May 3-6, Edmonton Diocese hosted the 49th Synod of the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert's Land (EPRL*), and it all started on the Thursday evening with the opening service and reception at All Saints' Anglican Cathedral.
Ahead of the service, choristers and singers from throughout the diocese came together to form a special choir for the evening, led by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, Jeremy Spurgeon.
At the start of the service, Archdeacon Travis Enright was joined by Indigenous representatives from St. Faith Anglican Church in Edmonton for a special opening prayer and welcome, including a song from Michelle Nieviadomy, Oskapewis (helper in Cree) with Inner City Pastoral Ministry. The offering was dedicated to help St. John’s Anglican Church in Shamattawa First Nation in Manitoba, which recently lost their church building to fire. $1000 was raised.
The Most Rev. Greg Kerr-Wilson, Archbishop of Calgary and Provincial Metropolitan gave the homily. Looking forward to three days of discussions among members of such a diverse province, Archbishop Greg began by clarifying the meaning of the word ‘synod.’ A combination of two Greek words, ‘synod’ means ‘together on the way.’ He reminded the group that “sometimes what we (in the church) are best at is getting off track, into our individual concerns and points of view, when the bigger struggle is to allow ourselves to discern God’s way for us together.”
Referring to the Epistle, Ephesians 4:1-6, he said. “We’re called upon to journey together. It’s not an option or a suggestion.”
Referring to the Gospel, John 15:1-11, he built on the picture of Jesus as the Vine, and we (his followers) as the branches:
“When we fail to abide we cut ourselves off from the Source of Life and from each other.
And the reverse is true as well: when we cut ourselves off from each other, we live as though we do not owe everything to the same Source. We are united in the Vine; in our Salvation; in His Spirit poured out in and through us.”
After the service, talented cooks provided a smorgasbord of international foods reflecting the diversity of Edmonton diocese: foods from Sudan, Syria, the UK, Ghana, Ukraine, the Philippines, and more.
Provincial Synod carried on all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday until noon at MacEwan University.
*EPRL is one of four provinces in the Anglican Church of Canada. Its borders reach from the BC border in the west and into Ontario in the East; from the 49th parallel in the south all the way to the Arctic Circle. The synod included more than 90 people: Bishops, Clergy and Lay Delegates from 10 dioceses. See the Anglican Church of Canada website for more information.