In response to the dramatic changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the bishops of Australia have made the “difficult, but necessary” decision to postpone the first assembly of the Plenary Council which was planned for 21 November 2020.
A Synod - the word means “journeying together” - is a formal assembly of representatives of the whole diocesan community: clergy, religious and lay people. Through the Synod process, which involves collaboration, discernment, governance and communion, the Bishop seeks advice on matters concerning the good of the whole diocese. Declarations and decrees are promulgated which set the direction for the diocese in the form of a Diocesan Pastoral Plan. So, Diocesan Synods are important instruments and occasions for effecting renewal.
The last Diocesan Synod was held in 1992/93 and since then, parishes within the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle have been journeying together through assemblies and gatherings in which they have been discerning the voice of the Spirit.