ALL is set to deliver the first fully online Plenary Council meeting in October.
With New South Wales recording more than 400 COVID-19 cases per day and Victoria recording double-digit cases, plenary council organizers ensured council can move forward even in lockdown conditions .
Council plenary vice-chair Bishop Shane Mackinlay, the council’s trip had adapted to the changing circumstances due to COVID-19 – and it is adjusting again.
“With most of the country’s population currently stranded or having suffered blockages in recent weeks, we have plans in place to ensure the opening of the first assembly on October 3,” he said.
“Just as there was a disappointment in having to postpone the assembly first and then move to regional centers, the likelihood that most members will now join the assembly from their homes is not what we expected. and hoped.
“We know, however, that the Holy Spirit can and will work through this assembly, just as the Spirit has led us over the past three and a half years. “
Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said a tremendous amount of work has been done to prepare for the Council which will be held in hubs, with each member participating on their own device.
“As a result, this shift to most of the people attending at home is a pivot rather than a major detour from what we anticipated,” she said.
“We receive exceptional support from technical experts within and beyond the Church to ensure that we can make the virtual assembly one that enables the prayer, conversation, listening and discernment that we have. always hoped for. “
The teams working on the liturgy, communications and the assembly program are also modifying existing plans for the new format.
Bishop Mackinlay said the approximately 280 board members have met online in four groups in recent weeks to continue their education, including from a technological standpoint.
“While there has been greater exposure to video conferencing over the past 18 months, the Microsoft Teams environment was new to some,” he said.
“What we encountered over the two days that each group met was a stable platform and on which we can participate in a meaningful dialogue with each other.
“We were able to experience the practice of spiritual conversations that will be used in the assemblies and there have been moments of prayerful encounter, even though through a screen.
It was expected that in some areas unaffected by the blockades, members would meet in small numbers for prayer, fellowship and socialization, as the experience of the provincial centers would have provided.
Plans for the public live broadcast of parts of each day remain in place, and some liturgies will also be celebrated online.
“This is a Council for the Church in Australia, and we look forward to a wide range of people following the assembly, hearing how the conversations are going and praying with the members,” said Ms. Turvey. -Collins.