You may have heard of FOMO, the fear of missing out. It certainly makes you reluctant to leave Synod when we are meeting. What if I miss something really important? What if there is something dramatic happens, like it did in 1978 when Una Kroll intervened when the Synod said no to women’s ordination. Una called down from the gallery: “We asked for bread and you have given us a stone.” Moments like that become the stuff of Synodical history.

So I was sorry that after chairing the opening item yesterday I then headed back to Southwark Cathedral to get ready for my own book launch. It went really well but I did notice on Twitter lots of tweets about what was going on and the speech being made by Lord Boateng on the subject of racial justice. Getting back to Synod today people have told me how powerful it was and that the debate which followed was equally good, with people contributing constructively, not too much hand-wringing going on which is never good to witness and gets us nowhere.

That FOMO is something that I feel in relation to racial justice. The thing is that I know that we are all ‘Missing Out’ because we are not benefitting from all that all our sisters and brothers could bring to our life. God has poured the Holy Spirit upon us all, that is the clear message of Pentecost. Peter gets up to speak to the crowd who have gathered, from around the known world. Quoting the prophet Joel to them, in language they can all understand, he says

I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
(Acts 2.17)

We miss out on the prophetic message, we miss out on the visionary insight, we miss out on the life-giving dreams that our sisters and brothers, people of the global majority, could bring to the life of the church but which the actions, and the attitudes and the life of our church in some of its structures deny us. I have a real fear of missing out on what God is desperate to give us.

So I am grateful for the challenge that we received in what Paul Boateng said to us yesterday. But in order that we don’t miss out we need to heed his words and change, and change fundamentally. That applies to our cathedrals as well as to the church at other levels and in other places, and that includes Southwark as much as anywhere else. None of us is in a position where we can miss out.

Today we are beginning with Safeguarding, an update and then a Following Motion which appears on the Order Paper as very critical of what is being done by the National Safeguarding Team. We will see how that goes. We then move on to some Legislative Business, in particular Faculty Jurisdiction. That may sound dry but it is dealing with some really important changes to how we manage the things we need to do in our church buildings in relation to responding to climate change – church boilers are something that try the patience of a lot of vicars and PCCs – and also things like installing broadband in our churches so that we can continue streaming services as we have learnt to do over the past two years.

In the afternoon we debate a motion around challenging slavery and human trafficking, another about clergy remuneration, living as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, before we finally arrive at the second bite at the Questions. So lots to do today – and I won’t be missing out. And if you have missed out on my book well you can find a link to it here.

God of boundless gifts and generosity, may we never miss out on all you have to give but rejoice in all the Spirit enables us to do. Amen.

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