This past weekend, April 22-23, 2021, the Diocese of the Carolinas held its annual synod at St. Andrews Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC. If you are not familiar with the term, synod, it is simply the annual gathering of all clergy and lay representatives for prayer, worship and corporate decision-making. We attended as lay delegates and want to give you a snapshot of what we learned and experienced.
We were tremendously impressed with the great emphasis placed on worship and prayer rather than on business. We were encouraged by our diocese’s leadership and the structures in place to support parishes and clergy, and the unity displayed during the weekend. The focus on growing believers and churches throughout the Carolinas, particularly through new church plants, is abundantly clear and extremely encouraging.
The synod was attended by over 50 clergy and 100 delegates from 30 parishes in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. John Yates and Caleb Burr attended, as well as three lay delegates from Holy Trinity − ourselves and Anne Thompson. It was a fantastic meeting with many faces familiar to Holy Trinity, including Steve Savia, Madison Perry, Matt Hoehn and Abigail Whitehouse. We gathered in St. Andrews’ brand new sanctuary – a beautiful, modern space with state-of-the-art technology. Only three items remained from their building that burned to the ground in 2018 – the altar, a tall wooden cross and a font.
For those unfamiliar with the diocese, the Right Reverend Steve Wood is the rector of St. Andrews, as well as our bishop. He is assisted by three other bishops, including the Right Reverend Terrell Glenn who is responsible for North Carolina and is currently serving as the interim rector of Church of the Apostles in Raleigh.
Over the two days, the delegates heard from our four bishops. In Bishop Wood’s remarks, he made it clear that the diocese is a tithing diocese. Over 50% of the diocese’s $600K budget goes to outreach with a heavy emphasis on planting new churches in the diocese. In addition, speakers presented on key diocesan programs, including:
- SoulCare – A ministry led by the Right Reverend Thaddeus Barnum, which provides counseling for pastors and their spouses.
- Kardia – The diocese’s initiative for church planting. Among the speakers, Patrick Dominguez, the former rector of Church of the Apostles, spoke about his church plant in Garner, Tree of Life Church.
- Ridley Educational Institute – An institute focused on providing biblical education to the local church. Courses include Introduction to Anglicanism, Anglican History and Theology, and Worship in the Prayer Book Tradition. Seminary credit for the courses can be gained through Gordon-Conwell at a subsidized tuition rate.
The diocese also addressed annual administrative functions such as the appointment of committees and welcoming of new parishes and clergy into the diocese. The Reverend Claudia Greggs was appointed to the Ecclesiastical Court and John Wood was appointed to the Lay Standing Committee. The diocese welcomed two new congregations into the diocese, including the Church of the Apostles.
Overall, the synod was incredibly encouraging. Our diocese is blessed to have many gifted and talented clergy with a passion for proclaiming the gospel in our region.
Ken Clark and Stuart Thompson
Holy Trinity Members