Nazareth Catholic Parish

Grovedale, Torquay and Anglesea

Creating a Synodal Church - speaking with and listening to each other

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Small Group 21

Small group - Friday Nov 16, 2018

• To be considerate of others
• to be respectful of other people’s cultural and religious beliefs
• to lead by example through actions and words

• To be concerned the refugees and welcome them into the community
• to heal the brokenness and wounds of the marginalised groups
• to show acceptance towards those who have turned away from the church
• to be more inclusive of children and young people

• To be welcoming and inclusive, following the example of his son
• to challenge poor behaviour which is damaging for people or the planet, to speak out
• to be examples of how to live in harmony, and with compassion for all
• to reach out to those in need

• To be welcoming
• to balance the traditions of the church against the reality of 21st-century living
• understanding and developing the youth of today
• developing different models of church leadership, sharing the role of the priest this

• To be inclusive of everyone
• to change, reform, transform
• to open ourselves to a deeper understanding of shared leadership - role of women / youth
• to engage all to deepen their understanding of their baptismal vocation and to live it more fully
• to use relevant language!

Attempting to group the above into about half a dozen categories, we came up with the following:
to be - welcoming in all aspects
transformed and changed
inclusive of all
communicative in relevant/every day language
outward reaching, in particular aspects of social justice

The topic we chose to explore further was that of ‘welcome’. People shared their experiences of times when they experienced, or didn’t experience, welcome within our church.
- The sign of peace given to newcomers during mass, but no-one stops to speak to them afterwards
- The parishioner who says ‘Hello. Are you new?’ to receive the answer ‘No, I’ve been here in the parish seven years’
- The parents with young children at mass – how do other parishioners make them feel welcome when they are fearful the littlies will be too noisy etc?
- As a newcomer to our parish, people are welcomed at the welcome table, but not followed up – eg no suggestion that a newcomer would welcome the opportunity to ‘sign up’ as a registered parishioner
- As a newcomer to our schools, families are welcomed and invited to morning coffee and friendship grows
- Poor communication often hampers a welcoming attitude – school family did not stay for mass when parishioner insisted on their rostered duty of lector, rather than stepping back and welcoming the other.
- The parents who struggle to get youth to mass, but that mass is celebrated as though everyone there is the same – what can change in our worship to be more inviting and welcoming to younger people?
- Welcome experienced by the non-catholic partner – the whole atmosphere of the Catholic school offers a warm welcome.


Welcoming is not simply us, welcoming everyone else, doing our utmost to invite others into relationship with us. Welcoming cannot stop at the invitation. That is only one aspect of a welcoming attitude. True welcoming is ongoing and constant, needing to be fostered with relentless outreach to the other.
Welcoming has a second aspect – those being welcomed need to want to be welcomed. They need to see something that attracts them into wanting a sense of belonging and relationship with us.
As a church we are being called to have a good look at ourselves, to see ourselves as others see us, to see ourselves as the world sees us, and to re-assess what might need to change or be transformed in order that we, as the Australian church, might be as at welcoming as Jesus himself was.