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There is this phrase, “to keep an ear to the ground”.
Do you remember watching those old western movies where the Native Americans would go down on their hands and knees and put their ears to the ground to listen for movements in the area?

In a sense, the Synod is a process in which the whole Church goes down on her hands and knees and listens to the voices on the ground.

But the Church can only listen clearly when her knees are knelt in prayer and her hands reach out in humble service to the poor and the lowly. So, in our prayer, we put aside our needs and we pray for and through the Holy Spirit for guidance in the Synod process, and also for those in need of God’s help.

That is also our service to others. When we pray for others in their need, God will also grant us what we need. When we do God’s work, God will also help us to accomplish our own work. As the Church and as disciples of Jesus, let us fulfill our calling as Christians. Let us lead the world in adoration of the one true God.

It is against this background, however, that we are inviting you all to join in a meaningful reflection for this SYNODAL PROCESS in our Parish here at ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH THORNTON HEATH.

The First Stage

“What is the Holy Spirit saying to us, here in Thornton Heath in this parish of St. Andrew’s?”

There are three headings:

  1. Communion,
  2. Participation, and
  3. Mission.

This is what is planned over the next three weeks.

We will take one of these and we are encouraged to share with honesty, and openness about real life experiences and to reflect on what the Holy Spirit might be revealing in what we share with one another.

  1. We ask every group in the parish to come together in some way and use the process which is printed on the sheet in the newsletter. (Also if you wish, form your own group of friends)
  2. Every Thursday Evening for the next three weeks (October 28th, November 4th, and November 11th), those who wish to meet in the parish hall from 7.30 pm -9 pm can do so.
  3. Individuals can also do this by prayerfully following the process on their own.

There is an email address at: [email protected] to which all responses from the parish of St. Andrew’s can be sent.

If you do not wish to be part of the “parish listening”, responses can be sent directly to the diocese at [email protected].

We will give a short feedback in the newsletter on the Sunday after every meeting. We have a month to submit the parish response (not a lot of time)

Week 1 Communion

The Church is Catholic because she is sent to all, in order to gather the entire human family from every nation and culture, under the Lordship of Christ and in the unity of his Spirit.

  1. What are the ways in which your parish most successfully brings people together?
  2. In which areas of parish life (liturgical, charitable, social etc.) does your parish feel and act as one?
  3. In which areas of parish life (liturgical, charitable, social etc.) are you able to discern the presence and movement of the Holy Spirit?
  4. How is the Holy Eucharist the main focal point for your parish?
  5. Is the parish the sole locus for Communion in your area?
  6. Christ is present as the head united to his body (Ephesians 1:22-23) in our parishes and communities. How is this reflected in your parish/community life? Are there other reasons that you gather together?
  7. In what ways can you help to build up communion effectively and authentically in the coming months and years?
  8. How do you relate to members of the Church who have drifted away from practice?
  9. How does your parish relate to other parishes nearby



Scripture reading

Spiritual conversations normally begin by actively listening to oneself and to what the Holy Spirit is doing at the outset. This involves time for silent personal prayer and reflection, which can take one of the following forms:

  1. A brief introduction invites participants to share with the group one or two words that describe their interior state at that point.
  2. A longer time of personal prayer and reflection over response to a passage of Scripture (suggest Gospel of that days Mass or the Sunday Gospel )


A question .f times allows response to more than one question you do not have to answer them all. Each person is invited to reflect and then speak their response to the question. Each person should have up to 5 minutes max to speak. Perhaps consider using a visible timer. The focus is to listen to others, rather than simply thinking about what you want to say. Open your heart and your mind to listen to the one who is speaking.

Between each person, take a 30-second pause to recall what was said. The facilitator can nominate someone to start, and then participants can share one after the other.

Once everyone has shared, or however many you choose, a longer break can help participants absorb what was said, take a breather, and if involved in a longer session return for the second round and participants speak spontaneously without any particular order. However, each person can only share once.

This is not a time for discussing or refuting what someone else says, nor for bringing up what you forgot to mention in the first round. Rather, it is an opportunity to ask questions like:

  • How were you affected by what you heard?
  • Is there a common thread in what was shared? Is there something missing that you had expected would be said?
  • Were you especially touched by a particular sharing?
  • Have you received any particular insight or revelation? What is it?
  • Where did you experience a sense of harmony with others as we shared with one another?

Choose one word to describe the overall mood of the group eg’ hopeful, depressed, joyful, contentious, excited, etc.