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The power of the Church shall be exercised through the General Synod, which shall be the highest constitutional authority of the Church, with power to direct and control those to whom it has entrusted tasks or has delegated authority.
(Constitution of the Lutheran Church of Australia 7.1)
Holding a General Synod is a serious matter, as Synod has the ‘power to direct and control’ the affairs of the church. Every three years our General Synod elects the leaders of the church and sets their tasks for the coming period. Each leader so elected, including your bishop, answers to the Synod for how we have conducted that ministry.
As we approach the time of General Synod it’s important that your congregation, parish or place of ministry has taken care to appoint its delegate/s to the General Synod this October, and I hope that you have already prayed as you made that appointment.
Now is also the time for all of us to pray for all the organisers, leaders and delegates who are preparing for the Synod across Australia and New Zealand. The tasks before us are immense, and we cannot do them in our own power. Only God’s power makes the work credible, or even possible.
That’s why, as in 2015, I am calling the LCA once more to prayer as we come together to place our future into God’s hands, and discern his will for this church. On this page you will find weekly petitions designed for use in divine service on Sundays or whenever your community gathers for worship.
The 2018 General Synod will be examining a number of high level issues relevant to the ongoing health and vitality of the LCA. Among these will, once again, be the question of the ordination of women and men and the unity of the church. We will also consider our place in the international Lutheran community, the communion of infants. There will be many practical and structural issues on the agenda such as governance and administration, constitutions, compliance, church discipline and mission initiatives. The agenda will be quite full and each decision made will have an ongoing impact.
Among the complexities we face in being church in today’s world, our faith instructs us to share our anxieties with God in prayer, and trust him, rather than ourselves with the wellbeing and progress of the church. Jesus reminds us to pray always and not to lose heart (Luke 18:1), and St Paul reassures us in Romans 8:26–27: 'the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God'.
So let’s pray then, as a church, trusting that the church is safe in God’s hands.
Bishop John Henderson