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Reflection period on the Synod during the COVID-19 Pandemic

As we live through this difficult and different time, we invite you, as a deanery as well as a parish to reflect on what our Synod can learn from our experiences.

Although events have somewhat overtaken us, and people's minds can be focused elsewhere, the main raison d'etre for the Synod remains as relevant as ever.

Recently I saw a short video from Fr Chris Thomas of the Irenaeus Project, entitled 'What sort of church do we want?'

Please watch it, and try to see the big picture beyond COVID-19, and thanks to Fr Chris for helping us along the way...

The Synod process throughout the Archdiocese started in 2018 and is due to come to a conclusion later this year, after much consultation and discernment. It is our opportunity to listen to each other, and to be heard, and to help form the Church that God is calling us to be.

A brief summary of events so far.

We held listening events in each parish where we asked 4 questions, and the answers to these were all collected, read, and discerned into 4 themes.

  1. All called and gifted by God
  2. Sharing the mission of Jesus
  3. How we pray together
  4. Building community, nurturing belonging

We have now held a series of parish meetings on each of these themes, and sent the results back to the Synod office for further discernment.

Across the archdiocese the Synod office have now received over 700 proposals on Theme 4, Building community, nurturing belonging. This is remarkable in such extraordinary circumstances, especially considering that each parish was asked for 5 proposals each! Thank you! These are now being worked on by members of the Synod Working Party as we continue to discern the way God is calling us.

'The Synod 2020 team are asking an important question of us.

We are being asked to reflect on ‘ How God is speaking to us through our present experience’.

What lessons can we learn, and how will things change when all this is over.
I nearly said ‘When things get back to normal’ but I’m not sure that will ever come. What must our church do, and what must we do? What is God saying to us?

Although we can’t be near each other physically, we need to learn again how we can touch each other’s lives, and form a real Christian community. How will we do that? Please, pray and reflect, and let the Holy Spirit speak through you. Don't keep it to yourself, let us know...

Thank you so much for all your time and effort throughout this Synod 2020 process. We’ll keep you in our prayers, and up to date with developments.

God bless John & Karen, your Synod 2020 representatives.

We would like to thank the many members of the parish who have participated with such enthusiasm.

The current pandemic crisis is making us look very hard at what we do as a parish, and how we do it, and the long term effects have still to be evaluated. The Chinese word for crisis is 'weiji' which contains 2 characters within it, and those characters in English mean danger and opportunity.

It is hard to think that God is with us in the midst of our situation, but He promised to be there, so we must be faithful and strong, for ourselves and each other.

In our local deanery area we have been holding virtual meetings with other Synod representatives on a semi-regular basis.

We want to keep the Synod alive in the minds of all the Deanery. We believe its success in forming our future is essential.

It is weird to think of everyday life as the ‘new norm’; but every day we have a chance to prove ourselves as called and gifted by God.
Romans 8: 28 We are well aware that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose, and turns everything to their good.
Everyone has a gift; whether that is the ability to grow a plant or know how to fix something; or in these ‘new norms’; sew a mask, deliver the bread the person shielding or simply smiling or nodding at a passerby. We are where He wants us to be and in using our gifts to ‘help’ anyone else we are called and gifted by God.

 This Synod 2020 journey has had more than a few twists and turns due to the world situation. The latest information we have has been used to make the following timetable. The filename is 'Timetable - Final'. It will be interesting to see whether that is the case or whether more changes may have to be made!

Synod 2020 Timetable   Final