ARCHDEACONRY OF FRANCE AND MONACO SYNOD
16th – 18th MAY 20119
This year’s synod was held at a new venue in Lyon (The Domaine Lyon St.Joseph)
The synod commenced at 1700 hours on the 16th May with Session 1, an introduction and welcome by the Archdeacon of France and Monaco (Meurig Williams); he spoke about relations between Bishops and chaplaincies, and not being defensive about who we are – Anglicans.
This was followed by the evening Eucharist and dinner.
The second session commenced at 2030 hrs with a talk on COMMUNICATIONS by Damian Thwaites (Diocesan Director of Communications); he spoke on the need for good communications around the Archdeaconry and with London and Brussels. Damian also explained how the communications team are made up, and how they work together in getting information etc. to and from all the chaplaincies and his role as communications director. He also discussed future plans and looking ahead in the communication field.
This was followed by a question and answer period with questions from the various chaplaincies about problems with communications.
The morning commenced at 0900hrs – 1000hrs with bible study 1 by Brother Matthew (a member of the Taizé community); he read out and discussed a text from Matthew 11 and then the representatives were split up into groups to discuss the text amongst themselves.
The questions to discuss were:-
1. What can I give thanks for in my own life, in the ministry to which I have been called, for the role or missions that has been entrusted to me in the church?
2. In what way is Jesus inviting me to be a “little one”? How does he meet me in my poverty?
3. How do I welcome the rest which Jesus offers me? What is the role of Sabbath space in my life?
Session three 1000hrs – 1015hrs (Forum Chretien Francophone/Lyon 2018): Ben Harding (Chaplain Lyon) gave us a brief talk about what went on at this the first meeting of this group of 220 delegates and topics discussed – prayers, discussions, meeting people. Ben also told the synod that it continues with weekly prayer meetings in Lyon each Thursday morning, and it had been a great success.
Session four 1040hrs – 1130hrs This session was hosted by Matthew Lodge who is the Minister at the British embassy in Paris, The subject was of course BREXIT; he did his best to inform the synod of the latest information of what was happening but as everyone knew everything was hypothetical and he couldn’t really tell us much that we didn’t already know. He did answer a few questions about problems some people were having with changing driving licences, obtaining French nationality and a carte de séjour. But really there wasn’t very much different from his address to the synod of last year.
Session five 1130hrs – 1200hrs SAFEGUARDING – Andrea Watkins (safeguarding
Advisor for the Diocese) spoke about the following:-
New and emerging standards in the global voluntary sector
Aims on how to promote safeguarding, preventing harm in our communities, protecting children and adults who are at risk of being abused etc.
The challenges of safeguarding in the diocese.
Who the safeguarding team are, and their responsibilities.
Current casework and queries.
1210hrs-1250hrs – Eucharist.
1430 – 1510 there were the following three WORKSHOPS
1. Social Media and Communications
3. Reader Ministry
I attended number 1 which contained the following information:-
Damian Thwaites and two of the communication team from London informed us about the website –‘’ A Church near You’’ and what it contained and how chaplaincies could incorporate their own websites into it. The team went on to how to go about putting things on the website, plus what is the best information to help visitors with finding your church, plus what sort of information visitors are looking for e.g. types/times of services, disabled access facilities, a calendar of upcoming events both social and religious. Make the language you use friendly and welcoming.
They also advised sites to visit to get approved free web designs for your church website and training days for using/forming websites.
After the talk there was a question and answer period.
Keith attended number 2 and the following is his report:-
Two members of the London based Safeguarding team were present and discussions centred on their current and future activities within the Diocese of Europe. They indicated that safeguarding Policy and Protocol, in place since 2015, was continuously being reviewed in line with legislative requirements and experiences. All clergy and Readers are required to have appropriate training and on-going record check clearances as part of their ministry. Chaplaincy Council members are required to complete on-line training. The need is to ensure that all churches are safe places for congregations and all visitors. Questions were asked concerning the nature and scale of the work, staffing and on-going issues.
1515hrs – 1555hrs there were two more workshops
Workshop 4 Welcoming the stranger
Workshop 5 GDPR 1 year on
I attended the Workshop 4, where Kirrilee Reid was giving a talk about her experiences with migrants in the Pas de Calais, which put her in the situation of being a stranger being welcomed by the migrants instead of the other way around.
The first story was about a house where there were several young men from Eritrea living; they kept the house very clean and there was a feeling of order, in that everyone seemed to have a job to do, i.e cleaning cooking etc. and they all took a turn. One day whilst she was there helping them with their problems they invited to have a meal of curry/rice with them (even though they did not have a lot to go around); they made her very welcome even though she was the stranger.
The second story was about some Afghan women living in a tent, and when she visited them they invited her to sit down and offered her some tea and to share some dates from a bowl with them.
Both of the above stories made her aware of how it feels to be a stranger amongst other people in a foreign land, and the feeling of gratitude when you are made welcome by them. It is a strong lesson in realising the necessity of making strangers welcome.
1640hrs – 1740hrs there were two meeting houses:-
The house of Clergy
The house of Laity
I was at the House of laity, where the election for a new chair of the house was carried out, as Kate Giry-Deloison was stepping down, after the ballot it was announced that Diane Murry had been elected to the chair.
After the election results there was a talk about the common fund increases and the reasons behind them. This was followed by a question and answer session from representatives of the various chaplaincies.
1800 – 1845 Evening prayer
0745hrs – 0815hrs Morning Prayer
0900hrs – 1000hrs Bible study 2 this was a continuation from the study on the 17th with brother Matthew, after the reading of a text from Philippians 3 the same groups of people as yesterday met up to discuss the following questions:-
What am I being called to let go of in order to gain Christ, who loves me freely?
What does it mean for me to have the taste for the things of Christ? How can I discern the power of the resurrection in my life and around me?
Where do I find my hope? How is this linked with the call of Christ in my life?
In both of these studies the groups discussed various personal experiences etc. which involved the various questions and texts. It was a private discussion and no findings or results were required to be reported back to Brother Matthew
1125hrs – 1200hrs Business Meeting
The meeting focused on feedback, practices and normal operational matters involved with holding the successful 2019 Archdeaconry Synod at Domaine Lyon St.Joseph and looking to the next one, a return to St.Jacut, Brittany.
1210hrs – 1250hrs Eucharist, this was followed by lunch and everyone departing.
D.Robinson – Synod Rep.
K.Patterson – Synod Rep.