Pope Francis opens the Holy Doors

Representing the NBCW at Northampton Diocesan Assembly

Helen Burgess, diocesan link for Northampton Diocese

I am Helen Burgess the NBCW Diocesan link for the Northampton Diocese. On the 15th of July 2023 I was one of 350 delegates from across the Northampton diocese who gathered at Thornton College for the Diocesan Synod Assembly, Pilgrims of Hope.

As part of this process 5 working parties had been identified and I was asked to lead the women’s ministry working party. I gathered a team and for many months we prayed, listened, reflected and eventually produced a report which we submitted to the assembly.

You can hear an overview from the working parties here and watch the live stream from the assembly here.

All of the reports and preparation webinars are here, including the women’s ministry webinar.

The synod team reflecting on the day said that:

“Through the prep sessions, through the webinars, and through the day itself there was a great sense of people coming together, and of a shared sense of purpose and openness to the Holy Spirit.

At the beginning of the day we heard from Bishop David, the working parties and the youth stream. We even had a note of prayer and appreciation from Pope Francis. Then we moved into workshops, which were by turns reflective, passionate, and eye-opening. Stories of hurt and healing were told, and dreams shared for the future.

Our final session gathered together some of the learning from the day, electrified by the youth stream. Bishop David shared with us three key words: koinonia – fellowship, working together against division; agape – laying down our lives in love for one another; and exousia. He finished by telling us that:

  • An action plan will be finalised over the summer to address the main concerns of the listening.
  • Every area of diocesan life will be encouraged and supported as we look to meet the changing needs of our Church and the world.
  • A new Diocesan Pastoral Council will take forward the agenda of the Assembly.

As delegates we were all encouraged to become ambassadors for the Assembly, and we finished the day with a beautiful period of prayer and worship. We thank everyone who worked so hard to make the day a success”.

See more at: https://northamptondiocese.org/assembly/

As the NBCW Diocesan link I was able to host a stall promoting our work and with the help of Sister Miriam from Turvey Abbey (NBCW Women in the Church Committee) produced postcards to advertise what we do and who we are. All in all it was a very inspiring process and we look forward to subsequent steps.

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