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  • CMSI Communications

Shared Tradition

As part of his time in Ireland, Rev Arsène attended the Church of Ireland’s General Synod in Armagh from 10th – 11th May. Hosted by Lynn Scott, Rev Arsène spoke of the hospitality and welcome he received, reflecting that whilst staying with Lynn her husband, Keith, was lecturing in Burundi at BCU where Arsène trained. Such reciprocity of welcome across vast geographical distances was only compounded for Rev Arsène when he experienced our General Synod. He shared with us his thoughts on the experience.

The synod was a positive experience for me to learn and meet people. The Archbishop of All Ireland, the Most Rev. John MacDowell, officially welcomed me in the Synod. I met him later and addressed to him greetings from the Diocese of Gitega in Burundi. I also met many other clergy from both the South and the North of Ireland as well as many members of missions that work with the CoI. I loved taking part in the Association of Mission Societies’ meeting and sharing devotion with them.

Shared tradition is one of the positives from the Anglican Communion. Just like in the Church of Burundi, Synod starts with a Holy Communion service. It works a little bit differently because it is in a different context indeed but I appreciated how the members of the Synod are given beforehand the agenda, the bills and reports to be presented. You can see that they personally engage and comment on reports.

I was surprised to see that during the General Synod of the CoI, friends from other denominations such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Church are invited, though the visitors do not have the right to vote. I think it helps build friendships and good relationships with other denominations.

The Synod lasted for 4 days: 2 days in person and 2 more on zoom.

There were some interesting debates but the most heated was on the issue of baptism. A wide variety of opinions were shared. Coming to a common theological, doctrinal and pastoral understanding on this issue as well as continuing to be a welcoming, caring and loving church in communities is very difficult. Despite this, the church still has to find a way of moving forward and together on this and on any other church matter.  


It seems that General Synod has given our global partner much food for thought!



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