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Ecumenical Understandings of Synodality

Deputy Chancellor Professor Gabrielle McMullen AM has recently been involved in ecumenical dialogue in keeping with the University of Divinity vision of “critical engagement with Christian theological traditions”.

The initiatives have arisen in the context of the Catholic Church’s two-year journey towards its international 2023 Synod on Synodality.  In particular, Pope Francis called for dialogue with other Churches in the preparations for the Synod as we are united one baptism.

Professor McMullen, as a member the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference national committee supporting Synod initiatives in Australia, approached the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) to seek potential opportunities for dialogue on synodality.  She said: “We spoke to the NCCA in the spirit of receptive ecumenism and conscious that other Christian Churches have substantial experiences of synodality. The Council warmly welcomed the request for dialogue on synodality and there have been fruitful outcomes”.

Three key initiatives to date have been Catholic observers attending the Anglican Synod and the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly, both held in May 2022, and a virtual roundtable of Church leaders on 8 June with a focus on articulating the particular ‘gift’ that synodality represents for each tradition. Noting that synodality and ecumenism are both processes of ‘walking together’, Professor McMullen said: “Listening to one another and dialogue in relation to understandings of synodality have the potential to enrich our journeying together”.

Further information and resources for the Synodal journey are available at:

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