Further consultations have been taking place this month on the Diocesan Synodal Synthesis about the future of the Church. The Synodal Pathway was inaugurated for the worldwide Church last year by Pope Francis. In his pastoral letter for Advent, Bishop Alan encouraged parishes to take part: “We are being asked to pray together, to talk with, and listen to each other, and to share our dreams for a future Church that is enhanced by communion, participation and mission.” That consultation process was overseen by a Synod Team headed by Canon Andrew Headon and Teresa Carvalho and the views of participants were distilled into a document that was recently sent to the Bishops’ Conference. “The synthesis is the fruit of all the listening exercises with parishes and people throughout the Diocese over the past five months, the hard work of the synod team and Teresa in particular,” says Canon Andrew.
Themes emerging are wide-ranging and include concern about the role of women in the governance of the Church, the need to relieve clergy of the burden of administration and a desire for more formation – as well as calls to make the church more child-friendly.
For Teresa it is important for people to continue the journey and the conversation. “We have invited people to come and talk about the report we have produced – and delve deeper into it. It is also a chance for people to further respond – they may agree or disagree with our findings and can go deeper into the conversation. They might be able to look for solutions to particular issues – or see those issues from a different perspective.”
One example would be the general concern about young people and Church, she says. “Everyone wants something to happen with our youth but they generally want someone else to do it. Perhaps people could ask themselves ‘is there a way that I could support that, even though I might be terrified of working with young people?’”
Read the Diocesan Synodal Synthesis here: Synod Synthesis