Vice President Diana Haywood is known for many things across the North Carolina Synod—mostly for her faithful, careful, and bold leadership of Synod Council since her election in 2009. However, those who have attended synod assemblies over the years will remember well another claim to fame: her powerful assembly reflections which usually come right near the end of the agenda. This year was no different! Diana gave us inspired food for thought, allowing us to take the best pieces of assembly with us through the lens of our centering text of Mark 2 and the story of the paralytic let down through the roof in order that he might be healed.
For each of the pieces of assembly she listed, we were asked to consider if we, as the NC Synod, were “carrying the mat, on the mat, or digging through the roof.” (And, she noted, this is not a check-one exercise; this is all-that-apply!)
Here is Diana’s list of assembly highlights. Consider for yourself. Are we carrying the mat? On the mat? Or digging through the roof?
• The NC Synod shares over 1 million dollars in Mission Support.
• The NC Synod is the recipient of grants from the ELCA Churchwide Unit.
• LSC embarks on their “Be the Light” campaign.
• Our camping ministries emphasize passion, intentionality, and excellence.
• The new All Races One Church is now included in our budget.
• Finding a partner in ministry
• Devotions from Doug, Debbie, and Diane
• The ministries of our Racial Justice Network
• As we celebrate new leaders
• When we have “come to Jesus” moments
• Presiding Bishop Eaton’s message: We are church together
Who’s carrying the mat? Who’s on the mat? Name the roof that we’re digging through.
Diana remarked, “During this past year, we were all on the mat. But what we have heard here during the past three days is how we helped to carry. And how we dug some holes in the roof.”
“As we plan to move toward a post-COVID time and a new normal, and what things will look like, I challenge you to include collaboration. Plan to help carry the mat. Plan to dig a hole through the roof. Don’t be afraid to be carried.”
Diana then mentioned the strength for the journey that comes through Christ’s healing, the strength of the healed man when he got up and carried his mat. Another way we have strength for the journey is through strong leadership; the strong leadership of Bishop Tim Smith who was just re-elected. In conclusion, she said, “North Carolina Synod, we have strength for the journey. North Carolina is the place to be!”