For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission
Pope Francis and the Synod office in Rome are inviting the whole Church to become Synodal, promoting Communion, Participation and Mission. We are all being invited to find a way together for a post pandemic church, and it is up to us to discern individually and collectively where the Holy Spirit is calling us as Church of the future.
Pope Francis in his book Let us Dream says “we need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas” The Synod depends on an open process with all people having the right to discern, to listen to the Holy Spirit and to each other and to respond. “BEING CHURCH IS BEING A COMMUNITY THAT WALKS TOGETHER” We are each being invited to journey together as the People of God, listening to the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the lives of the people we meet.
The themes from the title of the Synod can help in understanding why now is the right time for this to take place. The whole ‘Synod’ will be a two–year process beginning in every diocese in October 2021 and moving on to a national then international listening exercise.
As part of the discussion each of us are called to participate in an examination of the traditional exclusive position of power and separation as we look forward to the grace of an inclusive ministry of blessing and fellowship. All people are invited to speak with courage, that is, integrating freedom, truth, and charity. In the Church and in society, we are side by side on the same road and we must all take responsibility for our future growth in our own communities and as part of the wider church. The Synod is very much about listening and we invite you to have an open heart and open ears as we enter into this process. “Journeying Together” is only possible if it is based on communal listening. Find out how your prayers, thoughts and dreams for the future of the Church can be fed into our Diocese; over the coming months the questions and the themes will be unpacked and there will be opportunities for you to speak in your own community or you can contribute your individual responses about what is being revealed to you and can find out more about the consultation process and what is being asked of us below. This diocesan stage
only lasts until January 2022, so we are asked to make this one of our priorities for the next three months.
Synodality is not a corporate strategic exercise. Rather it is a spiritual process that is led by the Holy Spirit’
It’s difficult to know what will be presented to or offered forward by the Bishop after the initial parish meetings but what we do know is that the Pope initiated this process and takes it very seriously and he is open to the working of the Spirit in all of us, so please feel free to share your comments as your input is vital to the success of the future of the church. You can submit your thoughts directly to the Diocese via the email address: email@example.com
As part of the synodal process, Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish will be running fortnightly series of Zoom meetings at 7:00 pm on Tuesday evenings to focus on some of the questions. The dates are:
- January 11th Questions 1 & 6. Who are our ‘Journeying Companions’ as individuals and as community or society?
- January 25th Questions 2 & 7. How can we truly make ourselves present to listen to one another, within our own Church and in conversation with other Christian traditions?
- February 8th Questions 3 & 8. How can we speak out and collaborate in responsibility in our church and in our community?
- February 22nd Questions 4 & 9. What fruits do our prayer and worship produce? How does this affect us as citizens?
- March 8th Questions 5 & 10. How can we become more effective as individuals and as Church in journeying together and passing on the faith?
The link to the zoom meeting is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89990593963?
Meeting ID: 899 9059 3963 Passcode: 901900
On Saturday, February 12th, representatives from all the partnerships gathered with the Bishop, and together reflected on the input and the process so far.
- Following this meeting, the partnerships are asked to finalise their responses by February 22nd and to pass these to their respective Episcopal Area meetings.
- The Lay Pastoral Forum, which includes representatives of all the Partnership and lay groups in the diocese will compile all the responses received into a submission to the Bishop in early March.
- The Bishop will then consider this, plus the responses from the Clergy, Caritas, and other Diocesan groups and produce his final submission by April 8th
- At each stage, copies of the various submissions will be made available.
Have you joined the conversation? If you’ve not been part of the conversation yet, there is one more opportunity at 7 pm on Wednesday 23rd February. There will be an online gathering where you can join in to add your voice to the Synod. To register and Join the Conversation, visit https://diocesehn.org.uk/news/synod-join-the-conversation/
Please feel free to share your comments as your input is vital to the success of the future of the church. You can also submit your thoughts directly to the Diocese via email:
There is documentation available on the diocesan website and this can be accessed via the link below:
Bishop Robert has said: “We need to consider how we emerge from the pandemic. What kind of Church do we want to be? A listening Church? An active Church? A Church that’s ready to go to the margins? A Church that is always focused on Christ and can only be fed on Christ? It’s only Christ that adequately feeds us, and we only really get to know Him through the Eucharist.”
The fundamental questions that guide this consultation of the People of God are the following:
In recalling our most recent experiences, the world has come through a profound period with the Covid-19 pandemic:
- What strengths and weaknesses have emerged during this period as a faithful community?
- What has been the experience of the touch of God in these times?
- What challenges and vulnerabilities have been exposed in our lives, both individually and as a community, which need to be addressed?
A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together:”
- How is this “journeying together” happening today in your particular Church?
- What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”?
In order to respond, you are invited to:
- ask yourselves what experiences in your particular Church the fundamental question calls to mind;
- reread these experiences in greater depth: What joys did they provoke? What difficulties and obstacles have they encountered? What wounds have they brought to light? What insights have they
- gather the fruits to share: Where, in these experiences, does the voice of the Spirit resound? What is he asking of us? What are the points to be confirmed, the prospects for change, the steps to be taken? Where do we register a consensus? What paths are opening up for our particular Church
Watch Bishop Robert as he introduces the Synod & Year of the Eucharist in the Diocese in this video:
The Synod Prayer: Adsumus Sancte Spiritus
As we embrace this Synodal Process, this prayer which has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other Church gatherings for hundreds of years invites the Holy Spirit to be at work in us so that we may be a community and a people of grace.