‘Theological reflections’ help keep Synod delegates focused
The Rev. Ivy Beckwith, Faith Formation Ministries team leader in Local Church Ministries, was responsible for recruiting individuals for “the most intimidating job“ at General Synod.
Moderator? No. Parliamentarian? Still too easy.
Beckwith was tasked with finding three individuals who would close each plenary session with a “theological reflection.” Given the multitude of possible topics covered during any particular session – church finances, social witness, ecumenical relations – the task of the reflector is awesome: “We need to pull God back into this,“ Beckwith said.
Three pastors were asked to take on the challenge: The Rev. Matthew Laney, the Rev. Robert Molsberry, and the Rev. Nancy Rosas. Even they acknowledged their challenge. At the close of a Monday plenary, Laney admitted, “I am the only thing standing between you and dinner.“
The task of a theological reflector is simple and difficult at the same time. Beckwith “looked for people who are ‘able to listen to what is happening during plenary and think creatively to discuss a theological and biblical perspective.’“ And they need to do it in about five minutes.
Laney agrees that the task is “a challenge.“ And though each plenary session can cover a range of issues, when it was his turn to serve a reflector, he tried not to summarize the session‘s activities but to find a theme.
He came to General Synod “with a few ideas“ of how his reflections would go, but knew that each of his assignments would depend on the what happened in the 90 to 120 minutes prior to his stepping before delegates.
“If I wasn’t nervous,” Laney said, “I would not be faithful.”
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