Global Council Network 2d Global Forum of the People of God

Aparecida 2018


Towards a Church- Inspired by the Gospel-for the world

Por uma Igreja inspirada no Evangelho - para o mundo

Rumbo a una Iglesia inspirada en el Evangelio-para el mundo

Vers une Eglise-inspirée par l’Evangile-pour le monde

Verso una Chiesa ispirata dal Vangelo per il mondo


 Letter of information N° 4 -   September 2017


Dear All,


Our last letter of information (N° 3) was issued in March 2017,

Our first intent was to issue this letter after the meeting of the Brazilian preparation team originally scheduled in Aparecida on September 9th. Since that meeting has been postponed until September 30th, an additional letter will be set up taking into account the report of that meeting.


The main topics developed in this letter are the following:

-          Preparation of Aparecida Forum, meeting of June 25th, 2017

 -          Other events (Year of Laity in Brazil, Synod of the Youth, …)

 -          Contacts with other organizations

 -          Proceedings of the 1st Forum of the People of God (Council 50)

 -          Communication

 -          Finances and Fund raising


Aparecida 2018 (2nd Forum of the People of God)


On June 25th, we held two meetings at the same time, one in Sao Paulo and one in Paris with liaison through teleconference. J.P. Schmitz attended the meeting in Sao Paulo organized by the GCN Brazilian team.  In Paris, François Becker led the meeting with participants from various European countries and one from Africa (Cameroun).


Main topics discussed:


-          General theme and title of the 2nd Forum


Inspired by the Gospel, hailed the experiences and reflections of fathers and masters, inspired by the Vatican II Conference and Medellin, build with faith a Synodal and universal Church, open to diversity and culture to build a world of peace, solidarity, liberation, social and economic justice by giving hope to humanity.


Proposed titles:

 “Gospel, social and economic justice, democracy and globalization,

 The People of God challenged.”

 "Sharing the decision-making in the Church which goes forth"

  -            Participants

Taking into account the meeting venue and accommodation facilities, the participants would mostly be delegates from their organization. Anticipated numbers are:

100 from Brazil

50 from other Latin America countries

10 from North America

10 from Africa

10 from Asia

10 from Europe

10 from Oceania


-          Forum time table

The Forum will start on Thursday November 15, 2018 at 2PM  and close on Sunday Nov 18 after lunch.

Tentative time table has been established: plenary sessions, lectures, round tables, workshops, social events, prayers and celebrations, …


-        Aparecida facilities

On June 26, we went Aparecida (2 hours drive from Sao Paulo) to visit the meeting venue and accommodation facilities and review the logistics questions.

Meeting building comprises one auditorium for 200 maxi and 8 small conference rooms for workshops (20 to 40 persons each). On the same premises is the hotel with self restaurant and the chapel.

We are still expecting formal confirmation of the reservations.


-            Kind of document to end withStill to be decided update of the Council 50 declaration, other document, letter to Pope Francis, ….


Other events

-            Year of Laity


The Brazilian bishops have announced a celebration of the Year of the Laity beginning on the feast of Christ the King, Nov. 26, 2017 and ending on the same feast in November, 2018. Its purpose is to increase awareness of the laity's mission and encourage involvement of lay people in the church and in society. The theme chosen for this Year of the Laity is “Christian Lay Men and Lay Women, Agents of the ‘Church Going Out to the Streets’ in Service of the Kingdom”. The bishops hope to encourage the presence and the action of Christians, 'true ecclesial agents, as ‘salt, light and leavening’ in the Church and in Society.


The interpretation of that event must be clarified since it appears that positions on the way to envisage the role of laity can be extremely diversified, even in opposition.  Even though there are limitations and reservations on the part of the ordained ministers, this should be an opportunity to move forward. GCN Brazil, who is in liaison with the preparation team of the Year of Laity, will issue a report on it. 


-            Youth Synod

 The way GCN may participate to the preparation of the Youth Synod of 2018 is to be decided


-            Londrina conference

 The Commission on the Laity to promote their conference initiated by the Base Christian Communities of Brazil (CEBs) to be held in Londrina in January 2018.


-          AYA/ATF (Asian Youth Academy/Asian Theology Forum) annual conference occurred in Indonesia last July under leadership from Paul Hwang (Korea). Martha Heizer, vice WAC Intl chair, was invited as delegate of that organization.

Contacts with other organizations


EN-RE (European Network Church on the move) gives full support to GCN. Detailed report on GCN activities was delivered at The EN-RE general meeting held end of last May in Strasbourg.


WAC Intl (We Are Church International) also supports GCN. The following organizations recently applied for membership to WAC Intl :


Nos Somos a Igreja - Sao Paolo

 The Active Youth Group in Sahiwal, Pakistan.

 Paul Hwang (as individual)

 As GCN, we maintain contacts with other organizations in various countries (USA, India, New Zealand, Kenya) through participation to weekly teleconferences arranged by CCRI (Catholic Church Reform Intl)


Council 50 Proceedings

 The Proceedings of the 1st Forum of the People of God (Council 50) have been finalized after a huge work under François Becker’s leadership to collect all documents. This includes the speeches and reports from workshops as well as the final declaration. Both English and French versions are available on the website :

A paper copy has been sent to Pope Francis with cover letter asking for a contact.


We strongly hope to be able to get Spanish and Portuguese versions. Any suggestions on the way to get translations at reasonable cost would be more than welcome.



The following communication means are implemented:

Information letters N° 1, 2, 3 already published and available on the website

The Council 50  Global Council Network:

Webmaster: Valerie Stroud

Page facebook:

The GCN Google  group

Dedicated website for Aparecida


Finances and fund raising

At present stage, we cannot give a precise cost estimate for the Aparecida forum, including the preparation activities. Together with the Brazilian team, we are working on that issue which will be critical for the success of the event.

The main expenses are the following:

-   Administrative and logistic costs

-   Costs related to invited speakers and others

-   Financial support to participants coming from remote places who could not afford travel and accommodation expenses


Fund raising actions have already been initiated, mainly in France. Up to now, the financial contributions represent only a small part of what will be needed.

We need to have more details on expected costs prior to restarting and broadening our fund-raising campaign. Everyone should be aware of that situation and try to help our fundraising efforts.

Bank transfers can be made to the GCN bank account (continuation of the Council 50 account):

Account’s Owner : Reseau Européen Eglise et Liberté (EN-RE) Concile 50

Bank : CCM Seine Ouest  (France)

IBAN : FR76 1027 8060 7500 0210 5210 423


A GCN account will be created in Brazil for local activities


Best regards


Jean-Pierre Schmitz

GCN Coordinator


For the November 2018 gathering of grassroots Catholics in Aparecida Brazil the Brazilian independent small communities BCC's have plans which are inspiring. They have asked other countries to make similar plans for the coming year.
Room for dialogue will promote on any national platform as well on an international one a plan to

1.   Produce posters for he arrival of the Kingdom of Justice

2.   Send a letter to pope Francis with the same announcement

3.    Encourage representatives of 30 small communities to vote on the wish list of Hans Küng

4.    Distribute the Indian youth questionnaire to grannies with the request to hand them to their dearest cousin and ask to fill out at least a few of the questions

5.    Create regional tables for dialogue on matrimonial cooperation or on conscious responsibility.

6.   To open part of the Marienburg General Assembly in April for the public to discuss Laudate Si and what we can do to protect our habitat

7.    Midsummer a conference about the non hierarchical diaconate

8.    A meeting of Marienburg members with the group <Churches and Poverty> about religion and money

9.    Send a delegation to Aparecida  with some feasible proposals

10. Get the media involved  


JUNE 24 2017


In Paris a  workforce discussed the plan for the gathering of grassroots Catholics from many countries November 2018 in Aparecida Brazil. This plan is an initiative of Global Council Network GCN, the organizer of a similar event November 2015 in Rome.


Plans were launched for lectures, dialogues and a final statement as in Rome. New would be the attempt to create a permanent body of service. The idea to establish a  shadow department for the laity was meant to deliver service which one would like to get from original Vatican department for the laity, inspiring the real power-holders like a shadow cabinet in Great Brittan does. The proposal has got a lot of comment.



Global Council Network GCN with many reform-minded Catholics aims  at formulating evangelical guidelines for small independent Catholic base communities.

At many places in the world are individuals and groups participating in teleconferences and developing dialogues on issues on the agenda in Aparecida. They send reporters to Aparecida.

Apart from this forum of reporters it may be wise to have a team preparing specific issues along some defined lines. This team might establish a Shadow Decastery of Laity with the following sections



 A man and a woman who make it their job to collect questions and answers  for small children about destiny, God, Gospel etc. and compose a a small ecumenical Catechism.



A man and a woman for unordained diaconate who collect ideas  for the growth of solidarity and generosity in small independent communities towards those who need help an equal rights for women and men.



A LGBT man and a woman could try to write a non-provocative strategy  to improve the position of the group in different countries



A man and a woman preacher try to give independent communities  guidelines for interactive sermons



A man and a woman cleaning liturgy from unrealistic prayer and  collecting ideas for attractive participant religious meetings



A man and a woman who design formula’s which reflects how everybody  is responsible for  own life and death



A coordinating job could be given to Marie  Collins from Ireland and a man of her choice. For a start Marie might be asked to participate in the Aparecida project.  She may be given the opportunity to create a section for the protection of children within small communities according her own ideas. Until 2031 she should incorporate a shadow decastery of lay people, available with her team for questions of small independent communities. EHS


On the idea of a <shadow department of laity> followed worthwhile comment and constructive suggestions from Jo, Sigrid, Francois, Clyde, Astrid and others.


A shadow is unreal and too vague.
The word <Laity>refers to an unwanted division within the people of God
Free communities do not want to be members of a bond.
The word <union> refers unwillingly to an unwanted authority of a board.
Official advisors strengthen a board or superior team
Associations have members and a board.
Majority rule silences differences and the working of the spirit.
The inverted hierarchy is still a hierarchy
Subcommittees are sub something. This means dependence from a superior.

Positive suggestions


*  A circle of grassroots. In a circle nobody is dominant.
*  In the middle of the circle a service center should be available and active for those with need help.
*  In the center should be different chambers
    a. One for education
    b  One for gender related issues
    c.  One for liturgy
    d.  One for generosity and help of the needed
    e.   One for conscience and individual responsibility
     f.   One for interactive sermons


In each chamber will be need for a definition of its mission like a strategy for LGBT, on generosity local needs and on conscience guidelines for voluntary starvation, unwanted pregnancy and family planning