Synodal Pathway 2021/2023

Synod Heading


In preparation for the next Synod of the Church in 2023, the whole membership of the Church has been invited to express their views on the issues the Church is facing, what should be done about them, and how we should develop as Christians.
The start of this process is to gather the views of individuals and parishes, bring them together, and pass them forward as a Diocesan Submission.
We are all now invited to take part in this process.  The papers on this important subject are posted here with the most recent on top.

Parish Submission

Our Parish Representative for the preparation of our submission to the Diocese is Neville Kyrke-Smith
Neville can be contacted by email on
If you wish to speak to Neville by phone, please call Terry O’Brien, on 07504 962 368,  and I will pass on your message.

Individual Submission

If you would like to submit your personal thoughts on the “Ten Questions”, please follow this link to the Diocesan Website where the Synodal Pathway can be completed as an individual.
To help your preparation, the “Ten Questions” to be considered, are shown here on the attached page.

Tuesday 23 November

This is the text of the short presentation on

“The Synodal Pathway”

given by Neville Kyrke-Smith on 21 November 2021

 Thank you Fr Martin for asking me to say a few words on The Synodal Pathway.

My first thought when I heard about this pathway was – “where are we going?” – with all of this. I even asked Bishop Alan Hopes the same question and, rather disconcertingly, he replied: “Neville, I really don’t know.”

Yet, Pope Francis said in his inaugural homily at the opening of the Synodal Path:

“The Gospels frequently show us Jesus “on a journey”; he walks alongside people and listens to the questions and concerns lurking in their hearts.  He shows us that God is not found in neat and orderly places, distant from reality, but walks ever at our side.  He meets us where we are, on the often rocky roads of life. … As we begin this synodal process, let us begin by asking ourselves – all of us, Pope, bishops, priests, religious and laity – whether we, the Christian community, embody this “style” of God, who travels the paths of history and shares in the life of humanity.  Are we prepared for the adventure of this journey?  Or are we fearful of the unknown, preferring to take refuge in the usual excuses: “It’s useless” or “We’ve always done it this way”?”

Celebrating a Synod means walking on the same road, walking together.  Let us look at Jesus.  First, he encounters the rich man on the road; he then listens to his questions, and finally he helps him discern what he must do to inherit eternal life.  Encounter, listen and discern.

The Ten Questions we have before us – which are attached below, and which I know a good number of you have already read and thought about – are to help us reshape our journey as individuals and as a parish community, feeding ideas and replies to the wider Church. These will be looked at in sessions in the coming months, in the New Year. I will not go into detail about the outline sessions and dates in this talk, but it is proposed to have five “meetings” via Zoom – grouping two questions at a time together – and two group sessions in person. More details will be published before long.

I think we all have had different journeys of faith, but we never arrive in this mortal life – and we are called by a loving God to do more. In particular, there is a huge challenge before us, as we emerge into the light of these post-Covid times, to witness to the Hope of Christ.

At the opening Mass for the Synodal Pathway in East Anglia, Bishop Alan Hopes spoke of:

  1. Communion – Communio, the whole pilgrim people of God…towards our encounter with Christ, with whom we are united in Mass,  and with all the people of the Church. Our Bishop said we need to listen to what God desires for us and for all the world.
  2. Participation – the Synodal Path is addressed to all, including those whose lives have not been touched by Christ, or to those who have left or been hurt by the Church. Bishop Alan emphasised that each one of us has a unique vocation – each one of us is a member of the body of Christ, with different gifts. We are called to active participation; we cannot leave it to others.
  3. Mission – inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, every Christian is called to be a missionary and to engage with all. The Papal vison is that the Church needs to change in order to live out the mission. We are called to pray, reflect and discuss.

Bishop Alan prayed that the Holy Spirit may inspire us and called us all to be faithful and attentive, with discernment, to live and proclaim the Gospel in our world.

I hope that by one means or another we will all be able to participate and take part along this Pathway – it is a path of love and life, as we seek to let Christ work more fully through us in communion with the Universal church.

Pope Francis concluded his initial homily:

“May we be pilgrims in love with the Gospel and open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit.  Let us not miss out on the grace-filled opportunities born of encounter, listening and discernment.  In the joyful conviction that, even as we seek the Lord, he always comes with his love to meet us first.”

Neville Kyrke-Smith

21 November 2021

Parish Introduction to the Synodal Pathway

Synod HeadingThe initial phase for our diocese has now been mapped out more clearly: our parish representative, Neville Kyrke-Smith, will be speaking to us after the 10.30 am Mass on Sunday 21st November – so we can begin to see what will be involved.

The “Ten Questions” for our consideration are in church and here on the parish website; individual responses can be made directly to the diocesan email address ( which will also supply special forms for the purpose from December onwards.

Our collective response as a parish can be articulated through a series of brief online evening meetings, supplemented by two face-to-face meetings (planned for Friday mornings, following the mid-morning Mass), in the New Year – in collaboration with Neville & Fr Martin.  This initial phase of the Synodal Pathway lasts until 20th March next year, so as to offer plenty of time for reflection and collaboration for a collective response which could have an influence upon the future of our parish going forward.

01 November – The Synodal Pathway


The first steps are the “Ten Questions” which have been posed for our consideration.

Replies to the ten questions, and other suggestive contributions, need to be forwarded to the Diocese before the end of January (or reply direct to

Neville Kyrke-Smith, our parish representative for the Synodal Pathway, will explain further in the coming weeks.




  1. How welcoming is our parish?

How do we embrace and reach out as a parish, and as individuals, to the community with us each Sunday – in person or via live-stream – as well as those who are still anxious about returning, those who seem to have fallen away, and those enquiring and coming to us as newcomers?

How welcoming do people find us?

  1. How good are we at listening?

Our world is full of noise and opinion; full of people making their voices heard, and those who feel that they go unnoticed.  Are we good listeners?

Do we feel listened to?

How do we learn to listen well – to each other, to the wider world, to God himself?

  1. How good are we at communicating?

Do we feel able to share our thoughts and ideas openly with each other?

Are we living out our baptismal vocation, ready to speak the truth, in love, when necessary?

Does this include social media?

  1. How well does the Church’s liturgy inspire a deeper encounter with the Risen Lord?

Does the Sunday Mass bring me closer to God, and enable me to be fed by Him?

When I leave the Mass, what do I take out to the wider world?

Does my personal prayer life bring me closer to God and connect me with the Church?

When I pray, for what do I give thanks to God? – and what do I ask of Him?

  1. How well do I understand and participate in the mission of the Church?

Do I feel that I am playing my part, and pulling my weight, in the life and mission of my parish, the diocese, and the universal Church?  Or is that somebody else’s job?

How do I respond to the Lord’s call to witness to the Gospel?

Do I keep my life of faith to myself, or do I share it with others in word or deed?  What would help me to do that better?

  1. How well do we engage with the wider world?

Do we engage with those around us: with our local community, with the life of our country, and our world?

Do we believe that the Church truly has something to offer the world at large? Or are we too focussed on ourselves?

  1. How good is our relationship with other Christian traditions?

What is our relationship like with our brothers and sisters in other Christian traditions?

Do we listen to each other?

What can we learn from them? – and what can they learn from us?

  1. How well do we work as a team in our parish?

How is leadership exercised and experienced in our parish?

Are there positive ways in which we help to participate in the life and mission of the Church?

What are the fruits of this collaboration?

What are the obstacles and challenges?

  1. How open are we to the will of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

How do we discern the direction in which the Holy Spirit is leading us rather than just following our own private enthusiasms or agendas?

Is there freedom to exercise our own particular gifts in the service of the Church?

Is my local community accountable and transparent when it comes to making decisions and, if not, what would help to remedy this?

Do I support the bishops and priests in arriving at their decisions?

  1. How well do we hand on the Faith?

Are we effective in sharing and passing on the Faith as individuals, as parishes, and as a diocese?

What would help us to do this better?

Can we see ways in which we might continue to work in a ‘synodal’ way – praying, discussing, and discerning together, not reliant on majority votes, but on a genuine consensus – a coming together of hearts and minds under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

Synod Prayer 101 (2)

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