In accordance with the 1992-93 Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Pastoral Councils in this diocese are representative groups at parish, regional and diocesan levels, the primary function of which is pastoral planning. In collaboration with their pastor, they evaluate the needs and resources of the relevant community and plan for its future development by listening to God’s people, helping them to discover what they need to live the gospel and enabling them, through the Spirit, to fulfil those needs.
Diocesan Pastoral Council
The Diocesan Pastoral Council is an advisory council to the Bishop in matters pastoral. Care is taken to ensure the entire people of God is truly reflected with due regard for gender, age and social position. Representation on this Council is drawn from the clergy, each of the regions of the diocese, the other diocesan Councils and the agencies of the diocese. This Council meets with the Bishop at least four times per year and is supported by the Diocesan Pastoral Support Unit.
The Role of the Diocesan Pastoral Council
The Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) is a group with which the Bishop, and members of his Chancery, consult on pastoral concerns and how these concerns might best be addressed. The DPC fulfils this role by: (cf. The Code of Canon Law, Canon 511)
- Building up the diocesan community by promoting its spiritual life through prayer, liturgy and gatherings.
- Promoting in the diocese and in diocesan bodies, the spirit and principles of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan.
- Building up a sense of trust and unity among all people of the diocese, so that the diocese will be recognised as a visible and credible sign and instrument of communion with God and so fulfil its mission.
- Providing a link between the diocese and the rest of the Church in Australia and the Church Universal.
- Through its close links with Parish and Regional Pastoral Councils, initiating and facilitating dialogue between the people of the diocese, diocesan bodies and the pastoral leadership of the diocese.
- Studying, reflecting upon and discussing issues of concern to the whole diocese brought to it by the Bishop, parishes, deaneries, diocesan agencies and groups and individuals where these issues are not best addressed elsewhere.
- Establishing committees, councils or teams to investigate and act upon areas of pastoral concern and diocesan responses to important local, national or global issues.
- Developing broad pastoral objectives and major emphases that will give a general direction in which the diocese might move.
- Addressing areas of diocesan pastoral concern and developing long term plans for the diocesan community. Such plans will be presented to a Diocesan Pastoral Assembly after the Diocesan Pastoral Council gathers factual data, develops options and sets priorities, all in a spirit of prayer, consultation and discernment.
- Monitoring implementation and evaluating Diocesan Pastoral Plans.
- Planning the Diocesan Pastoral Assembly.
- Guarding the integrity of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan adopted by Synod and any Diocesan Pastoral Plan accepted by a Diocesan Pastoral Assembly. Substantial change cannot be made to a Diocesan Pastoral Plan without the approval of the appropriate body, synod or assembly.
- Making recommendations to the Bishop about the appointment of some members to the Diocesan Pastoral Council and its associated Councils, subcommittees and various task teams.
The Diocesan Pastoral Council, in keeping with its role as guardian of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan, has the particular task of linking diocesan bodies. It should therefore maintain effective communication with other diocesan bodies while in the process of pastoral planning for the diocese.
Below are some summary reports from the Diocesan Pastoral Council Meetings which you can download and view.