I first encountered the ministry of the General Synod when a friend said we should visit the Anglican Book Centre. Less than a year later, I began two years serving as the national Youth Coordinator. I returned in 2001 for three years to serve the ministry of primate Michael Peers as his principal secretary. Since 2011 I have served as general secretary.
I loved the Anglican Book Centre from the first time I entered it.
I loved my two years learning from people like Ted Scott, Celia Hannant and Richard Johns.
Working closely with Michael Peers and Fred Hiltz and now, briefly, with Linda Nicholls, has been a great honour.
Working closely with volunteer leaders like Cynthia Haines-Turner, Peter Elliott, Laura Walton and Peter Wall has been a great joy.
Working with the gifted and committed staff of today’s General Synod is a great privilege.
But today, as I come to the end of my time at the General Synod, what I am thinking about – along with all the wonderful people with whom I have worked, and from whom I have learned – is the sea of generosity upon which the ministry of the General Synod sails.
The generosity of dioceses funds much of that ministry. Those gifts are a portion of a portion of what ordinary Anglicans contribute through their parish week by week and month by month.
The direct generosity of donors is also a vital part of what sustains our work. Some of it is about money, but a lot is about relationships, about a donor’s commitment to this work, and about the prospect of my being able to say a direct, humble, and joyful “thank you”.
I hope your generosity (as an indirect donor through your parish and diocese, or as a direct donor through Giving with Grace) has brought you a joyful sense that you are participating in the ministry our whole church exercises through the General Synod. It has changed someone’s life in some way:
- in the household of a Cuban priest,
- in the life of a patient in the Princess Basma Hospital,
- in fostering mutual support among those who provide spiritual care to people in the most vulnerable and fearful moments of their lives,
- in the encouragement of youth leaders to nurture and serve an emerging generation,
- in learning from the diversity of a large national gathering,
- in the healing of painful wounds from our church’s and our nation’s past wrongs,
- or in the miracle of the emerging self-determining Indigenous church.
And I hope it has changed you.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Thompson