What is the Synod?
‘Synod’ is an ancient word, meaning to ‘walk together’. From the very beginnings of the Church (Acts 15), it has been a way of reflecting together, listening and speaking graciously and discerning the Holy Spirit. The Second Vatican Council saw a re-discovery of this style of being Church and Pope Francis has said
“Synodality is the path God expects from the Church in the third millennium”.
The global church is involved in a three year process of engaging everyone to discern our mission for a changing world. Our challenge is to become a more listening Church that journeys with all including with those on the peripheries.
What is the Synod in Northampton Diocese?
Bishop David has challenged us to take Pope Francis seriously, writing in our diocesan Synod report
“We are not called to be navel-gazers, but a communion of communities that looks beyond themselves… And so it is imperative that we become a synodal diocese, building upon the conversations we have held over the past few months.”
Our Synod listening process trained over 100 listeners, had listening events in nearly all our parishes, and produced 400 pages of responses, which were summarised in our 10 page report. At the end of the report, certain commitments were made, including the creation of 5 working parties to continue the listening and make recommendations in specific areas, and a diocesan Assembly, which will be held on 15th July.
Some of the themes in the listening were already being addressed by diocesan initiatives, including mission and youth. Other topics had arisen but it was not clear what the next step should be, or where more voices needed to be heard. Five working parties were created to take these further including
Engaging lay people in decision making
Diocesan finances and resources for mission
The life of the priest
Reaching the marginalised
You can find out more about these topics, including reports from the working parties, watching webinars we’ve held, and responding through our portal here.
Our Diocesan Assembly was held on 15th July at Thornton College. Delegates were invited from across the diocese from a range of ages, ministries and ethnicities. Find out much more about the Assembly here, including how you can watch the livestream of the day.
Office for Synod
As part of his commitment to synodality in our diocese, Bishop David has asked Fr Francis Higgins and Avril Baigent to form an Office for Synodality, responsible for the Assembly and what will come next.
Diocesan Pastoral Council
To oversee the agenda for the Assembly, a new Diocesan Pastoral Council will be formed. We are still in the process of discerning what this will look like (it will be a topic at the Assembly) but the first meeting will be on 7th October 2023.