Vision for Our Future
Friends, one of the undeniable facets of a well-run, healthy organisations is the existence of a vision that is clearly and consistently articulate by the leader. This is something I have been slowly coming to terms with over the past ten months – particularly as I continue to grow into the rather large shoes of Fr Peter.
I remember the first experience of realising God was inviting me to share a vision for the future: do you remember The Funnel? It seems like a crude analogy now, but it remains utterly true. Catholic Parishes can often appear (to those who don’t come to Sunday Mass), like an upside down funnel, wherein the only way to be a part of the faith community is by entering through the narrow end by coming to Mass. This, of course, is the church most of us – myself included – grew up with in the 20th century. This model of church worked just fine in the 20th century because faith was inherited through our families and the culture of Christendom. While this culture began to change from the 1960’s onward, it is only just becoming clear to us that today, faith is chosen by those who experience it in powerful, personal ways.
Our newly printed Strategic Plan, articulates an exciting vision for our future that opens up a space for people to choose faith precisely because of the transformation that we, ourselves, have experienced. As you read it, I invite you to notice what the vision invokes in you?
What feelings or emotions do you notice? Most importantly, do you see yourself as having an active part to play in realising this vision?
I have a vision that our parish is a place where people become saints. It is my dream that in making space for the Holy Spirit to come and move freely in our hearts, those in the wider community would see our parish as a place where people are loved like they’ve never been loved before.
We make visible the face of Jesus because each person’s relationship with Christ creates an overflow of love that is caught and experienced by others. Ours is a place where locals and travellers meet, where all feel welcome and where those of different cultures and ages experience inclusion. “Our parish is known for actively accompanying those who ask, seek and knock – and even those who don’t. This is because we value relationships with all people. When people enter our churches, they experience real support, know that they belong and are celebrated for their gifts. We feel empowered to live life to the full and this finds expression in a burning desire to lay down our lives for others.
We are a Eucharistic community of communities which is attractive and we joyfully work to plant seeds so that all people discover a relationship with Jesus. This is a place where people are known and seen; a place they want to be a part of because our parish captures the uniqueness of the entire Sunshine Coast. We do all this because we are a part of a loving and universal Catholic Church. We know that we are connected to our brothers and sisters from across the globe and are united as participants in the communion of saints that spans across the ages.
I hope that the emotive language of this vision causes a desire in you to be a part of its realisation for today, tomorrow and our future. It’s my desire to help you find a place within this vision so that together, we are a vibrant community that actively accompanies people to encounter Jesus.
Peace and blessings,