Spring Synod met on the 9th April at Emmanuel College in Gateshead. The theme for the day was radical hospitality which is a concept taken from the work of Robert Schnase on the five practices of fruitful congregations. This theme was seen throughout the day from a warm welcome on arrival to fresh coffee and pastries available for all. As Stephen Lindridge introduced the theme he talked about these main points.
- Making Space – emptying something out to make space for us to be radical in our hospitality.
- Excellence in Welcome – the welcome inside should be as good as the welcome outside.
A trailer for the 5 practices of fruitful congregations can be watched here.
Highlights from Synod included the following stories and reports and you can find more information from following the links below.
- Together 2015 video.
- Stories from Together.
- 3Generate report including the news that 5 of the 3Generate reps are from the Newcastle Upon Tyne district.
- Stories of radical hospitality from around the district including a first birthday cake for a 15 year old from the Network, providing a home in a church for a family whose house was firebombed, and putting on a primary school prom for two young girls whose mum was terminally ill.
- A memorial to conference on the issue of benefit sanctions and stories of the devastation they cause on the families who suffer them. This memorial was unanimously accepted.
Circuit groups spent time discussing the following questions in their time together and were encouraged to take these back to their circuits to widen the conversation.
- What does radical hospitality look like in our context?
- How can the circuit support its development?
Feedback from these circuit groups brought some interesting thoughts on how we can be more radically hospitable.
- Chester-Le-Street talked about how they are partnering with FoodCycle to offer a meal that people from different backgrounds can share together.
- How we need to adapt what we do inside the building as well as outside of the building to be hospitable.
- How we welcome those who are reintegrating into community, particularly from prison and how we can hear their stories.
- Our radical hospitality has to be whole life and whole church.
Synod closed with prayer and worship and encouragement to make our circuits and churches radically hospitable.