Diocesan Synod closed on Friday 10 February with the celebration of the Eucharist, led by Archbishop Michael.
On Thursday at the Orthodox church of St Savvas in Leivadia, Archbishop Michael presided at the Chrism Eucharist, when holy oils were consecrated and ministerial vows renewed. His sermon, particularly addressed to the priests, bishops, and Readers present within the whole congregation, reflected on the time when Zechariah, husband of Elizabeth and a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, was struck dumb with awe at what he was hearing and doing.
Music was throughout central to Synod worship, for which members gave particular thanks to Mike Elden and the Venerable Robert Jones.
The Synod Speaker this year was the Most Reverend Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. On Tuesday Bishop Mark led devotions at a quiet morning held at the Orthodox Monastery of St George in the village of Troulli, where there was also time and space for individual contemplation and prayer. His final Address to Synod, on the theme of devotion, proved a thought-provoking focus for subsequent reflection.
Reports to Synod of special Diocesan interest included those from the wider Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, and the Middle East Council of Churches. Synod also heard from representatives of the Jerusalem and Middle East Church Association, the Jerusalem and the East Mission Trust (UK), the Friends of the Diocese, and the Diocesan Foundation, as well as from the Mission to Seafarers and the Anglican Alliance. The Venerable Paul Feheley addressed Synod on behalf of the US Episcopal Church, with which the diocese enjoys close relations.
A key session on finance was followed by a meeting of discussion groups to consider current needs, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. There were also reports on Ministry and on Safeguarding, as well as from the Barnabas Team, JEMT (Cyprus), and Bishop’s Council/Standing and Finance Committee.
A series of parish presentations was complemented by news of companion dioceses, from the Right Reverend Julius Wanyoike of Thika and the Right Reverend Robert Atwell of Exeter—welcome opportunities to share the sights and sounds of three dioceses rich in faith and prayer, diverse within and between themselves, and connected in love for one another.
Synod members are deeply concerned for those affected by the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria on 6 February. For those wishing to give to the relief effort, the following article from the ACT (Action by Churches Together) Alliance provides updates on partner responses and where to donate, especially in respect of Syria, which is a part of our Province: https://actalliance.org/act-news/act-members-bringing-life-saving-aid-to-syria/
Please also see the following article, published by the Anglican Alliance: https://anglicanalliance.org/an-emergency-within-an-emergency-turkey-and-syria-earthquakes/
Captions: top left: clergy entering St Savvas Church; top right: the Venerable Robert Jones and Mike Elden; centre: clergy gathered outside St Savvas; bottom left: Bishop Julius, Archbishop Michael and Bishop Robert; bottom right: Bishop Anthony, Archbishop Michael, Bishop Robert, and Primus Bishop Mark