Letter from Bishop Chris after General Synod

A LETTER FROM BISHOP CHRIS HARPER

To our Family in faith, the Diocese of Saskatoon, as we come toward the last day of this General Synod 2019, Vancouver B.C. We, your delegates for the Diocese of Saskatoon, acknowledge that this Synod has been a tiring and trying one. Emotions and passions have taken us to highs and lows, spurring our hearts to respond with Christian love and prayers to our many realities. Long nights and early mornings are the part of the physical reality as well.  

It has been interesting to note the responses within the circle of the Synod as well as those on the outside watching across Canada and beyond. With the legislative process and wording utilized there was no way there would have been a win / win result. This means that it then comes down to our Christian response to our Brothers and Sisters in faith, no matter where they sit or stand on this conversation. It should be noted that we as Christian have failed to witness God’s love to all when we stand firm in our own views. As of late, social media has become the weapon of choice for those that are passionate about one side of the conversation or the other. Certain on line attacks are far from Christian, they certainly do not respect another who has their own context and life. 

General Synod 2019 is yet another example of Christians across this land getting together to express their faith as they practice and witness, and as Christ has opened their hearts. Whilst on this journey of faith we as Christians are not all at the same place in faith and understanding, praise God in this fact, because this shows that the Spirit of God is alive and working in and amongst us. 

What am I coming away from this General Synod with: My dear Lord!!! we are different from each other, made lovingly in the image of God, but different in the song of life and experience we build up, is ours to sing before God Almighty at our end. This song is ours and ours alone, but still part of the great Choir God our Creator has blessed this world with. I personally give thanksgiving to the Almighty, for your song and I personally respect and honor you as you sing your song and presence in our beloved church. The church and the world would be diminished and less without you. 

We need to listen more and speak less, we need to pray more, we need to walk in humility in the love that God almighty exemplified and revealed in Christ to all peoples and nations: to be peace and hope in an embattled world… That the church is not perfect nor perfected. 

Reconciliation is not only an exercise with the Indigenous, but all peoples in God’s creation.

That General Synod is always going to be a challenge to the sensitivities of all of us. To believe that the Spirit of God is leading us should challenge the controlling nature within all of us. The Anglican church has Orders of Faith in our Primate, Metropolitans, Bishops, Chancellors, Archdeacons, Priests, Canons, Deacons, Wardens, Lay Readers, Servers, Ministers of the People, and Laity, all vital parts of the body of the church.

In the imagery of the body, a head is important but is useless without the neck to turn it, the shoulder to support the head and so on…  with all the parts of the body and their function, we as people of faith in our context need to see what your place and function is… 

Yours in Christ,

+ Christopher