Strathmore Road Methodist Church is part of the South-West Tyneside Circuit, a family of 14 churches which seek to support each other. The circuit runs west from Durham Road out along the south bank of the Tyne to Ryton and south as far as Burnopfield and Sunniside. The circuit is in turn part of the Newcastle Methodist District which takes in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and the northern part of County Durham.
Spring Synod for the Newcastle Methodist District Synod in this District is a joy to go to! It meets twice a year and I come home inspired and enthused. If you are thinking about being a Synod rep. don’t think about it, do it! The whole Synod is bathed in prayer, from beginning to end, when speakers come forward, when decisions are made and discussions pursued.
This Synod continued with Robert Schnase’s ‘Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations’, looking at the theme of Risk-Taking Mission and Service. There were presentations from Christian Aid where we saw a video clip about Theodor: the refugee who never forgot (watch it here). This was followed by a lady who spoke for Action for Children and is a foster parent for teenage girls. Dianne shared some of her very powerful story, telling us of the financial and other risks involved.
The main speaker of the day was Rev Graham Horsley who challenged all of us to ‘risk-taking mission’., and to “Go Big or Go Home!” He warned us against the dangers of some very common but mistaken attitudes amongst us: - “Do not change: stay put!”– No! We are called to wake up, and say, “Right God I will allow things to die in order that other things may live”. We need to let go of some things in order to receive the new. - “Work harder! We don’t need to change we just need to do 80 hours not 70. Add one more thing to the list.” Actually we need to work smarter, not harder. - “Believe the lie – that decline is inevitable.” But Jesus said ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few…’ Of course, we need to make sure we are in the right field with the right tools.
Lunchtime gave the opportunity to buy chocolate at the Fairtrade stall, buy a book from CLC and browse the other stalls and maybe get a free sweet or two [none of which is compulsory!] .
In the afternoon, there were seminars or presentations from people and churches across the District who had taken risk with their buildings or with the mission initiatives within their congregations, all of which reminded us what can be done and indeed achieved if we are willing to take the risk.
We sang, prayed and praised God for another inspiring Synod.You should have been there.