Synod meeting upheld in prayer

Published July 3, 2007

General Synod was upheld in prayer by an on-site pastoral care team and groups across the country, through the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer (AFP). Above, a prayer room was filled during the primatial election.

General synod delegates were constantly upheld in prayer during their week of exhaustive meetings in Winnipeg. A core team formed by the national executive of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer (AFP) drew up a roster in advance of Synod to ensure that the Quiet Room at the conference hotel was staffed with at least two people from morning to night.

Paul Dumbrille of Ottawa, who is chair of AFP’s national executive, said many people came into the room for prayer, staying for a few minutes to an hour or more – some of them leaving prayer requests in the boxes provided. As well, General Synod staff “came in every morning to get themselves centred,” he said.

The number of prayers in the quiet room at any one time peaked just before the final ballot in the election for a new primate, Mr. Dumbrille said. They were situated in the chapel of Holy Trinity Anglican Church – where the election was held.

Although the debates over the blessing of same-sex unions also drew delegates to the quiet room, the numbers were not nearly as high as during the primatial election, said Mr. Dumbrille. That was when, “Many people were glued to the TV (monitors),” he said.

Mr. Dumbrille said he was pleased with the way that delegates conducted themselves after voting on resolutions related to same-sex unions. They were “kind and sincere, and wanted the church to stay together,” he said.

“If ever a General Synod needed prayer it is this one, and we are hoping that dioceses are encouraging people to pray for General Synod, including the election of a new Primate,” Mr. Dumbrille said in e-mails sent in advance of General Synod. The AFP also created and distributed a pamphlet designed to assist and encourage prayer, and included specific prayers focused on General Synod and the primate’s election.

A volunteer pastoral care team was also in place at General Synod, ministering to the pastoral needs of members. It was one of several groups and individuals who were holding up the meeting in prayer.

[pullquote]The local team, co-ordinated by Winnipeg Anglican Linda Stokes, offered a quiet presence at the edge of the gathering, identifying themselves by a small yellow sign.

The group led prayer-walks around the areas where Synod members gathered. The local members prayed throughout the plenary hall, “filling the place with prayer” and in the meeting rooms and in Holy Trinity Church, where the primatial election was held.

“We ask for the Lord’s will to be done,” said Margaret Holmes, of St. Aidan’s church, Winnipeg. Ms. Stokes said that on one prayer walk to Holy Trinity, they came by chance upon a CBC interview in progress, involving Essentials representatives and Integrity members together.

“We prayed with both groups,” Ms. Stokes said. “God put our team in the right place at the right time.”


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