If you are interested in “where to next?” with the Plenary Council 2020, then their website is the best place to look. Here you can explore the six National Themes for Discernment that have emerged from the wealth of data in over 17,000 submissions. They are certainly comprehensive:
Snapshot reports for each of these themes are in the process of appearing on the website, while a comprehensive report of the whole listening and dialogue phase will be available from the 28 July.
The breadth of the issues raised within each theme is overwhelming, but the Plenary Council team have done their best to make them accessible. The information available is well worth more than a passing glance, particularly if you would like to be part of the ongoing discernment process. How that is going to be managed in individual dioceses is anyone’s guess at this stage. However, resources for discernment are being offered on a continuing basis on the Plenary Council 2020 website.
Six Discernment and Writing Groups will be formed to write the papers that will set the agenda for the Council in October 2020. Applications for volunteers (yes, volunteers) opened on 1 July and will close on the 22 July. Looking at the diversity of issues within each theme, I think the working groups are in for a challenging time.
There is plenty of cynicism around the Plenary Council and precious little hope. But read the Themes for Discernment carefully. Already there is a beautiful vision here of what we as a church could be. And as one person has bluntly said, “It’s the only game in town.” Let us hold onto what little hope we have and trust in the Spirit at work in us. When was discipleship ever easy? Maybe now is the time to engage, if you haven’t already.
Author: Patricia Gemmell
Patricia recently graduated with a Masters in Theology, is a member of the Australian Grail National Leadership Team and has been a parishioner of St Leonard’s, Naremburn, for 34 years.