Synod delegate Jennifer Andreas, left, of the diocese of Qu’Appelle, receives a “comfort cushion” from volunteer Krista Blaikie, of the host diocese of Rupert’s Land. Parishes across the diocese prepared the cushions to help delegates feel comfortable during the week-long event.
A corps of more than 225 volunteers from local Anglican parishes helped the wheels of General Synod move smoothly, from welcoming delegates at the airport and hotels to sewing “comfort cushions” for the long synod days.
Delegates found a wide variety of decoration on their cushions. “What’s behind the creation of the cushions is recognizing that General Synod is a lot about sitting, so we were conscious of people’s comfort,” said volunteer co-ordinator Margaret Clarke, a member of St. Matthews’s church, Winnipeg.
Organizers had the General Synod logo “Draw the circle wide …” silkscreened on pieces of fabric, then sent the cushion materials to parishes that were asked to complete the cushions.
“Some people embroidered the name of the parish on the back of the cushion. At one church, the kids did finger painting. One lady saw, lying in her knitting basket, a piece of crocheting her mother had done. Her mother had died some years before and she used that piece of crocheting as part of the cushion,” said Ms. Clarke.
Some cushions were completed by members of “sheltered workshops” that employ people with mental challenges.
The local arrangements committee began calling for volunteers last September, with articles in the local diocesan newspaper, and announcements during Sunday services. “People responded very well,” said Ms. Clarke. “One of our key messages to volunteers is that this is an opportunity to offer the ministry of hospitality to Anglicans from across Canada.”
The response was tremendous, said Ms. Clarke.
After synod, on June 27, members were feted at a party that included a pig roast and a slide show of the volunteers in action during the convention.