Welcoming the stranger

Urgently Required: Truro house for refugee family

TCRS (Truro Community Refugee Support) is looking for a home for a refugee family who are rebuilding their lives in the UK. They are currently being housed in a hotel waiting to be relocated.

If you have a house in a state of disrepair, we have a team of volunteers who can support getting it back to a habitable state.

Your rent will be guaranteed for two years with the same team of volunteers ensuring your property remains well maintained.

Contact Diana: 07957863313 or tcrstruro@gmail.com if you can help.

TCRS is local group is bidding to sponsor a refugee family under the Government’s Community Sponsorship scheme. It has reached its initial funding target to meet the Government minimum requirements but is still in need of suitable accommodation.

The group has a very diverse ‘network’ of locals prepared to help a refugee family to settle here. The group includes, among others, doctors and other healthcare workers, teachers, public servants, home makers. Anyone ready and willing to help a “stranger in a strange land” is welcome.

Contact the SVP Truro group (07474-941099) to express your interest in being part of the net — no obligation! 

Cornwall in Ukraine

The personal connections that we in Cornwall, and indeed in our parish, have with the war in Ukraine serve to remind us of our bonds with our brothers and sisters in Christ, everywhere. Dr Matthew Barber, son of Tony, left a few weeks ago to start a voluntary placement with UK Med in Chernivtsi, Western Ukraine near the Romanian border. 

He is there with a team of English volunteers providing primary health care, from mobile clinics, to refugees from the Eastern war zone. His patients are mainly children and the elderly;  many are suffering from psychological stress resulting from their experiences. 

Matthew says: “Ukraine is a lovely country, with nice friendly people. The only problem is that I am a vegetarian. They cannot understand that, but  are very accommodating”.

We hope our readers will join us in sending Matthew our best wishes and prayers.

Online Masses: update

Readers who have been unable to attend Mass in person for whatever reason will have been disappointed that many online masses recently disappeared, as our parishes are wrestling with the Data Protection implications of live-streaming. 

They may therefore be pleased to know of some that have either continued streaming or have recently returned to streaming, some of them using the (temporary?) expedient of restricting the camera view to the altar area only.

Here are links to some  “local” churches that presently offer online masses: St Austell (Fr Michael), Falmouth (Fr Brian) & Helston (Fr Paul), and further afield Teignmouth (Fr Mark).

If anyone would like help finding or accessing any online church services, please contact the SVP Truro Conference who also lend equipment (07474-941099)

Synod Watch: update

Austen Ivereigh gives an insider’s look at the process of producing the National Synthesis in a  The Tablet feature here. Registration on the website is required to read the article, but it is free and easy. 

Pax Christi, the international Catholic nonviolent initiative, undertook their own ‘listening’ process with participants from 26 countries. The result offers a thought-provoking vision of what a truly peace-loving church community might look like. 

For a non-diocesan perspective from an international synodal process on synodality and the church, read Pax Christi’s Synod report here.

Across the Channel:French Synod National Synthesis

“We dream of a Church […] that is ready to move with changes in our society, freed from some of the burdens in the way it works, advancing resolutely towards unity, where people can speak freely, always attentive to the little ones and those who have been cast aside, a praying Church that trusts in her Creator and her Saviour.”

Readers may be interested to compare how Catholics in France have responded to the issues on Synodality. 

The French National Synthesis expresses how much people enjoyed meeting together, but acknowledges the difficulty and failure to engage the marginalised and the young. Acknowledging too the fear of change on the part of some laypeople and many priests, it summarises 3 key findings from the dioceses:

First is the widespread conviction that sharing and meditation on the scriptures needs to play a more important part in strengthening both personal and community life

Second is the need for the church to give credible signs of God’s goodness and the dignity of all the baptised, especially in its ministries, governance and liturgies. 

The third key finding is the widely shared hope that the church must be a better example to the world of living as brothers and sisters in Christ. It should be more open and welcoming, less judgmental; it must nurture a culture listening and dialogue to deepen relationships, between Catholics and with other faiths. 

Full report is here

What a Surprise!

Ginny Young celebrated a significant birthday in style last week, with a huge turnout by family, fellow parishioners, local village friends and hospital colleagues at a surprise party master-minded by her sons and daughter.  The large number of parishioners was a good reminder of how being church is being a family

entrance by a shocked Ginny!

As you can see, it really was a surprise to Ginny, who was stunned when she walked into a hushed and waiting crowd in the hall!

Green Abbey

There has never been a more important time to care for the planet. Decades of aggressive farming techniques have destroyed ecosystems, endangered species and done great damage to creation.
The Green Abbey initiative at Sclerder Abbey starts with sustainability in mind and provides an opportunity to discover permaculture, in practice and theory, in the prayerful atmosphere of the Abbey.

Everyone is welcome to join in this ecological adventure. As you can see below, prayer is one of the four pillars of this project, but people of all faiths and none are equally welcome. The Green Abbey stands on four pillars

Pillar 1: work in the abbey and its grounds

As we are at the start of this project, there is lots of groundwork that needs to happen
– preparing the land for growing vegetables, developing sustainable techniques, learn ing what crops thrive here – and much more!

There are also ongoing jobs like tending the well-established orchard, cooking meals and helping around the abbey.

Help is also needed with setting up a database to analyse inputs and outputs for the project.

Pillar 2: community life

If you’ve been involved with Chemin Neuf before, this won’t come as a surprise! We want to live out this project as a community, learning from one another and enjoying the fraternal way of life. This includes meals together, opportunities to share and the possibility to meet people from different backgrounds.

Pillar 3: prayer

All are invited to join in with our rhythm of prayer. This involves daily offices, a weekly prayer group and times of guided personal prayer. Our spirituality is rooted in both the Ignatian tradition and Charismatic Renewal, so these feed into our ways of praying. We want to seek God in all that we do, remembering that we are stewards of His creation.

Pillar 4: formation to become better stewards

Whilst you will be living out permaculture in practice, we also want to equip you with some ecological theory (and theology, for those interested). This might involve meeting others who are further on the permaculture journey, watching relevant documentaries and visiting local projects. And it’s not just one-way. We want to learn from you too!

New Diocesan Administrator Elected

Following immediately on the installation of Archbishop Mark in his new ministry in Cardiff, the Chapter of Canons in Plymouth this week elected Canon Paul Cummins as our new Diocesan Administrator while we await the appointment of a new Bishop for our Diocese. We still do not know when that might be.

Canon Paul was ordained in 1988 and is a priest with strong pastoral experience, having served as parish priest in Sidmouth since 2011; he is also our Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, leading the diocesan team responsible for vocations, formation and care of the clergy in our diocese.

Canon Paul asks for our prayers during this transitional period. He informs us that his role is mainly to provide continuity and leadership to ensure that we carry out our mission of the Gospel, rather than to launch any new major programmes or initiatives that might pre-empt or prejudice the priorities of our next Bishop.

We are also asked to pray that the selection of our new Bishop will be guided by the Holy Spirit. 

The full pastoral letter from the Diocesan Administrator can be read here

Synod National Synthesis Released

(Photo: the national synthesis team, from the CBCEW website)

The Synod National Synthesis was released yesterday, on 28June 2022. Prepared by the National Synthesis team for the Bishops Conference, it reflects the Synod Reports from each of the Dioceses across England and Wales. These in turn summarised the contributions of an estimated 30000 submissions from across all the dioceses in England and Wales.

A Wounded Church

The Synthesis acknowledges that the Church  is “significantly wounded in its ability to act according to its own mission, to let its goodness shine out, and to live its life in a way that expresses the beauty of the faith”. It needs healing and conversion, particularly in the way it fails to welcome; the relationships between clergy and laity; the widespread perception of “the church” as something belonging exclusively to the clergy; the absence of any culture of participation and collaboration; the lack of formation of laity and clergy alike in mission-critical issues; and the failure to communicate effectively.

These wounds all hamper the Church in its ability to fulfil its mission.

Truth, Mercy and Welcome

“The vision of a Church that does not firstly judge and exclude but unconditionally embraces”

The synthesis records strong critiques of the way the Church teaches, presents itself, and operates. There is a strong desire shining through, for a Church that performs God’s mercy as well as proclaims His truth – “to live better the tension of truth and mercy, as Jesus did”. This is manifested in key facets of Church behaviour causing widespread unhappiness: 

  • the perceived inconsistency and hypocrisy in the way some Church teachings are enforced (e.g. matrimony, divorce, Holy Orders and the Eucharist)
  • the perceived failure to welcome, and in particular to recognise and integrate various groups or categories of people, especially women, young people, LGBTQ+, the divorced and remarried, the traveller community, people of colour or with additional needs, and traditionalists

Towards a synodal church

“If there is a single, overriding melody in the synod symphony, it is in the desire for a more fraternal and sororal Church in which God’s overflowing, universal love can be more palpably felt and lived”

The Synthesis affirms that our mission is deeply bound up with our communion in Jesus Christ, and that this communion gives the church “the face of synodality.”

Although the process has been stumbling, uneven and very limited so far, participants have found the experience both novel and transformative. There is a widespread enthusiasm for synodality as “the way of being church”, and a call for church authorities to take the necessary steps now to embed the processes, structures and the cultural changes into dioceses and parishes.

A number of recommendations are set out to move us forward on the path of synodality, including development of parish councils, mechanisms for listening and consultation, communications, small groups to promote personal conversion, formation in discernment and synodal processes.

The Synthesis concludes by declaring that the Spirit has, through the Synod, awakened a new sense of responsibility in the faithful here for the conversion of the Church which we must respond to with confidence without waiting on others to enact this change or that new structure.

The Conference of Bishops are to meet this week to discern, discuss and respond to this Synthesis.

The full National Synthesis can be found here

Season of Creation 2022

September 1st to October 4th

“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the

 whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we

 know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us.” Laudato Si  para 13 

The Season of Creation begins on 1 September, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and ends 4 October, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology.

The symbol chosen for this year is the burning bush, which contrasts the light of the HolySpirit that unites Christians with the wild fires that are exacerbating the climate crisis.

Though 1st September may seem a long way off, please spend a little time in the coming weeks considering how you and your family can play your part in the Season of Creation.

• Advocacy: Raise your voice for climate justice by joining CAFOD’s Fix the Food System campaign.

• Prayer: Host an ecumenical prayer service that unites all Christians to care for our common home or

  • Sustainability: Organise an event reaching a wider public to help people to reflect on the current situation and what we can all do to make a difference. 

Caritas Plymouth may be able to help with funding for refreshments and speakers (email caritas@prcdtr.org.uk).

You can find out more on the Diocesan website at  http://www.plymouth-diocese.org.uk/the-diocese/how-we- work/environment/season-of-creation/.   More resources will be added in the coming weeks.