The September issue of the NW NJPN E Bulletin leads with the current crisis in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of peace-keeping troops by the US. As the UK prepares to welcome refugees escaping persecution, Mayor Sadiq Khan condemns the immorality of hosting an Arms Fair in the London Docklands this September. Also featured this month are two important and contrasting synods: first the Root & Branch synod taking place in Bristol and by zoom from 5-12 September with discussions on ways to foster greater inclusivity for lay people, especially women, in the Catholic Church; the second the three-stage synod commissioned by Pope Francis which will culminate in October 2023. Sadly, this synod is structured in a way that gives power solely to local bishops to feedback comments and suggestions as they choose. For meaningful change to occur it’s vital for parishioners to seize the opportunity to dialogue with our bishops to make sure the views of the laity are heard and passed on. Women make up at least half of our congregations and yet the lectionary remains largely male-centric. A new lectionary compiled by a US Hebrew scholar seeks to address that imbalance, giving more focus to the role of women and girls to ‘centre’ on their stories and revealing that in the Hebrew Bible, the word for ‘Spirit of God’ (ruah) is grammatically feminine.
Included in this mailing is MouthPeace, the quarterly news bulletin for the dioceses of Shrewsbury and Liverpool. This excellent resource will shortly cover Lancaster diocese too. Many of the articles stretch beyond North West boundaries. Do sign up if you don’t already receive a copy.