Thoughts from Fr. Rich

Posted on May 31, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Thoughts From Fr. Rich
This is the third in a series of articles about
where I see Holy Spirit Parish.
Levels of Collaboration


Loughlan Sofield and Carroll Juliano in their book Collaboration identify four levels of collaboration:


           2) communication,

           3) cooperation, and

           4) collaboration. 

When I came to St. Blaise in 1996, the parish was beginning a three year process entitled the “Parish Evaluation Process.” The idea was to look at the parish and determine its future direction. One of the insights was that while the parish had much going for itself there was little awareness of who was doing what. At times this lead to conflicts especially in the usage of parish facilities. One of the outcomes of this process was and remains the Leadership Community Night. For most of the year once a month the five parish commissions and heads of parish groups come together to pray, hear a presentation from the pastor, have time for each commission to meet and finally hear reports from each group.  This has lead to a greater awareness of what is happening in the entire community.

Over the years we have also seen a greater sense of cooperation. During the process of merging the parishes, a series of workshops were held resulting in the parish mission statement as well as the traits of the future Holy Spirit Parish. Five years later as we addressed the question “Wouldn’t It Be Wonderful And Great If Holy Spirit Parish Could?”, representatives of the five commissions sorted through over 1200 parishioner responses sorting them into categories. Parishioners were then asked to prioritize the categories.  One of the major ministries that flowed out of this process is Older Adult Ministry (OAM). When we were looking at the current five year parish plan again at Leadership Community Night, parish leadership addressed the issue of what parishioners could expect from the parish and what the parish could expect from parishioners. This is in five areas: worship, fellowship, stewardship, service and evangelization. For the last three years at Pentecost, parishioners are asked to make a commitment in a least one of the five areas. Most recently parishes throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis, were asked to undertake a “Parish Viability Study.” The Pastoral Team and a Core Group separately rated 120 statements. The results were presented at Leadership Community Nights as well as at two parish wide meetings. The Pastoral Team and Core Group identified the assets (strengthens) and deficits (challenges) of the parish and set priorities for the future of the parish. This study will be an important resource for the new pastor.

Holy Spirit’s Pastoral Team is an excellent example of Sofield’s and Juliano’s last level—collaboration. Over the years this group has developed into a team recognizing that while each has individual responsibilities, there is an interdependence among all and their responsibilities. They acknowledge the giftedness of each member and how these combined gifts contribute to the well-being of Holy Spirit Parish.

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