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Friday, 6 October 2017

Italy and Malta Synod - energised by faith

Archdeacon Vickie Sims introduces Ian Carter, Diocesan Safeguarding Manager
"Energised by Faith" was the theme of the recent Synod of the Archdeaconry of Italy and Malta. From 27 - 30 September the clergy and lay representatives of the Archdeaconry met in Villa Sacro Cuore, outside Milan for their annual sessions, under the presidency of Archdeacon Vickie Sims.

Dr Clare Amos, Diocesan Director of Lay Discipleship
Dr Clare Amos, the Director of Lay Discipleship led the bible studies on the Transfiguration and the Emmaus stories. Using many images of these biblical events and quotes from poets and theologians, she helped the synod delve into the rich mystery of these accounts. We explored how the Transfiguration is a lens through which we can perceive the truth of the Gospel today. Quoting Martin Eggleton, Clare said, "Transfiguration does not do away with what is, it changes one's perception of it, heightens it, enables it to be something revered, not in a magical sense, but with true awe. This is what happened on the mountain wide when the disciples had their transfiguring experience with Jesus." With regard to the Emmaus story, Clare said "these two travellers are you and I; they are the church walking with Christ the long road of history".

Clare also led an introductory session on discipleship in the Diocese in Europe. She reflected on how aspects and descriptions of the Blessed Sacrament, which is of course central to our lives as Christians, can underline aspects of our discipleship vocation:
Community  -  "Communion"
Worship - "Eucharist" (= thanksgiving)
Mission - "Mass"
Learning - "Lord's Supper"

Dr Pemberton Ford
In other business, the Revd Dr Carrie Pemberton Ford, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking, addressed the synod on this vital matter, which touches upon our diocese, particularly with the increased migration of peoples from the Global South.

In other business, Ian Gibson and Tola Hummel from the Diocesan Safeguarding team were on hand to give updates on the Safeguarding agenda which is central to our diocesan life, and to have valuable informal discussions with synod members. Archdeacon Sims led a session on some essential parish administration and governance questions and chaired reporting sessions from the congregations across Italy and Malta.

Assistant Safeguarding Manager Tola Hummel with Synod Member Una Scaletta
Locum priests in our diocese (and we have over 200 on our locum list) offer a vital ministry in so many places, during an interregnum, for holiday cover as well as staffing some of our congregations which have only seasonal ministry, or which have a pattern of using a permanent rota of visiting clergy. Three locum priests serving in the Archdeaconry came and presented on their experience of their work and gave valuable insight as well as advice, on how the ministry of locums can be made even more welcome and how the gifts and experience of locum priests can be better used.

Locum priests Ed Hanson, Richard Gowty, and Derek Goddard,


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