“We do not have to wait to see where this journey of the world-wide Church will take us. This is the moment we can embrace an authentic synodality in the way we live our diocesan life.”
In Advent 2022 Bishop David announced the founding of an Office for Synodality for our diocese. We had experienced the power of Synod processes to transform our conversations last year, even when carried out with small groups, at speed and in the middle of a Covid wave. In order to build on those experiences, and honour the listening, Bishop David has asked the diocese to “take hold of those three words, communion, participation, mission, and apply them to every aspect of our parish and diocesan life and witness.” Fr Francis Higgins and Avril Baigent will support synodal conversation across the diocese by facilitating:
- A clergy formation session on synodality
- Parish resources to respond to the listening and help parishes become more synodal – including Listening to the Listening resource and the Next Step Challenge
- New ways of working in Pastoral Areas – including a pilot scheme developed locally to facilitate conversations about future parish and clergy provision.
- Resources for schools – both school councils/pupil parliaments, and governors/staff
- Five working groups on some of the key themes of the listening: the life of the priest; lay involvement in decision making; finances and resources; women’s ministry; outreach to the marginalised.
- Preparation for the Diocesan Assembly on 15thJuly
The next few months will be busy and it is hope will engage as many people around the diocese in these processes, including bringing together 400 delegates for our Assembly.