Synodal discussions recently held at Belper, Duffield and Ripley: a summary

Published Wed, 26/01/2022 by

Question 1  

What is my dream for the Church, for my parish so that it can become more outward-looking, more missionary? 

  • More people taking an active part in the life of the church e.g., leadership, community building roles, involvement in the social teaching/ activism.
  • An increase in the “welcome” offered by our parish – especially to the ministry of women and the inclusion of those who are marginalized and feel separated from the Church.
  • A greater ecumenical role, participating more visibly in the life of the local community.
  • Catholic education needs to “re-set” itself, with the Gospel and Christ at its heart.
  • The Church needs to develop its youth mission.

Question 2  

To achieve this dream, what do we need to stop doing? What are we doing that needs to be developed or done differently?

  • Over reliance on the clergy and those who are routinely involved.
  • Move away from a focus on buildings and anxieties.
  • Focus on the liturgy to be inclusive.
  • Greater involvement in leadership, ecumenism and youth ministry
  • Engage more with our schools

Question 3  

As a parish, do we know who are the people who feel marginalized or separated from the parish and society? 

  • As a parish we find it difficult to pull information together regarding people who feel marginalized or separated – we might get better information from agencies that have greater knowledge, e.g.  health visitors, social services etc.
  • Who do we mean by marginalized – divorced; differing sexuality/ identity; people who have lost faith; those who do not feel as if they belong?  Greater clarity and effective engagement with these individuals/ groups is required.

Question 4  

How best can our parish respond?  Suggest at least two identifiable ways (an immediate action AND a long-term change) in which, as a parish, we will reach out to, and listen to, the marginalized or separated.

  • Focus on welcoming ministry.
  • Raise profile of parish outreach work and participate in community initiatives.
  • A need for more groups/ social opportunities e.g., reading/ books, walking, music, youth club.
  • Young people need more encouragement to be involved with decision making in the parish.
  • More participation from schools – invited to read and sing at Mass. 

Question 5  

How do I hear and respond to the voice of God’s Holy Spirit, in my life; what signs of the Spirit at work do I see in the life of our parish?

  • Visits and prayers from congregation etc.
  • Families and friendships that respond to a need e.g., Children’s liturgy, leisure group
  • Love, kindness and understanding in our parish community. Support for each other – in times of need.
  • Action in community e.g., Refugees; Hope for Belper, fund raising for charities.

Question 6  

What steps may the Holy Spirit be calling us to take, as a parish, on our journey together into God’s future?

  • Look outside our current behaviour.
  • Engage, actively, with the Catholic Social Teaching
  • Take ecumenism seriously.
  • Personal responsibility for our engagement in the life of the parish.
  • Church – expanding the involvement in Liturgy: broadening out; increasing the ministry of women …… valuing the gifts that these people have and can use to deliver the mission of the Church.


Our parish wants to be a community that is more engaged with the activism that stems from Catholic Social Teaching; that is inclusive and recognizes the multiplicity of identities that make up our community; knows that it needs to work at deepening the spiritual and sacramental life of the parish to avoid life points as being mere rites of passage (and potentially exit), as opposed to a closer/ deeper relationship with God; that understands that the many opportunities of the Second Vatican Council need to be realized; that knows that a top-down, hierarchical church has alienated some and wants to refocus on what brings us together, not what separates and excludes; that clearly recognizes the necessity to address how women are seen in the mission of the church and that their gifts are used more visibly by the church.

In short, the parish wishes to realize the ambition that Jesus had for us in having life, and having it to the full, providing the space in the many rooms of His Father’s house for all our sisters and brothers, whatever their circumstances.

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