Following the release of the working document for the Continental stage of the Synod entitled ‘Enlarge the Space of your Tent’ (Isaiah 54:2) the Bishops of England and Wales met last week and discussed the next step. Instructions have been issued by Rome that the working document should be read and responded to by the people of the dioceses. Once again, the timing does not make this easy, but Bishop Declan is inviting as many people as possible to respond either as parishes or as individuals so that he can make his contribution to the report that will go to Prague in February 2023.

We are sincerely aware that this is an extremely busy time of year. However, we know that there will be several of you who would like the opportunity to read and respond to the working document.

To support this process and to help you to respond, we are offering an online session to allow you to understand the content of the document and to explain to you the three questions to which we are being asked to respond. The session will last 90 minutes. Rev. Dr. Jan Nowotnik will facilitate the session for us. It will take place on 15th December at 7pm.

As a way of preparation for the sessions, please see link to a copy of our own diocesan report, ‘Listening with the Heart as a reminder to you of what emerged from our own submissions. Please also see a copy of the working document ‘Enlarge the Space of your Tent’ (DCS) and a ‘Frequently asked questions’ about the process.

We are being asked to look at the DCS and consider it in the following three ways which appear in section 4 of the working document – paragraph 106ff.

“After having read and prayed with the DCS, which intuitions resonate most strongly with the lived experiences and realities of the Church in your continent? Which experiences are new, or illuminating to you?”

“After having read and prayed with the DCS, what substantial tensions or divergences emerge as particularly important in your continent’s perspective? Consequently, what are the questions or issues that should be addressed and considered in the next steps of the process?”

“Looking at what emerges from the previous two questions, what are the priorities, recurring themes and calls to action that can be shared with other local Churches around the world and discussed during the First Session of the Synodal Assembly in October 2023?”

Fr. Jan will help us to fully understand what these questions are asking of us. Following his presentations there will be an opportunity to ask questions.

We will then be asking you to submit a response to each of these three areas in no more than 250 words per question. All the feedback we receive relating to the questions will be collated and Bishop Declan will consider the feedback and base his response on what he hears from us. We appreciate that, due to the timings, it will be almost impossible for parishes to gather synod groups together so there is no expectation that this happens. However, if any of the groups in your parish would like to arrange a gathering to join the online meeting – this is more than acceptable. It might provide you with an opportunity to discuss as a group after the session. To participate online please sign up via Eventbrite:

15th December (7pm): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/synod-the-next-step-1-tickets-475082633947

The deadline for submissions is 3rd January. This gives just enough time to collate and for Bishop Declan to forward his response to Bishops’ Conference by 20th January.

Even if you cannot attend either of the meetings you are still invited to contribute your response in writing and send it to Synod@cliftondiocese.com.

1_ENG – Working Document for the Continental Stage

2_ENG – 2022.10.25 – Frequently Asked Questions