A Call for White Papers - The Peoples Synod



Come to Baltimore and participate in a PEOPLES SYNOD September 27-29, 2019!  Bring your stories of the Spirit at work in your communities.  Listen to the stories of others.  Develop a sense of mission and practice a way of sharing that empowers you to go back home and engage your communities to be church in a new way, as envisioned and preached by Christ as the reign of God.  


In Dallas see how Christ’s “new covenant” – that loving one another is the source and measure of “all the law and the prophets” – provides a path toward the unity for which Jesus prayed.  Unity comes naturally if loving one another is itself more important than the particulars of a tradition.  This priority is a pillar of the “new covenant”.   

 If the discipline of each community assures that its laws and rituals are rooted in – and ultimately the servant of -- love for one another, then different communities are joined together not simply by the common principle of loving one another but because that principle is the master and not the servant of each community’s traditional norms and practices.   

Each community can respect the traditions of another community, because it will know that traditional norms and practices are held accountable to love and justice.  Each community can have its own process for making sure that, in those situations where it makes a difference, love and justice prevail over the “objective criteria” that drive traditional norms and practices. 

How to Submit Papers

The American Catholic Council hereby issues a call for papers that can be used by participants in the Peoples Synod to inspire and challenge them as they listen to one another and seek guidance in considering how to further the “new covenant” from the grass roots.  The call for papers is in two parts.  First, submit an informal summary of a proposed paper, perhaps 500 or 1000 words, by May 15, 2019.  These summaries will serve as “white papers” to be reviewed by participants in preparation for the Peoples Synod in September 2019.  Second, papers based on these summaries should be submitted by May 2020 for review, presentation and publication in a symposium in October 2020 reflecting upon the Peoples Synod.  Those submitting papers will be expected to peer review two other papers submitted to the symposium.  The symposium will publish a Proceedings of the Peoples Synod , including both the papers and the summaries, revised and edited as appropriate. 

It is anticipated that the “white papers” in response to this call will prompt reflection on the perennial struggle between continuity and change in the traditions that people associate with religion.  The summaries and follow-on papers for the symposium may deal with any subject that will engage the participants, including but not limited to the following: 

  • Studies or accounts of current experience in parishes or small communities regarding the tension between love and law
  • Historical accounts of experience of local church communities regarding the tension between love and law
  • Theological understandings of experience regarding the tension between love and law
  • Sociological or political aspects of formulation and implementation of proposed resolutions of the tension between love and law

For further background see the following papers linked below: 


Background Reflections for Consideration by Those Responding to this Call for Papers    

Living well with the tension between love and law 


Send the summaries by May 15, 2019 to registration@thepeoplessynod.org