At our annual general meeting representatives to Synod are mentioned, in our Sunday announcements we hear about Circuit Conference or Synod meetings. What is Synod and what are the Circuit Conferences? How does the structure of our church and its congregations work? And how does all this affect me as a member of the Stellenbosch & Somerset West congregation?

Our congregation is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa (Cape Church). The Cape Church is divided into two Circuits, Circuit Confer- ence East (CCE) and Circuit Conference West (CCW), serving the eastern and western areas of the former Cape Province and Free State.

Representatives elected by the members of our congregation form part of the Circuit Conference West, the organ of the Circuit looking after the interests of all congregations in our region. The CCW holds an annual AGM and organises several events for all congregations in the region, e.g. music and youth days. It aims to strengthen the bond and communication between the different con- gregations.

The congregation also elects representatives to Synod, the legislative organ of the Cape Church. Synod is composed of members of the Church Council of the Cape Church, delegates elected by the congregations (elected for a period of four years) and several extraordinary members. Synod meets every two years and has the power to enact certain church laws. The budget of the Cape Church is also approved by Synod. The income of the Cape Church includes levies by the congregations, as determined by Synod, investment returns and bestowments. Amongst others, the Cape Church pays the salaries of the pas- tors of its member congregations.