Our parishes have been taking part in the worldwide synod called by Pope Francis.

The Synod process is about listening deeply to God’s voice as we journey together. We begin by listening deeply to the Holy Spirit in prayer before sharing together. In the Taunton and Wellington parishes, we provided a number of opportunities for people to participate. Listening walls were put up in each of the churches, with questions that people were invited to put their answers to. Synod meetings were held with an invitation to share our reflections on the synod questions. Individuals were also invited to send in their own responses. All of these responses are given below.
From the responses, summary reports have been written by the synod delegates that have been sent to the Diocese and will feed into the report sent to Rome for the final Synod meeting. At a local level, the listening has also helped establish some priorities for us to look at as parishes in the medium term and some immediate actions. The process has helped us to listen to the dreams and visions of all in our parish to help us begin to discern and draw up a mission plan that will guide us in the years ahead.Crucially, the synod is an opportunity for us to think about how we listen and make decisions as a parish. How can we better include the voices of everyone in doing this? The feedback from the synod process helped us think about how we can continue to listen and involve everyone in our mission as parishes, developing structures that enable us to continue to ensure everyone’s voice is heard.These are also listed below.
‘Raw’ feedback from those participating in the process
Report to Diocese
The final report produced by the Synod delegates and sent to the Diocese can be downloaded here.
Diocesan Report
The report produced by the Diocese, reflecting the submissions of participants from across the Diocese can be downloaded here.
Immediate actions
At St John Fisher in Wellington, a number of immediate actions can be implemented as a result of the synod process:
– One of the sadnesses evoked was that the church was locked outside Mass times. A combination lock has been fitted to the main church door to enable people to come in and pray at any time.
– We will be trialling monthly lunches after Mass on Sundays, to try to build community further. At the first one, on 20 February, we will be discussing and planning social events for the parish over the year ahead.
Medium term priorities
At St John Fisher in Wellington, we will be looking to:
– Improve communications, particularly through making better use of electronic communications and ensuring our database is up to date.
– Reflect on how we can better include the housebound.
– Look at offering a group for adults with learning disabilities
– Look at offering other opportunities such as coffee mornings and Christmas parties to include the marginalised and lonely.
– Look at producing a leaflet to be given out via estate agents/new home packs
– Look at how we help people to know what roles might be carried out in the parish and how they could be involved
– Ask whether people might be willing to teach skills as a parish activity
– Develop our ministry with young families, children and young people
– Offer regular retreats
– Continue to work with Wiveliscombe parishioners to help them feel included
– Continue to deepen our ecumenical engagement
– Look at ministry to the marginalised within the parish possibly through an SVP group
– Look at our sound system to see if this can be improved for those who struggle with hearing
– Reintroduce welcomers at the entrance to the church
Decision making structures
At St John Fisher in Wellington, we will be having a regular parish forum meeting three times a year to help anyone wanting to take part to suggest their ideas and comments for the parish. We will also look to establish structures with responsibilities for different areas of parish life such as social, mission outreach, etc.
Mission priorities
A key priority identified in Wellington was the inclusion of the ill, disabled and elderly particularly those who are isolated. Including them is seen as a key task. Is there a way of offering transport to Mass?
Another key priority was being outward facing and engaged in wider society, through support of groups such as SPUC and CAFOD.