Mrs Kim Windsor served on Sydney synod for St Stephen’s Kurrajong (2005-2013).
- Why do you serve on the synod?
I stood for the Synod Rep positions because my rector, Sandy Grant, asked me. I had the time to do it, since I wasn’t working and so could take the time to drive in from Kurrajong. And I was curious. I kept serving because I saw how worthwhile it was. It was, in the end, only a small time commitment over the whole year. I found it very interesting. It was great to see what the synod was really like as opposed to all the rumours and media reports you hear. It was good to meet and see the human side of the bishops and the big names that you hear about in the Diocese. Peter Jensen was the Archbishop at the time, and it was a wonderful time. There was a lot of fun amongst all the serious business. I heard some great Bible teaching, and the singing was fantastic!
- What role do you see lay people having in this ministry? (i.e., How do you believe this ministry serves the Kingdom?)
The decisions that are made at synod are made to further the gospel – this is a great thing to do and support. The mission of the gospel, telling people about Jesus and obeying God’s word, is so central to everything the Sydney Diocese does, and this is a key way to be part of it. Lay people have a slightly different perspective than clergy, because you’re an ‘ordinary’ person, which is an important contribution in the synod.
- Do you need a specific skillset to serve as a lay representative? (i.e., Do you need formal theological or legal training to be useful?)
You don’t need formal training. But I do believe it’s important to have a good Bible knowledge. You need to see how central the gospel is, and to understand important doctrines like creation and sin and judgment, biblical principles, and God’s commands. You need to have a firm grasp of the Bible so you can make wise decisions.
- Do you have any lessons for new lay representatives?
Always remember that the gospel is what it’s all about. Keep that always there at the centre. It’s important to listen to everyone’s opinions with grace and respect. I learned so much from the way that people like Peter Jensen listened to people and gave them time to voice their issues and opinions. Some people became very emotional about certain issues. But I was conscious that I knew what the Bible said. It’s important that we don’t allow emotional reactions to outweigh biblical principles and commands when we’re voting. So always vote with the Bible in your hand and not with your emotions being swayed by people’s rhetoric. I also loved going to the Anglican Church League synod dinners – it’s worth doing that.
How can clergy help foster a desire and vision for lay folk to get involved in governance issues (i.e., Parish Council, Wardens, Synod Reps)?
They can encourage people they know have a good Bible knowledge and trust them to have a go. On the synod specifically, you can encourage lay people by helping them to see how valuable Synod will be for them. It’s a great time of fellowship with the rector, and a great opportunity to learn. You get to see how it all works, instead of just hearing all the negative media reports. It gives you a whole new perspective and understanding of the importance of the synod and how it filters down to the churches. You get to know the key people in the Diocese much better when you watch and listen to them at synod. And it also helps you to see what your money is paying for! It’s a great way to encourage your minister.