Eastern Diocese Pre-Synod Committee
c/o 15 Thayer Street
So. Deerfield, MA 01373-1136___________________________________________________
May 1, 2012
Dear Very Rev. and Rev. Fathers, and Parishioners of the Eastern Diocese:
May has arrived. On the other side of the summer, we from the Eastern Diocese will be gathering for our 14th Synod. Registration forms for the Synod and for the hotel are being sent to all parishes. The Synod will take place at the University of Massachusetts Hotel and Conference Center in Amherst. We will be in bucolic western Massachusetts at one of the most beautiful times of the year, and the hotel has been renovated extensively.
UMass Hotel and Conference Center in foreground
Once the University of Massachusetts releases its Fall Schedule of events, I will share it with the delegates in case anyone wishes to come earlier or stay later than our Synod dates of September 28th and 29th. The UMass Fine Arts Center is home to exciting concerts, and the Mullens Center hosts sporting events and large-scale entertainment attractions.
The Pre-Synodal Committee will have people at the hotel on Thursday evening to register any guests who arrive at that time. We will conduct registration, as well, on Friday morning at 8:00am at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in South Deerfield, which is less than ten miles from UMass. The Synod will begin formally with Mass at Holy Name of Jesus Church at 8:30am. The main celebrant will be Bp. Paul Sobiechowski, and he has asked the clergy of the diocese to con-celebrate with him. After Mass the Central Seniorate and the host parish will provide a light breakfast for all in attendance.
Just kidding: This happened last October not September
Directions from the church to the Conference Center will be provided in the registrant’s packet in case any of our registrants are GPS-less. A second set of directions will take you from the parking garage to our meeting room. When you arrive on campus, volunteers from the Pre-Synodal Committee will be on hand to help with directions just in case. You are asked to bring your luggage from your cars to the meeting room since our hotel rooms will not be available until mid-afternoon.
UMass Hotel room
Bp. Sobiechowski has encouraged the Pre-Synodal Committee to make the agenda as efficient as possible. Officers’ and Commission reports will be read at the Synod only if there are actionable recommendations included. The bishop would like to create as much open time for discussion as possible at this Synod. With this in mind, Bp. Sobiechowski is now continuing his listening tour of the diocese. He has also advised the Pre-Synodal Committee to try and tap into the resource of tens of thousands of young adults at the University of Massachusetts. We are hoping to meet with any of the students who would like to share their thoughts about church in general. What do they find beneficial about organized religion, what detrimental? What would they like to see churches do more enthusiastically and what do they feel is unnecessary? Contact has been made with the college newspaper and radio staff on how we may go about extending this invitation to the student body. If this experiment is successful, the advice of these young adults will then be presented to the Synod during our time of open discussion.
This emphasis upon discussion is why the bishop and the Pre-Synodal Committee are urging all of our parishes, from large to small, to send their full contingent of delegates, AND to also encourage the sending of guests to the Synod. We will not simply be receiving reports of what has been done over the past four years. This Synod is looking at the present and also toward the future. We need each parish to try and send as many delegates and guests as possible to facilitate an open, thorough and honest discussion about church.
The Pre-Synodal Committee has tried our utmost to keep costs as low as possible so that as many as possible may attend and participate. The registration cost of $120 covers the cost of our space at the University of Massachusetts and all meals. The rooms are available for $140 per night. If you stay in a double occupancy room, the cost for attending the Synod is less than $200 per person. Please make the effort financially so that your parish can participate to the fullest extend possible for the good of your local church and for the good of our diocese as a whole. Let us be inspired by the work of the Spirit through us and also let us be inspired by each other. Let us come together in numbers that reflect our commitment to better serve Christ as his church. This is all of our chance to influence the course of the diocese for at least the next four years.
The registration forms for the Synod and for the hotel are included in this electronic mailing. Each parish is asked to make as many copies as necessary for her delegates and guests. Registrations may be sent back to the Pre-Synodal Committee as soon as you would like. We are ready right now. But please remember, the absolute deadline for registrations is August 15th. No reservations will be accepted after this date. No extensions will be discussed. No excuses are necessary, no matter how creative. A letter has gone out to all parishes each month since January and they will continue through August. Today is only the first day of May. No parish has any reason to not make reservations by August 15th.
But rather than end on a note of the law, let us end with the Spirit. The banner hung to inspire and direct the delegates and guests at our church’s First Synod in 1904 quoted from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (8:31b): “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Let us trust in God’s presence and power to guide, correct and strengthen us through our work together as the participants of the 14th Synod of the Eastern Diocese.
Looking forward to our time together,
Fr. Randy Calvo
Vice-Chairman, Pre-Synodal Committee
Click Here for copy of document.with forms.