Archdeaconry of France Synod
18th – 21st April 2018
Theme: ‘Strangers at the gates’
The synod commenced at 1800 hours on the 18th April with an evening Eucharist followed by dinner. Then at 2000 hours the first session commenced with the archdeacon welcoming everyone and giving an introduction to the synod. The topics covered were:-
- Hints hopes and horizons for the archdeaconry.
- Welcome and introduction, including Liz Hudson on communications during the synod.
THURSDAY 19th April
The first session commenced at 0900hrs with a bible study by Michael Sadgrove (Dean Emeritus of Durham) titled Citizens of Nowhere, Citizens of Everywhere, Citizens of God. He spoke first about the passion of Christ and Pilate. Then he went on to describe how refugees and stateless people are Citizens of Everywhere yet Citizens of Nowhere. He also spoke about how religious beliefs throughout history had caused wars in the past and terrorism today. i.e. how the crusades had had an angry effect against Islam from the past up to the present day.
The second session commenced at 1015hrs and was chaired by Grace Davie and the topic was ‘’ Understanding religion in modern Europe’’ with the following subjects:-
- Questions and tensions to keep in mind i.e. Religion – growth or decline, obligation or choice, the religious and secular, public and private.
- Cultural heritage – religion, one factor amongst others.
- New arrivals – Who Why and Where are they from.
- The significance of Islam and the European reactions to it.
- Religion and welfare, Religion and Mental Health, Religious Education.
The second session continued with a talk by Rosemary Ulyett on What is GDPR?
This talk contained information about GDPR including the fact that there are no more ‘’ticked boxes’’. People can ask about what data is held on them and can it be removed. Newsletters cannot send out ‘‘Begging letters’’
Session three 1400 – 1500hrs This was a talk about ‘’Brexit- How will it affect us’’ by Matthew Lodge the Minister at the British Embassy in Paris. The talk included the following:-
- Not yet achieved –onward movement/younger generation/right to vote/mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
- Recommended that we obtain a Carte De Sejour
- Most of the things he discussed were what people already knew and there was no real information about what is going on.
House of Laity Meeting 1630hrs – 1730hr
Topics covered: –
- Copyright for hymns on service sheets
- At the next synod participants are to bring a stamped addressed envelope so that expenses cheques can be forwarded on. Also, the attendance form for next year’s synod must be sent in earlier and there will be no refunds.
- Date for next synod will be 29th April – 2nd May 2019 in Lyon.
- Safe guarding.
FRIDAY 20th April
The morning commenced 0900hrs – 1000hrs with a bible study by Michael Sadgrove who carried on with part two of the previous day’s topics, including the following: –
- Pilate was the local representative of the Roman Emperor whom the Jews handed Jesus over to because in their eyes Jesus was a criminal and therefore should be tried by the Emperor’s representative.
- How power can be abused i.e. People in high positions can use their power in the wrong way (child abuse etc.)
- We can never know our power till we know our place.
Session four 1015hrs – 1100hrs This was a talk by Bishop Robert on Where are we going as a Diocese? He commenced the talk with telling the synod that he started preaching in a small North Eastern mining village where all of the congregation were old and money was tight, so he appreciates money problems. He brought up the following:-
- The diocese is like a body
- The skeleton (providing structure)
- The blood (moving resources around)
- The skin (providing protection)
- The heart (generating energy)
- The immune system (dealing with things that might hurt us)
- The ligaments (joining people together)
- The diocese in Europe.
- Changing culture (greater openness,)
Session Five 1130hrs – 1215hrs Diocesan Financial Plan by Michael Fegan, the interim Diocesan secretary, showed various displays of costs etc. and explained the whys and wherefores. Followed by a question and answer session.
This was followed by a Business meeting chaired by the archdeacon and included a financial report by David Bean and talk on communications by Rosemary Ulyet.
Session Six 1500hrs – 1545hrs was a talk by Bishop Robert ‘’Strangers at the Gates’’ Welcoming the migrants and refugees. This included:-
- A definition of what is a migrant (a person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a state away from his/her habitual residence) and what is a refugee (a person who has been forced to flee his/her country because of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality or political opinions).
- Migrants/refugees should contribute to their host countries and seek to integrate.
- Religious freedom should prevail.
- Most of the refugees/migrants come to Europe from Africa and the Middle East.
After Bishop Roberts talk several chaplaincy representatives gave some local stories about Good/Bad experiences in their local communities with Migrants/Refugees.
Question Time 1630 hrs – 1700hrs
There was a lively discussion when The Reverend Canon Giles Williams from Cannes forwarded a motion for the reduction of payments into the Common Fund Contributions. Some of representatives thought the wording was very strong and an amendment was proposed and voted on. The Archdeacon stated it would be better for the subject to be ‘’Fine Tuned’’
At this point the synod closed and all the representatives went to the local church for Eucharist.
D.Robinson – Synod rep.