Autumn Synod Session

It began with the communion service led by the President of the Synod rev. Dr Adam Malina, the head of the diocese of Warsaw, Bishop Jan Cieslar, and deacon Halina Radacz who gave sermon. During the service, guests from the Netherlands, Germany and from the Evangelical Reformed and Methodist Church in Poland gave their greetings.
 
The first greeting was given by rev, Catrien van Opstal, from the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, parish pastor in Utrecht. She spoke for herself and rev. Dr. Andreas Wöhle, President of the Evangelical-Lutheran Synod of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. She reminded about Polish Lutheran services in Utrecht and long-term partnership between the Churches in Poland and the Netherlands.
 
On behalf of rev. Raphael Quandt from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria spoke Heinz Dunkenberger-Kellermann who mentioned cooperation between churches and stressed that "the Gospel and one faith in God unites our Churches. Together, we look for foundation in God's Word and for answers to the questions of our time. "
 
On the first day of the meeting, the synod adopted the report of the Synodal Council, the report of the Presiding Bishop and the report of the Consistory. The church's budget for 2019 was also presented. The Presiding Bishop Jerzy Samiec in his report included all the most important elements of the Church's life from the perspective of his ministry. He mentioned international relations and important events he took part in Poland and abroad. He also described the most important issues that the Church should take care of in the near future. He announced a few postulates: 
Organization of classes in singing, liturgics, voice emission, diction and rhetoric for students of theology. 
To encourage the congregations to pray regularly for the awakening and calling to the service of the Gospel, and to establish one Sunday dedicated to prayer for vocation.
Lowering the age of active electoral right in the parish assemblies to the moment after confirmation and the creation of a representative of youth up to the age of 16 to the parish council. I also propose that the Synod of the Church should provide 1-2 seats for youth representatives also in the Synod of the Church. This postulate results from the analysis of the research mentioned above.
Merging, through a single symbol (logo), media activities of the Church at various levels.
Uniform marking of the Evangelical Church objects throughout the country. At the same time, it would be possible to have a uniform symbol and a distinction between particular dioceses.
Working out a common procedure of working with supporters and converts.
Developing Church positions on current social issues. And currently the translation and publication of the documents of other Evangelic Churches with commentary.
At the end of his report, Bishop Samiec thanked all of the parishes, dioceses and people from the Church for their commitment to their communities, for their efforts, for financial support. Above all for prayers.
 
On the second day of the meeting, the Synod discussed on the role and place of confirmation in the Church life. Confirmation in the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession is an act of recognition of Christian maturity, but it has not a sacramental character. It is based on a public confession of faith and an oath of loyalty to God and the Church in front of the congregation. Conversations on the subject of confirmation had been going on in Polish Lutheran Church for two years. The pretext for talks were changes in the education system that put the Church into a question of age at which confirmation takes place.
At the same time, it turned out a broader reflection on the contemporary understanding of confirmation and receiving Holy Communion by children. That is why dioceses and parishes became involved in the discussions. In April 2018, a working team was set up to prepare proposals for solutions in the field of practical aspects of confirmation. The result of this work is the publication that was presented to the members of the Synod. The Synod adopted a resolution on confirmation and stressed the importance of that act. It should be preceded by at least two years of confirmation classes and take place when youth is between 13-16. At the same time, the Synod of the Church appreciated the fact that the confirmation act is usually associated with the first receiving of Holy Communion but at the same time stressed that baptized children before confirmation are also invited to join Holy Communion.
 
During the second day of the Synod Presiding Bishop presented the current mediation program that has been carried out in the Church for 5 years. The program promotes alternative forms of conflict resolution. In 2013-2016, over 100 people from the Church participated in training on constructive conflict resolution. In December 2017, the Consistory appointed the Center for Mediation and Counseling. Now the work of the centre is in progress.
 
Another proposal discussed by the Synod concerned the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Assembly in 2023. LWF invited member churches to apply for the organization of the Thirteenth LWF Assembly. At the request of Presiding Bishop, rev. Jerzy Samiec Synod invited the assembly to Poland (Kraków).
 
Besides the Synod approved a new order of biblical texts and liturgical readings. The changes concern ca. 1/5 of the biblical texts currently used during church services and will be introduced from the 1st Sunday in Advent in 2018. The themes for the next two years were also presented: 2019 would be a Year of care for God’s Creation, 2020 Year of Christian freedom. Among the voted proposals there was also the recommendation to give up (when it is possible) the official clergy titles and encourage using instead the phrase "Brother / Sister."
 
On Sunday, the members of the Synod went to center of Lodz. The synodal service was held in St. Matthew Lutheran church. The sermon was given by rev. Catrien van Opstal from the Lutheran parish in Utrecht. She chose the story of a paralyzed man because it shows how we, as churches can become better advocates of the Lord's Way (see Acts 9: 2). 
During the service, Princess Anna Wazówna Church Award was given to the Dutch Committee for the Cooperation between the Protestant Churches in the Netherlands and Poland (Landelijke Werkgroep Kerkelijke Contacten Nederland-Polen).
 
After the service, members of the Synod continue the session. Special guest was the Metropolitan of Lodz Archbishop Grzegorz Rys (Roman Catholic Church). He came from the Roman Catholic Synod in Rome to meet with the participants of the Lutheran Synod. In his greeting, Archbishop Rys said, "Only yesterday at noon I was at the Synod in Rome, I am going back there tonight, but I really wanted to be here with you today. I think it is no coincidence that our Churches together experience the Synod at the same time”. The Metropolitan of Lodz gave also the lecture entitled "Evangelization and ecumenism." The gathering of the autumn Synod was closed on Sunday afternoon.

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