Synod Update from Archbishop Malcolm

Thursday the 3rd of September

Together on the Road

Archbishop Malcolm has released the following message to update the people of the Archdiocese of Liverpool about the changes to our Synod Journey that have been necessitated by COVID-19 pandemic. A new Synod Timetable has also been published which can be downloaded here.


These changes are explained further by Fr Philip Inch, Synod Moderator, in this article published in the July 2020 edition of the Catholic Pic.

As you know the word Synod comes from 2 Greek words which can be translated as together on the road, together on the way, on the path, on the journey. When we set off on the Synod 2020 journey with the words: “together on the road” and “becoming the Church God is calling us to be”, we never imagined what God had in store for us.

The last few month have been unexpected and they have taught us all that the road has many twists and turn on it and, as the Synod journey continues, God is calling us to listen, often in new and exciting ways.

Becoming the Church God is calling us to be

This phrase is the other part of our Synod tag line. We cannot doubt that God is inviting us to take a fresh look at the ways we have been doing things. It is certainly a gifted time to be part of the Church, especially part of our Synod process.

It is important to say and to emphasise that the Synod has not been postponed; it has not been halted; it has not been cancelled. The Synod is happening; it is ongoing; it is alive and dynamic. You can see this in some of the ideas that have come forward in the recent reflections and requests for new proposals in the light of the present situation: here are two examples:

The Covid 19 has opened up many new challenges in our ways of worship and coinciding with Synod 2020, I truly believe that God is working in different ways to enable us to look at our forms of communicating with him. Priests and congregations have marvelled at the way live streaming has opened up different avenues of worship. Priests now have their intimate parish congregation in their daily Mass and they have their regular virtual congregation .So let every church have live streaming. 
(A Parishioner from Liverpool)

Parishes should develop an online presence to enable communication to and from the clergy. Parishes should be encouraged to establish a PPC type of grouping to discuss and extend parish life. I have greatly valued and appreciated livestream but feel bereft of parish life although I am normally involved as minister of the word and the Eucharist. As there was minimal provision for communication... or indeed community... before the pandemic, I worry for the future of parish life and my own practice). 
(A Parishioner from Wigan)

In the light of all this we have had to look again at the proposed Synod timetable. The Synod was never just one or two dates but there are certain dates that we have had to change.

We are using this present time (until the beginning of September) to ask: “What is God saying to us in the light of what is happening all around us?” Where can we hear the voice of God in the new and different ways in which we are gathering, in which we are celebrating Mass, in which we are using (or not) our buildings. We need to try to listen and to carefully discern. This is surely a God given opportunity. Please go on to the Synod Website and suggest any proposals that you feel need to be heard.

Members of the Working Party have been looking at (discerning) all the proposals that have come in – over 2500. We have tried to ask ourselves what it is that is being said in each of the proposals. There is repetition and there are a few proposals that are outside the work of the Synod – but it has been a privileged task to work on all that has come in so far.

In October (on what would have been the weekend of our Synod gathering) we will take an opportunity, through Synod Sunday, to revisit the themes of the Synod, the work that has been done and outline the next stages of the Synod 2020 journey.

From mid-October to early December all of the discerned proposals (long-list) will be sent to the Synod Members. They will be asked to share them as widely as possible and listen to responses. At the beginning of December Members will be invited to share the responses saying which of the (long-listed) proposals should go forward to the Synod gatherings.

There will be a meeting of Synod Members in March. At these meetings we will present the final list of proposals to the Synod Members who then go back to the parishes and communities to discuss them before the Synod Weekend.

The Synod weekend will now be June 18th, 19th and 20th. A prayer vigil will take place on 18th. The Synod Gathering will be at the Edge on Saturday June 19th and then the Synod Mass of Thanksgiving will be on Sunday June 20th.

Please keep praying for the work of the Synod. Look at the Synod web site and Synod social media so that you can keep playing your part.

Download the new Synod Timetable