It feels as though Lebanon is going through the 10 plagues of Egypt following August’s huge explosion, the political unrest that has followed and the ongoing impact of Covid-19, Revd Nabil Shehadi told Truro Diocesan Synod on Saturday (November 14).

The Beirut-based mission partner for the Christian Mission Society told how the churches in Lebanon are going to the streets to feed the hungry, care for the vulnerable, and to rebuild homes lost to the explosion – helping neighbours and bringing hope.

Cornwall showing solidarity

Joining the synod via Zoom – like all those attending – Revd Shehadi said: “The presence and support of the global church is really needed, more now than ever. It is really important that Cornwall is showing solidarity.”

He also talked about how important it was to seize the opportunity of online ministry with both hands, as it enables us to reach people who otherwise would not come to church. He said: “This ministry is a gift of this great tragedy. To reach across the earth.”

He gave the example of a Facebook service that was launched for a new church in Lebanon – and attracted 50,000 viewers. A massive 5,000 people stayed for the entire service.

Budget approved

Among other items on the agenda, the synod also considered and approved the budget for the coming year.

Commending the budget to synod, Bishop Philip said: “We need to avoid being opportunistic in favour of being strategic, and I am absolutely committed to that. That means that change must increasingly be on our agenda, in a way it has not been for decades, or even centuries.

“As Bishop Hugh helpfully put it recently, the question, for all of us, in every part of the diocese and at every level, is no longer ‘Do you want to change?’, but ‘To what extent do you want to be involved in shaping the change?’ – because change will come. We either seek to manage it, profitably, fruitfully and strategically, or else it will master us.

Change – a defining characteristic 

“And the intentional management of change, that we may be sustainable and fruitful, in mission and ministry, will I think be the defining characteristic of my time as Bishop of Truro.”

As well as hearing from Revd Shehadi, the synod also received greetings and was led in a Bible reflection by Bishop Johan Dalman of Strängnäs.

The synod received reports on Setting God’s People Free, the membership of and elections for synod between 2021 and 2024, and adopted a diocesan scheme for the inspection of churches, as well as the diocesan safeguarding strategy.