Tuesday, September 22, 2015

General Synod Election Address

Revd Dr Sarah Brush - General Synod Election Address

Having served in the Diocese of Worcester for six years as Diocesan Youth Officer, I feel I have got to know a good number of the clergy of the diocese well and would be honoured to represent you all in General Synod. 

I have been involved at the national level of the church in a number of ways. I was a member of the National Executive of the Diocesan Youth Officers network from 2009-2014. Bishop John Pritchard asked me to join the National Board of Education in 2011 and I served on the board until I moved into ordained ministry in 2014. I also served as chaplain to the Church of England Youth Council at their residential meetings from 2009-2013. Although I’ve never been on Synod before, I have keenly followed the business of synod not only to hear the fantastic contributions which synod reps from CEYC have made to key discussions in recent years but also to keep myself informed. 

Through my work as Diocesan Youth Officer I have experience of work with many parishes as well as schools, colleges and universities, particularly supporting the work of chaplains in education, serving on the West Midlands Churches Further Education Council and helping plan the national conference for Further Education chaplains with particular responsibility for worship. I have also been a passionate supporter of the YMCA, particularly our local YMCA Worcestershire in recent years.

I trained at Queen’s Theological Foundation and was privileged to be asked to teach sessions on ministry with children and young people and also to design and lead the new Church History module during my last two years of training. My Master’s dissertation focussed on Faith Development and I presented part of it at the recent International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry Conference at the London School of Theology (January 2015). I have also published on the topic of “Confirmation as Theological Education” in the Journal for Adult Theological Education, written for the Church Times and The Children’s Society and published a confirmation resource through Church House Publishing. Last year I was invited to join the team of writers for the CofE projects team for baptisms, weddings and funerals.

Conscious as I am that some people may think it strange that a curate is standing for synod, in addition to the skills and experience I have already described, I believe my recent experience of Theological training will be beneficial in the forthcoming synod where there are some key decisions to be made about models of training for ministry as well as for the shaping of the whole church as part of the Reform and Renewal programme. As a Medieval historian who has spent much of her working life engaged with young people, you will not be surprised to hear that I am passionate about celebrating and learning from the tradition of the church as well as listening to newer voices so that we can “proclaim afresh in each generation” the faith passed on to us. I believe the church should be a place which is open to and inclusive of everyone.

I grew up in a liberal catholic church and through my work with young people have valued time with charismatic and evangelical Christians both Anglican and from other denominations. In my broad experience of the Anglican Church I have drawn much spiritual encouragement from many places, particularly the Taizé Community, Iona, Greenbelt and our partner diocese in Peru which I was privileged to visit five years ago. It was an incredible experience and taught me a great deal about Anglicanism in the wider world.
As your synod representative I would be honoured to hear your views and concerns so that I could represent Worcester clergy at the grassroots of parish life in discussions at a national level.

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