This year’s General Convention of Synod was the first time that floor and prayer chaplains, both ordained and laity, were available to provide pastoral care and spiritual support for delegates and visitors.
Considering the delicate nature of discussion and debate, this initiative was God-inspired, as the need for nurture and love was crucial to thwart the potential spiritual warfare that threatened to underwhelm Jesus’ gospel message for our church.
As one of the lay chaplains for Synod, I was blessed to be able to hear the longings on the hearts of many people, and the fears and uncertainty of others. Through God’s always-perfect timing, I was rostered on as a floor chaplain on the day of the ordination vote, which gave me the opportunity to put aside any of my own personal feelings about the outcome, in order to focus on others.
While only a handful of people sought me out to talk with me that day, there were many visibly upset people whom I was able to approach and care for; in fact, after the announcement, some people could almost be described as distraught.
To be not only a spiritual support person but also a woman in that context was amazing for me. I was able to minister to all who needed care, and to do that for people who may have held a different view from mine. It was incredibly liberating to realise that, ultimately, the care and love we can show for each other—regardless of our view of scripture or our ministerial aspirations—is what being a disciple of Jesus is all about. ‘[Love] doesn’t insist on its own way’ (1 Cor 13:5).
God gives us opportunities every day to be a real presence of his Son in the world, but the opportunity he gave me to serve as a chaplain at Convention was one I will always remember. I pray that the inaugural chaplaincy presence at this convention will continue in all our national conventions in the future.
by Danielle Robinson, a Convention chaplain