… in the water
Baptism—the sacrament that brings us God’s grace, that washes us clean of our sin and that brings us as Christians into God’s family. It’s where it all begins for us, so it was fitting that Convention began with our remembering it in a special way. At the opening service (and also at the closing service) the bishops were accompanied in procession by children. They gathered together around the baptismal font, where the bishops dipped their fingers into the water, blessed the children with the sign of the cross, and then the children did the same to bless the bishops.
It was a powerful reminder that we are brought into Christ’s family, not by our natural birth, but by being born again in baptism, and that we come together in need of God’s grace and forgiveness.
… in bread and wine
Every morning delegates, visitors and volunteers came together in worship and at the Lord’s table. Every morning the bishops were there to serve us.
Day by day, it became increasingly evident that there was more than simple goodwill holding us together as Synod. God was working in us, too, through this daily meal with Christ himself and all the saints.
The daily celebration of holy communion may have, at first, appeared to some to be an indulgence we could not afford in a tightly scheduled convention, but half way through the week nobody was complaining. In fact, many were asking, ‘Can we make this a regular feature of Convention? Can we have Eucharistic worship every day?’ Feedback from delegates and visitors is consistently rating ‘daily communion services’ as a soaring highlight of Convention.
… in the word
Over the six days of Convention, we travelled through the six chapters of Ephesians. Each day one of our bishops used a chapter as the foundation of his sermon. Full texts of the six sermons were published daily (and are still available) at www.lcasynod.org.au/sermons. In addition, an innovation at this convention was a daily devotion booklet, presented to delegates and available for everyone to read or download from the convention website. We were invited to read one chapter of Ephesians each day and to reflect prayerfully on the notes provided by the bishop preaching that day. The notes were accompanied by striking black-and-white photographs by Geoff Schirmer, which were also projected during worship in the chapel each day.