By Fr. Sean McDermott
Here at Earth & Altar, the DEUS Synod was busy and fruitful. We had been appointed to give the plenary talks along with all of our usual duties in the services and meetings. Fr. Glenn spent the early part of the week on the Board of Examining Chaplains; Fr. Mark passed his final exams for the priesthood; and I, well, I just drank a lot of good coffee.
This diocesan Synod was especially important because we elected a Bishop Coadjutor. We only did one vote, a great sign of unity, and Bishop Chad Jones is our first Coadjutor Bishop ever elected in the APA. Right after the election, we gave our plenary talks as well. Over the whole week, we all sensed a great spirit of charity--this was quite a blessing giving the important election. I am very proud to be part of the APA: DEUS, and I look forward to the future of our province.
Fr. Mark and I presented the plenary talk, which also sets the structure and reason for this website. We argued that the four essential activities for church growth and sustainability are excellent liturgy, excellent education, excellent spiritual direction, and excellent fellowship centered on a weekly parish meal. These are organic activities, arising from our baptism. They are not just another new program to try--in fact, if you are not attentive to these activities, your parish will suffer and die. It takes a lot of work and attention to sustain a parish and then to pass it along to a younger generation. This work, both of the clergy and laity, is our call as Christians. Even more, we must do these excellently in order to pass along this wonderful tradition to the next generations. We specifically covered millenials, their curated lives, and their demand for excellence in all things. The talk is recorded here:
We then broke out into four separate sessions which explained these four activities in greater depth.
Bishop Chad led the session on liturgy:
Fr. Paul Rivard led the session on education:
Fr. Mark Menees led the session on spiritual direction:
Fr. Glenn Spencer led the session on fellowship:
These four activities are also the structure to our whole site, and we will keep updating the site to provide more resources.