The theme for the New England Synod Assembly was “WARNING: Holy Experiment In Progress.” Essentially, the Synod has come to realize that if we, the Church, continue to do business now as we have done in the past, we will not survive. We need to experiment, to be creative in how we go about being Christian. Ross, Eric, Megan and I attended the two-day meeting last weekend.

In that spirit, there were sheets of paper hung in the conference center for people to write haiku on them.

Here are a few of the ones that were written on the signs:

Living breath of God,
Breathe upon this assembly,
May your work be done.

Budgets, guidelines, votes,
Fellowship, friends old and new,
Church together, grows.

Synod gathered here.
We experiment broadly.
Spirit will move us.

Here are three describing events:

One resolution-
take care of God’s creation
by being greener.

Great storytelling
from Molly, Katie and Ross,
faithful witnessing.

Wonderful worship,
one church with diverse members,
uplifting music.

Here are the four that I shared during announcements on Sunday:

Real good church today
Real good church is everyday
You make it real good.

What makes it real good?
Word and Sacrament, Music,
Being fully here.

St. Paul Arlington,
Gathering, Growing, Giving,
the Church everyday.

Yes to the Synod,
Yes to time and resources,
Yes to our neighbors.

The keynote speaker Molly Baskette has written a book Real Good Church and the gist of her message, for me, is that ultimately real good church is about the people who attend and bring not only their joys, but their sorrows. They bring their authentic selves and are fully present. We have Jesus Christ, our liturgy, this building… and we have each other.

What is real good church about? It’s about listening to Ross and Eric, not hearing, but truly listening to their Christian message. It’s about Kira leading a terrific music program. It’s about Megan working with families in faith formation. It’s about Marilyn greeting you. It’s about Peter witnessing to the Lenten Suppers. It’s about Cathy ensuring we don’t forget our mission to serve others. I could go on and on about what each of you bring to St. Paul. It’s about each one of us being the hands of God.


In Faith