The first-ever online sessions of a Convention of LCA General Synod have run smoothly overall, thanks to the diligent pre-Synod work done by most delegates.

Overwhelmingly, the delegates who attended one or more of the 10 online training and practice sessions offered before the two-day event were prepared and ready to fully participate in General Synod. Some initial problems were experienced around the long delivery time of emails sent to delegates using the OpaVote online voting system. To remedy this, an alternative ‘show of [electronic] hands’ method of voting was introduced for proposals, with OpaVote retained for elections.

Approximately 400 people participated in the online sessions of General Synod, including 375 lay and pastor delegates, chairs of boards, councils, committees and commissions, and non-voting consultants. In another first, among the delegate cohort for the 20th General Synod were six Aboriginal delegates from the three new Language Area Agreement groups from Central Australia, some of whom joined General Synod from Yirara College in Alice Springs, while others took part from Hermannsburg.

Participants were supported by more than 80 people working on the technical and administrative aspects of running the live, online and interactive General Synod, which was hosted by Concordia College in suburban Adelaide. As well as providing an outstanding venue, a number of the college’s technical staff assisted the LCANZ team with the video, audio, switching, livestreaming and recording components of the event. The technical aspects included livestreaming worship services from Queensland and Victoria.

Bishop John Henderson, who had announced that he would not be standing for re-election as LCANZ bishop, was formally thanked for his service in the role. During a rite of farewell, at which his wife Valmai and other members of his immediate family were present, he presented personal reflections on his nine-year term as bishop.

Delegates elected Pastor Paul Smith to be the next LCANZ bishop and Pastor Neville Otto as Assistant Bishop. They also elected the General Church Board to serve the LCANZ for the 2021–24 synodical term. This latter decision required Synod to pass a motion to give effect to the new GCB serving from the conclusion of the 2021 online sessions of Synod.

God-willing, the second part of the 20th General Synod will be held in person. The venue and dates, still to be determined, will be advised as soon as details are known.

All sessions of Synod, including worship services and the report of LCANZ Bishop John Henderson, are available for viewing on the General Synod website at www.generalsynod.lca.org.au/livestream

Members of the church might also like to view, download and share with their congregations the agency and department videos that delegates watched during their breaks at www.generalsynod.lca.org.au/videos

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