by Jett Isleifson (Lay delegate from Gloria Dei, Gloria Dei Council Chair)
Science fiction fans out there will recall a scene in one of the installments of that popular trilogy of trilogy movies when the action centered on a vast sitting in a vast hall of an imperial congress composed of delegates from planets and civilizations from all around the galaxy. Delegates who were speaking had to float out in a special hovercraft sort of vehicle so they could be visible to all. The movie did not address their meal and cafeteria arrangements! One wonders why this highly advanced civilization capable of interstellar flight and incredible scientific achievement did not hold these meetings in some remote virtual form with no travel required.
On April 23 and 24, 2021 our own MNO Synod was able to do that: our first ever Synod convention held digitally using Zoom technology. No interstellar flight was involved. Another first was noted: the MNO Synod was the first synod in the ELCIC to meet in convention this way!
Perhaps we’re all becoming accustomed to attending meetings, seeing one another by Internet means and using computer technology as is indicated by the minimal occurrences of “glitches” at our convention. Needless to say there were some bumps along the way such as slideshows and music playing erratically and some difficulties getting the polling system to work correctly for the voting but these things were quickly resolved by our tech assistants extraordinaire. This new thing we used for convention actually worked very successfully and points us to a vision of new ways of doing church in the future. The routine business of the MNO Synod was accomplished and the Synod could still show social conscience with a resolution pertinent to the care of those in private for-profit long term care homes.
A successful convention it was, carried out by something new! But uncharacteristically quiet due to muted microphones as our Bishop Zinko pointed out, and how he missed all the delegate chatter of an in-person event. So we all unmuted our mikes at the closing of convention and greeted everyone with gusto! Something not new!
“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19, NRSV)