Standing Orders

Part 0: Preamble


The Instruction on Diocesan Synods requires the diocesan bishop to provide for the publication of a Synodal Directory which establishes:These Standing Orders are the Synodal Directory for Synod 2020.

Part I: The Composition of the Synod


The following will be Members of the Synod:I.1 Other Voices
Others will be invited to participate in the Synod as Observers as outlined in Part IV.

Part II: The Election of Synod Members

Synod Members will be appointed by Archbishop Malcolm in consultation with the Synod Working Party to ensure that the requirements of Canon Law are met and that the rich diversity of our Archdiocesan community is reflected in the Synod Membership.

II.1 Priests and Seminarians
All priests with an appointment in the Archdiocese shall be Synod members by virtue of their canonical appointment.

The retired priests of the archdiocese shall, from their number, choose 5 retired priests to be Synod Members.

Those who are in seminary for the Archdiocese on 17 July 2020 shall be Synod Members.

II.2 Parishes
The Parish Priest shall facilitate the selection of one Member from their parish community. Parish communities shall be encouraged to find a way to discern this decision that meets the needs of the parish taking particular care over how expressions of interest are invited, how shortlisting should be done (if numbers are large), and who is involved in making the final selection.

II.3 Pastoral Areas
The Vicar Forane shall facilitate the selection of eight Members from their Pastoral Area communities after, and in the light of, the selection of parish Members. Taken as a whole [priest Members + parish Members + Pastoral Area Members], Membership for the Pastoral Area should include:

Vicars Forane should consult with the clergy and people of the Pastoral area in selecting the eight Members and ensure that the diversity of the Pastoral Area is reflected in the total Synod Membership from the Pastoral Area.

II.4 Religious Sisters and Brothers
The religious sisters and brothers working in the archdiocese shall select, from amongst their number, ten religious sisters and brothers to be Synod Members. The Episcopal Vicar for Religious will facilitate the selection of these Members.

II.5 Other Members
Archbishop Malcolm, in consultation with the Synod Working Party, will select other members who are able to make a special contribution to the Synod.

II.6 Termination of Membership
A Synod Member may lose their membership by reason of loss of title - that which qualified one to become a member - or by removal by the Bishop for a lawful reason.

II.7 Filling a Vacancy
Should a Synod Member cease to be a member for any reason then they will be replaced providing the vacancy occurs more than three months before the Synod event (i.e. before 17 July 2020).

In the event of a replacement Synod Member being required then the selection of that Member will be undertaken using the same processes as outlined above in consultation with the Synod Working Party.

Part III: Officers of the Synod

President: Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool

Synod Moderators: Fr Philip Inch (Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation) and Fr Matthew Nunes (Episcopal Vicar for Formation)

Part IV: Observers to the Synod

Archbishop Malcolm will appoint Observers to Synod 2020. Observers journey alongside Synod Members, take part in the Synod discussions, but do not have the right to vote. Observers (Ecumenical and Other) will attend meetings of Members (September 2019 and June 2020) and the Synod Event (October 2020). Special Invitees will attend the Synod Event only (see IV.3).

IV.1 Observers: Ecumenical
Archbishop Malcolm, with the co-operation of his fellow Church leaders and in consultation with the Synod Working Party and the Archdiocesan Ecumenism Commission, will nominate Ecumenical Observers to Synod 2020.

The presence of Ecumenical Observers will enrich the synodal discussions by helping to give a "greater role to ecumenical concerns in normal pastoral work, thus increasing knowledge of one another, reciprocal charity, and, if possible, fraternal cooperation” [Instruction on Diocesan Synods II.6]

IV.1.i Nomination of Ecumenical Observers
Ecumenical Observers to Synod 2020 will be made up of representatives from all areas of the Archdiocese as follows:

  • Churches Together in the Merseyside Region (12)
  • Churches Together in Lancashire (4)
  • Churches Alive in Man (2)
  • Nominated by Archbishop Malcolm in consultation with the Ecumenism Commission (4)
  • In addition to the above, Archbishop Malcolm will invite all members of the Church Leaders Groups for Churches Together in the Merseyside Region and Churches Together in Lancashire whose responsibilities encompass the Area of the Archdiocese, plus representatives from the Isle of Man nominated by Monsignor Canon John Devine OBE, to be Observers by to the Synod event [See IV.3].

    IV.1.ii The Role of Ecumenical Observers
    Ecumenical Observers will be journey alongside Synod Members, contributing to the Synod deliberations, contributing to the generation of proposals, and will participate in the Synod event.

    IV.1.iii The Archdiocesan Ecumenism Commission
    To support and promote the participation of Ecumenical Observers in Synod 2020 the Ecumenism Commission of the Archdiocese of Liverpool will have two Members of Synod appointed from their number. These two Synod Members, along with other members of the Commission serving on the Synod, will journey alongside the Ecumenical Observers and take responsibility for coordinating their participation.

    IV.2 Observers: Others
    Archbishop Malcolm, in consultation with the Synod Working Party, will nominate additional Observers to Synod 2020 who will be able to bring a unique or important perspective, a particular expertise, or otherwise make a valuable contribution to the Synod.

    IV.2.i Nomination of Other Observers
    Other Observers to the Synod 2020 will include (but not be restricted to) the following:

    IV.3 Special Invitation to the Synod Event
    In addition to the Ecumenical and Other Observers who will partake in the Synod Journey, Archbishop Malcolm will extend a special invitation to others to be present at the Synod Event. These will include, but not be restricted to:

    Part V: Commissions


    V.1  Synod Working Party
    “From the outset of the Synod the Archbishop is obliged to constitute a preparatory commission. The members of this preparatory commission are chosen by the Bishop from amongst the clergy and other faithful who are distinguished by their pastoral prudence and by their professional competence and who, in so far as possible, reflect the various charisms and ministries of the People of God. Some members should be expert in the disciplines of Canon Law and Sacred Liturgy.

    “It is the task of the preparatory commission to assist the Bishop especially in matters pertaining to the organization and preparation of the Synod. The preparatory commission also helps the Bishop in drawing up the synodal Directory, in his determining those questions to be proposed for synodal deliberation, as well as in the designation of the synodal members. The diocesan Bishop, or his delegate in the event of being unable to do so, presides over the meetings of the preparatory commission.” (Instruction on Diocesan Synods III.B.1)

    The Synod Working Party shall constitute the preparatory commission.

    The members of the Synod Working Party are: Fr Philip Inch, Fr Matthew Nunes, Mrs Debbie Reynolds, Fr Dominic Curran, Sr Rachel Duffy FCJ, Mrs Maureen Knight, Fr Stephen Pritchard, Fr Mark Beattie, Ms Kate Wilkinson, and Matt Jeziorski (Synod Coordinator).

    V.2 Synod Liturgy Group
    The Synod Liturgy Group will take responsibility for developing prayer and liturgy resources for use during the Synod process at meetings and liturgical celebrations. The group is convened by Fr Mark Beattie.

    V.3 Synod Theology Group
    The Synod Theology Group will ensure that the theological underpinning of the whole Synod process is robust and will act as theological advisors at the Synod event. The group is convened by Fr Stephen Pritchard.

    V.4 Synod Discernment Group
    The Synod Discernment Group will train, develop, and support the Synod Members in the skills of listening and discernment. It is convened by Mrs Veronica Murphy.

    V.5 Synod Office
    The Synod Office will assist the Synod as far as organisational matters are concerns, This will include the transmission and archiving of documentation, drawing up minutes, direction of logistical matters, as well as matters relating to finances and accounting.

    The Synod 2020 Office will be at St Mark’s Presbytery, Penmann Crescent, Halewood, Liverpool L26 0UG.

    The Synod Co-ordinator is Matt Jeziorski.

    Part VI: Procedural Norms

    The Synod Journey commenced in October 2017 with a year of prayer which concluded with Adoremus, the Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool.

    Between October 2018 and January 2019 the Synod Membership will be confirmed.

    A process of listening will take place in every part of the diocese from January 2019 which will include focus groups, local meetings, other formal and informal gatherings. From this listening the themes for the Synod will emerge from which, after further reflection, the Proposals that will go forward to Synod will be generated.

    At the Synod in October 2020 these Proposals will be voted on. If the Proposals are adopted, they then become recommendations to the Archbishop for his consideration as possible actions appropriate to the needs of the Diocese. The Archbishop then has responsibility to draw up decrees and statutes based on these recommendations. He does this cognisant of the needs, wishes and desires of the People of God but also cognisant of the general law of the Church.

    The full rules and procedures concerning the voting, discussions, interventions, and liturgical rites of the Synod event shall be confirmed in due course.


    Part VII: Synod 2020


    The Synod will take place on 17 and 18 October 2020 at The Sunloch Suite, Aintree, and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.