From reviving parish councils to instituting a parking-lot ministry, many parishes are exploring innovative ways to “rebuild church,” following the Parish Vitality Conference.
Many English-language parishes are translating the energy, know-how and enthusiasm generated by the Parish Vitality Conference into concrete projects and new initiatives.
From reviving parish councils to instituting a parking-lot ministry, parishes are exploring innovative ways to "rebuild church," the theme of the keynote address at the Nov. 13-15 conference; more than 300 attended workshops.
St. Monica Parish, for example, has recently taken significant steps to reach more people through the Internet and to introduce parishioners to the little-known biblical concept of stewardship.
Seven parish council members and one other parishioner attended the November conference and, after holding several meetings, decided on a two-prong course of action.
An eight-person communications committee was formed to increase the parish's digital presence. The website was updated and a Facebook page has been created; it has 144 followers and counting.
The parish also set up a Youtube account, which houses 16 short clips from their four-session winter workshop on the Spirituality of the Sacraments, given by Pastor Brent Walker. Individual clips are also posted on the Facebook page.
Plans are in the works to create another social media link, a Google+ page, says Simon Abou-Fadel, secretary of the parish council. With the help of Donna Varrica, communications co-ordinator at Dawson College, the committee is now exploring ways "to engage the parish youth group on the Facebook and Youtube pages," Abou-Fadel says.
A stewardship committee, including members of the wardens, pastoral council and parishioners-at-large, is being formed, reports Fr. Raymond Lafontaine. The pastor says the committee's first plan of action will be a three-week stewardship campaign leading up to Thanksgiving weekend.
The campaign will focus on the spirituality of stewardship, on generosity in sharing one's time and talents, and on prayerfully considering and committing to financial support of the parish according to the "4 P" model: planned, priority, percentage, progressive.
At this time, an automated donation system, already available to interested parishioners through CanadaHelps.org, will be promoted and hopefully expanded to include a larger number of parishioners.
"We are grateful for the opportunities the Parish Vitality Conference offered us," Abou-Fadel wrote in replying to the letter from Bishop Thomas Dowd, in which the bishop invited parishes to use the PVC webpage to share their plans and initiatives resulting from the conference.
Learn what other parishes are doing or view one of 13 workshops offered at the conference here.