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District Chair Reflects on Synod

revd paul nzacahayo leads opening devotionsrevd richard hall reflects on his visit to rwandasarah hulme rural mission and ministry officer angary hall tutor at the queen39s foundationsynod were invited to wear kwibuka 30 ribbonsrevd julia skitt presbyter at oswestry pulled together a wonderful hospitality team

Synod at Oswestry Methodist Church in the Shropshire & Marches Circuit was momentous. We began by marking Kwibuka 30 – the commemoration of the Rwandan genocide which began in April 1994. One of the good things to come out of that "time beyond words" has been the 18-year Komera partnership between us and the Free Methodist Church in Rwanda. Opening worship was led by Revd. Paul Nzacahayo and Revd. Richard Hall (newly returned from Kigali). We were glad to receive video greetings from Rwanda's Bishop Samuel Kayinamura.

Followed by a deep dive into the theology of mission. "Trusting God in the small things" was wonderfully and collaboratively led by Holly Adams and Sarah Hulme of the Evangelism & Growth Team and Gary Hall of the Queen's Foundation. After a shared keynote there were workshops entitled "Small as a missional gift...", "Small, rural and thriving" and "The Sacred Space Between Us – thinking relationally about being Church". Synod was buzzing...with lots to take home to Circuits and churches. Huge thanks to Sarah, Gary and Holly.

In the afternoon we voted in parallel with the Birmingham District on the proposed merger to form a new West Midlands District. Synod returned an 81% vote in favour, so the journey continues.

We haven't had a Memorial before Synod for a long time (meaning this Chair was a little rusty on procedure!) but it was good to wrestle with how the District might urge the Conference to engage with the fact that the Telford venue we plan to use in 2025 and 2026 also now hosts a major defence and security exhibition hosting arms companies with an active interest in the development of lethal autonomous weapons. We agreed a text in the end, which is on its way to the Memorials Committee.

Despite our afternoon deliberations, we were only five minutes late for tea and cake at the end! Many thanks to all those who offered hospitality and kindness.

Revd. Rachel Parkinson

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