India that he had already imparted to the College of Bishops earlier in the week.

Canon Marvin Gardner explained the new St. Paul Mission Society that had been functioning on an informal basis as coordinator of the Church's mission funding ever since the last Synod (Grand Rapids, MI, 2005) had requested attention to this area and that was now being formalized by legislation put forward for the Synod's consideration (and which in fact passed).

Father Bien-Amie told about the situation in Haiti and how grievously the rural population suffers from the lack of basic necessities such as clean water. He has been able to put a water system in one village for only $10,000 and has another place he will put one as soon as the money becomes available. (The College of Bishops has already authorized the sale of some land in Tennessee that was given to the Church some years ago; out of the proceeds of this sale, the first $10,000 will go to Fr. Bien-Amie and the residue will go into the Province's Endowment Fund.)

Bishop Brian Iverach, who has been working with the Second Province in India, explained the Church of India's plan to open its own seminary and also discussed the opening of a mission in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. He is about to move back from Texas to his original home, Australia, where he will assist the small number of ACC members there and see what can be done to expand our presence there.

Bishop Dennis Hodge, from New Zealand, addressed the Synod, commenting on how it had heard harrowing tales from places where the people struggled because they were too poor but that he came from a place where the people were too affluent to be easily interested in the Gospel. New Zealanders have no need for money from the other regions of the Church, he said, but they were in desperate need of the others' prayers.

The reports of the separate Houses' actions, two very minor matters of canonical legislation (including placing a description of the territory assigned to the Diocese of Aweil), and the usual courtesy resolutions finished the day and the Synod adjourned by 4:30 PM, having no need of any of the time that had been set aside for it to continue on Friday.

Evening Prayer was celebrated and then the delegates met together again for the Synod banquet. There they were addressed by a lively gentleman whose name, I must confess, I never did quite catch, being by that point in the week exhausted and on the verge of falling asleep every time I sat down. I did gather that he had been President of St. John's College, Santa Fe, NM, had been nominated (unsuccessfully) by President Reagan to be Archivist of the Unites States, and earlier in his career had been one of Archbishop Haverland's professors when he was an undergraduate at Kenyon College.

He spoke about the lessons he had learned during a year in Iraq, where he had been posted to advise the new government's efforts to reestablish the country's higher education system. He discussed how people's culture affects their perceptions of other people and situations and how religion is overwhelmingly the most important aspect of culture and then related these insights to the comments and observations he had received from various members of the multi-religious, multi-ethnic, tribalized Iraqi society.

Using the parable of the Good Samaritan as a metaphor for the Christian outlook on social service, the speaker told how non-Christian Iraqis reacted to that story, seeing it as, at best, improbable, and, at worst, as insane. No one would act out of altruism, was the gist of these responses, and the Samaritan himself had no family or tribal ties to the robbery victim so the whole scenario was meaningless to them.

So the upshot of the week was that the Church escaped suffering any major damage although yesterday's news was filled with the school shooting of the day before, which had occurred only a short distance from the hotel where the Synod was being held. Thus were explained the many vehicle sirens, etc., that had seemed to have been a few more than normal for the center of the office building district.

Addendum by Fr Kirby: Just to note the official positions of the Bishops Hodge and Iverach, as communicated to me by his Grace, Archbishop Haverland. Bp Hodge will be an assistant bishop in the Missionary Diocese of Australia and New Zealand. Bp Iverach will serve as Episcopal Assistant to the Metropolitan with duties primarily involving Australia and East Africa and liaison between the Original Province and the Church of India, that is, the Second Province.


neowagnerite said...

The speaker's name was John Agresto.
I am the Rector of St. James', Cleveland, as well as an alumnus of St. James'. As host of the Synod, I can only comment that if Canon Hollister was tired, he can perhaps imagine how tired I was.

I am also enormously proud of my young Choirmaster.

Anonymous said...

The banquet speaker's name is John Agresto. Like Canon Hollister, I thought his talk was very interesting. I would also mention that the Synod Mass on Wednesday at St.James' Church was wonderful - the music (Haydn's 'Small Organ Mass')was especially moving. As always, it was a joy to see old friends, and meet new ones.

Tom McHenry+

Allen Lewis said...

I was fortunate to attend a Provincial Synod for the first time as an Alternate Lay-delegate. Both services at St. James were awe-inspiring. The businesslike manner in which the business of the ACC was conducted was truly marvelous (compared to the circus-like atmosphere of ECUSA conventions).

I will note, in passing, that in conducting their Senate business as they did, the men in black also managed to get to eat earlier than the other two bodies. Could that have had something to do with it???

Allen Lewis
Diocese of the South
Anglican Catholic Church

Anonymous said...

neowagnerite said: "as well as an alumnus of St. James". I think he meant an alumnus of St. John's.
The "young Choirmaster" is indeed a genius and not yet 22 years old!
A great synod! It was encouraging to see so many military chaplins in uniform!
Fr. DeHart

Anonymous said...

I'd like to wish Bp. Iverach and the ACC the very best. I had the opportunity to meet him a year or so ago at the Highland Games in Arlington, Texas. It was prior to the last GC and I asked him to pray for ECUSA and the GC. He spent some time with me and my kids and even followed up with a very comforting letter. I pray for his new ministry and his safe journey down under.

Finally, I ask your prayers for the Diocese of Fort Worth and all the delegates at our upcoming Diocesan COnvention.


BigTex AC