What’s Your Dream for our Parish?
Pope Francis, time and again in recent years, has implored us to be a Synodal Church, a Church which listens, where listening is more than simply hearing. Friends, by now, most people in the parish will be aware that we are entering into a Future Planning Process assisted by the Evangelisation Brisbane (EB) Parish Leadership Team. This process is designed to give us a roadmap for the next five years as we seek to be deliberate about not only our own journey as intentional disciples, but also in the ways we seek to reach out and make disciples (Mt 28:19).
While a number of other parishes around the Archdiocese have already completed this process, ours is the biggest parish with which EB has worked. Our Hinterland and Coastal parish is diverse, taking in eight difference worshiping communities, but rather than this presenting us with challenges, it offers opportunities as we seek to discover and dream way in when we can create unity amongst people living in difference contexts (cf. Jn 17:21).
Perhaps the most important participatory aspect of the Future Panning Process is our opportunity to come together at Unity College Auditorium on Saturday 5 November for the Parish Summit Day to dream about what our parish could look like in the future. I wonder, do you have a dream for our parish?
I dream of a parish in which all people know that they are welcomed and loved – no matter their faith or worship habits. I dream of a parish filled with parishioners who love Jesus and each other so much that their love overflows to those who feel unloved or separated from our community and God (cf. Jn 13:35). I dream of a parish in which people are welcomed, embraced and accompanied into personal relationships with Jesus Christ; in which every worshiping member of the community has a sense of and embraces their baptismal identity as a follower of and makes followers of Christ (cf. Mt 28:19). I dream of a parish in which, due to their sense of belonging and buy-in, 70% of parishioners serve in a ministry. Above all, I dream that we may be a parish where every parishioner becomes Christ for others.
Recently, my Strategy and Leadership Team, along with members of the Evangelisation and Pastoral Council and I, sat down to brainstorm all the different ministries in the parish. We wrote each ministry on a post-it note and then categorised all the ministries under headings. The purpose of this process was to identify the main ministry areas under which all current and future ministries operate in the parish. Together, we identified the six main areas below:
Children & Families
Youth & Young Adults
Faith & Formation
Service & Outreach
Under these ministry headings, we’ll be invited to discern what outcomes and goals we might adopt as a parish – as well as the strategy we’ll employ to achieve said outcome. For example, an outcome under the heading of Children & Families might include, Increase the opportunities for families with young children to be engaged in the parish. A strategy to achieve this outcome may be, Start a young parent’s support group out of parish facilities.
To conclude, over the next seven weeks at weekend masses, we’ll be viewing videos which cover these ministry areas – the seventh being Evangelisation, which underpins everything we do. We’ll each then have an opportunity to register our interest in one of more of these ministry areas – it may even be an area you are currently involved in or even a new area. I look forward to taking this journey alongside you as together we seek to discern God’s will in our lives.
Peace and blessings
Fr Josh Whitehead