SYNOD PROGRAMME

 

Creating the Bristol Text to Reform
5-8 September 2021

The Bristol Text is offered as a contribution to the Bishops’ Synodal Process

and to Catholics around the world as part of our common preparation for Rome in 2023.

It is also intended to give confidence to individual Catholics,

to form our own thinking, learning, decision-making, conscience and practice.

Root & Branch began in January 2020 before the pandemic. We were responding to journalist Joanna Moorhead’s challenge in The Tablet that the Catholic Church needed ‘a synod that starts with women’ rather than tagging them on the end or ignoring them altogether. Very soon, as the name suggests, we understood that we needed to look at all areas of reform in the Church. If we succeeded in attracting support we would make it clear that Root & Branch is not a single-issue movement. Women may have started it, but it would not end there.

 

The pandemic lockdown and the rise in online forums allowed us to embark, in October 2020, on an on-line Journey of Discernment towards an inclusive, lay-led synod. We have listened to speakers from all over the world. Both on-line, and quietly in correspondence, we have been open to – we have actively sought out – opinion from all sections of the Church. We have been accompanied by prayer and, we trust, the guiding inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Our thinking has matured and deepened. We have become more inclusive at the same time as learning to be more bravely challenging.

 

For months we have been preparing The Bristol Text to Reform. It is a document that embodies at least some of the discoveries we have made. It exists both in a readily accessible and in more complex, learned forms. It is intended to give ordinary Catholics the reassurance that there are changes we can make in our practice that are in keeping with the best of Catholic tradition and have the endorsement of deep, pastorally sensitive and well-informed thinkers and theologians, including many who are clergy. It also offers practical and often challenging visions for the Church, calling it to be Christ-like in its structures, its thinking and its practice.

 

This week is the culmination of that year-long journey: the presentation by international panels of thinkers of The Bristol Text, and the wonderful firework display of speakers for the final Friday and Saturday, led by Mary McAleese, Helena Kennedy and James Carroll. We will end on the second Sunday with a Celebration of Word and Communion, followed by lunch in an Agape of Inclusion.

 

Root & Branchers, as the people who’ve joined us along the way have begun to call themselves, have been asking us ‘what next’? This movement has become too big, too important to many people, to stop here. With the help of all your prayers we know the Holy Spirit will bring inspiration this week – and also fresh volunteers - to carry us forward.

SUNDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER

 

Online only

 

 18.30-18.45 BST*   

Inner Room

Join us as we pray for the Spirit to guide the final week of our inclusive Synod

 🌱

19.00-20.30 BST

Redefining and Reclaiming Liturgical Ministry

Introduction by Colm Holmes, R&B

 

CHAIR
Katharine Salmon, teacher, feminist, theologian

PANELISTS
Martha Heizer, co-founder of We Are Church Austria and We Are Church International

Kate McElwee, activist, Executive Director Women’s Ordination Conference

Revd Diarmuid O’Murchu, social psychologist and author of Doing Theology in an Evolutionary Way, pastoral care for HIV-Aids, homeless and refugees

Patricia Rumsey, abbess of a Poor Clare monastery, associate professor at Nottingham University, and author of Lest She Pollute the Sanctuary

Kathleen Gibbons Schuck, facilitator, executive coach, and member of Roman Catholic Women Priests (RCWP)

MONDAY, 6 SEPTEMBER

 

Online only

 

 16:00-16:15 BST*   

Inner Room

Join us as we pray for the Spirit to guide the final week of our inclusive Synod

 🌱

16.30-18.00 BST

Embracing Diversity

Introduction by Colm Holmes, R&B

 

CHAIR
Ruby Almeida, co-chair Global Network of Rainbow Catholics

PANELISTS
Dr Kochurani Abraham, feminist theologian, author, and Coordinator of the Indian Christian Women’s Movement for Kerala, India

Dr James Alison, Catholic theologian, priest and author

Dr Nontando Hadebe, specialising in African, Pastoral, Feminist and Liberation Theology, St Augustine College, South Africa

Dr Claire Jenkins, trans woman, Senior Fellow Margaret Beaufort Institute, University of Cambridge, pastoral care to LGBT Catholics and Moslem asylum seekers and refugees

TUESDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER

 

Online only

 

 18:30-18:45 BST*   

Inner Room

Join us as we pray for the Spirit to guide the final few days of our inclusive Synod

 🌱

19.00-20.30 BST

Rethinking Moral Theology

Introduction by Colm Holmes, R&B

 

CHAIR
Joanna Moorhead, journalist and author, arts editor The Tablet

PANELISTS
Tina Beattie, theologian, novelist and former Professor of Catholic Studies at University of Roehampton

Gina Menzies, Irish broadcaster and theologian specializing in Moral Theology and Feminism, currently lecturing on Healthcare Ethics at The Royal College of Surgeons

Thomas O'Loughlin, author and Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology in The University of Nottingham, and the Director of Studia Traditionis Theologiae

Dr John O’Loughlin Kennedy, economist, social entrepreneur, author of The Curia is the Pope

WEDNESDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER

 

Online only

 

 16:00-16:15 BST*   

Inner Room

join us as we pray for the Spirit to guide the final few days of our inclusive Synod

 🌱

16.30-18.00 BST

 Insisting on Sharing Authority

Introduction by Colm Holmes, R&B

 

CHAIR
Virginia Saldanha, writer and feminist theologian; former Executive Secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) Women’s Desk, and Office of Laity & Family

PANELISTS
Dr Luca Badini Confalonieri, Executive Director at the Wijngaards Institute with a long-standing interest in the governance of the Roman Catholic Church

Revd Anthony Cassidy, Parochial Administrator at St Matthew, West Norwood

Christina Rees CBE, former member of the General Synod of the Church of England, writer, broadcaster and applied theologian

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, one of Britain’s most distinguished lawyers championing civil liberties and promoting human rights

THURSDAY, 9 SEPTEMBER


20.30 – 21.30 BST
Inner Room

Join Rev. Sr. Victoria Chester as we pray for the Spirit to guide the final few days of our inclusive Synod

Casting Out Our Fear – the Way Forward

10-11 September 2021

 

FRIDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER

St Michael’s Centre, Stoke Gifford, Bristol and on-line

 

11.30-13.00 BST
Registration followed by lunch for those physically attending

🌱

Live and Online

13.00 BST*

PRAYER AND SETTING THE SYNOD IN CONTEXT

Myra Poole SND, co-founder of Catholic Women’s Ordination

Derek Reeve, co-founder of A Call To Action

Bishop Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton

Ursula King, Professor Emerita, Theology and Religious Studies, University of Bristol
Chair, Mary Ring, R&B

followed by the blessing of the synod

Rev. Richard McKay and parishioners from St Nicholas of Tolentino, Bristol

🌱

14.00-14.45 BST

NO SYNODALITY WITHOUT FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Canon law must acknowledge the human rights of Church members

Keynote speaker Professor Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland

🌱

14.50-15.25 BST

Q&A

Joanna Moorhead, journalist and author

🌱

15.30 BST

WELCOME TO BRISTOL

Bishop Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol

Tea break & online chatcafe

🌱

16.10-16.35 BST*

LITURGICAL MINISTRY

a personal experience

Dr Martha Heizer, We Are Church Austria

🌱

6.35-17.00 BST

KNOCKING ON CLOSED DOORS  

The Persistent Witness for Women's Ordination

Kate McElwee, Executive Director Women’s Ordination Conference

🌱

17.05-17.30 BST

BELONGING & BEING CHURCH

What’s Catholicism all about?

Dr James Alison, theologian and priest

🌱

17.35-18.00 BST

INCLUSIVITY

At what price?

Ruby Almeida, former broadcaster and lecturer,
always seeking productive conversations that bring about change

🌱

18.05-18.30 BST

PRAYERFUL CLOSE

Eleanor Flynn, co-founder of Women’s Wisdom in the Church, Australia

and co-convenor of Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform

Soline Humbert Vatinel, spiritual director and advocate for women 's ordination, Ireland

🌱

19.00 BST
Those attending must have left the centre, please.

🌱

Online only

21.00-21.30 BST

NIGHT PRAYER

Dave Lucas gives the background to The Ordinary Office, a praying online weekly community of disabled and dispersed people, and finishes with a Night Prayer

Casting Out Our Fear – the Way Forward

10-11 September 2021

 

SATURDAY, 11 SEPTEMBER

St Michael’s Centre, Stoke Gifford, Bristol and on-line

08.30-09.00
Coffee

🌱

09.15-09.35 BST*

THE WORD

The Gospel reading and homily

Shanon Sterringer, Director, Hildegard Haus, Ohio

🌱

09.45-10.00 BST

AIMS OF THE DAY

Pamela Perry, R&B and Mary Ring, R&B

🌱

10.00-10.25 BST

VISION & VOICE

Breaking the sound barrier of fear

Christina Rees CBE, campaign for Anglican women’s ordination for over 25 years,

leader of the campaign for women bishops

Christina will then chair the synod today

🌱

10.30-11.00 BST

THE ASIAN BISHOPS’ VISION OF A CO-RESPONSIBLE CHURCH

IS NO MORE. WHY?

Virginia Saldanha, writer and feminist theologian; former Executive Secretary, Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) Women’s Desk, and Office of Laity & Family

🌱

11.00 BST
Coffee Break

🌱

11.30-11.55 BST*

CATALYTIC CONVERSIONS

transforming the Church's gender politics beyond ‘add women and stir’

Tina Beattie, Professor Emerita, Catholic Studies, University of Roehampton

🌱

12.00-12.30 BST

WOMEN & MEN AT THE TABLE, EARLY CHRISTIAN ERA

Dr Ally Kateusz, specialist in women and religion in Early Christian art and text,

research associate Wijngaards Institute of Catholic Research

🌱

12.30-13.00 BST

Q&A

Miriam Duignan, activist for reform in the Catholic church

🌱

13.00-13.45
Lunch Break & online chatcafe

🌱

14.00-14.30 BST

JUSTICE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC

Director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

🌱

14.35-14.55 BST

Q&A

Penelope Middelboe, R&B and Sue Williamson, R&B

🌱

14.55-15.05 BST

PERSONAL REFLECTION

Eve Rose-Keenan, Anglican priest, Labour councillor for Rotherham

and survivor of child sexual exploitation

🌱

15.10-15.40 BST*

THE FUTURE CHURCH IS A CHOICE

James Carroll, award-winning American author and journalist.

His latest book is The Truth at the Heart of the Lie: How the Catholic Church Lost its Soul.

🌱

15.40-16.10

Q&A

Pamela Perry, R&B

🌱

16.15
Tea Break & online chat
cafe

🌱

16.45-17.35 BST

INTERCONNECTED

Panel of inter-faith networks

Christine Clinch, Lead, Ammerdown Centre, Bristol, enabling people of differing views or religions to engage in dialogue and pursue journeys of prayer, faith or enquiry

Revd Richard McKay, parish priest at St Nicholas of Tolentino, Bristol, influenced by Charismatic Renewal and Liberation Theology

Dr Zainab Mai-Bornu, lecturer at the University of Leicester, a Muslim from Nigeria

Revd Dr Catherine Okoronkwo, Vicar of All Saints and St Barnabas Church, Swindon,  Bishop of Bristol's Adviser on Racial Justice, author of Blood and Water/obara na mmiri

Iris Segall, council member of the Bristol & West Progressive Jewish Congregation (BWPJC) with a long-standing experience of interfaith dialogue and activity

Rabbi Alexandra Wright, UK’s first female senior rabbi, and active in the Council of Christians and Jews

Chair, Rhiannon Parry Thompson, R&B

🌱

17.30-18.15 BST

WHERE NOW

with the Bristol Text to Reform?

Thomas O’Loughlin, Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology, University of Nottingham

Penelope Middelboe, R&B 

🌱

18:20-18:30 BST
FAREWELL, INVITATION TO LITURGY 10.30 SUNDAY & FINAL BLESSING

Pamela Perry, R&B, Mary Ring, R&B, Sue Williamson, R&B, Katharine Salmon, R&B

🌱

19.00 BST
Those attending must have left the centre please

SUNDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER

Sequoia Room, Holiday Inn, Filton, Bristol

Live & Online

 

10.30 BST

CLOSING LITURGY

Celebration of the Word and Communion

Shared liturgy that fulfils our Sunday obligation
🌱
Short interval to prepare lunch

 🌱

11.30 BST

BREAKING OF BREAD

An Agape of Inclusion

Come to a celebration of our friendship and peace

sharing a light lunch to see us on our way