On the afternoon of the third day of the plenary the SACBC had elections for the troika, the president and the two vice-presidents. The outcome of the elections were the same as the one in the previous elections meaning Bishop Sithembele Sipuka remains the President of the SACBC with Archbishop Dabula Mpako and Bishop Graham Rose retaining the first and second vice-presidents respectively. The president and his deputies will be in office for three years.
In the morning sessions of this third day the bishops engaged again in a different form on the subject of the synod. They broke into groups according to their metropolitans and discussed the questionnaire on Synodality and how far they have come with the process with the aim of sharing with other groups later. This was taking into account the fact that the goal of this synodal process is to ensure the participation of the greatest number possible. Among other things the discussion was on whether the bishops have appointed contact persons or teams in their dioceses and the criteria they used to make those appointments.
The bishops also gave a brief reflection on the launch of the Synod in their dioceses, how it went and how it was managed. There was also a question about the prayer for the synod on whether it has been already translated into vernacular languages and how it is being used so far. The sharing was also on how things have progressed since the launch. As far as the key words of the Synodal process, communion, participation, mission they shared on who and how people are participating and how well their teams are doing. What were the challenges and successes, and how the synod has been received.
They shared also on the new lessons, new things they have learned so far and also shared some advices. One of the advices that came out strongly was that there has to be a synergy between the conference pastoral plan and the Synod. Since phase one of the synod closes on the 15th August 2022 the bishops shared their plans in the dioceses on how they will collate the findings. In the end the results of the reflections and sharing showed that there are many things they are doing in common but also many things that are different since each diocese is unique, hence an opportunity to learn from each other.
What followed she sharing was a session on “Ecumenism sharing on synodality”. Present for that were from the Lutheran Church Bp Horst Muller, and Rev Zwai Mtihobile and Minister Duncan Graham of the Presbyterian Church who shared on how their confessions live or not, this element of Synodality. They did share about how they define certain concepts of the content of faith, and the successes, challenges and failures they face in their Christian confessions.
The sessions open for all ended with a presentation from the SACBC Director of the Pontifical Mission Society, Fr. Jerry Browne with the bishops later ending the sessions with a gathering called the collegial.