Parish Renovation – An Update

The first round of Parish Renovation meetings has taken place and it has been an amazing journey so far! There have been familiar faces and many new ones who have come together with a desire to renovate the parish. I would like to thank everyone who has given up their time to attend the meetings and contribute. I thought it would be helpful to write a summary of what happened in 2022 and what will happen in 2023.

Following the Synod process and the pre-pandemic clergy discussions around Divine Renovation, the Parish team and the Synod team met several times between January and June 2022 to discuss the content of the Synod report, analyse previous discussions and identify areas for renovation. At the core of every discussion sat the parish mission statement.

Through these meetings, Fr Steve’s vision for our Parish was codified into a series of aims and objectives for parish renovation which are:

To create a Parish that is vibrant, alive and forms a central part of the lives of parishioners in the 21st century.

To maintain a synodal way of being a Parish.

To create a Parish that has sustainable processes for the future based on the concept ‘process not person’.

To create a Parish that is legally and ethically compliant with national and ecclesiastical requirements with regards to a variety of areas including but not exclusively Health and Safety, Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and Finance.

To remove work from the Parish Clergy team that can be carried out by volunteer staff who possess the appropriate skills and expertise for the role that they have been recruited to perform.

To remove work from the Parish Office team that can be carried out by volunteer staff who possess the appropriate skills and expertise for the role that they have been recruited to perform.

From these aims and objectives, further discussions took place about possible routes forward. In order to organise the work, six areas were identified as focal points. These are:

– Liturgy and Spirituality

– Catechesis and Formation

– Welcome, Social events and Fundraising

– HR, Premises and Finance

– Pastoral Care, Welfare and Safeguarding

– Marketing and Communication

It is important that we all feel part of this process, so in September and October Fr Steve held a series of face to face and online meetings to which everyone was invited. At these meetings, Fr Steve presented the Parish vision and answered questions from the floor. Each meeting bubbled with excitement and energy about what we might be able to achieve over the next few years. The meetings generated a huge number of ideas along with fruitful discussion and at each event we had between 50-70 people. We also received several detailed emails from parishioners who could not attend but who had thoughts and ideas to share. Thanks to Tammy for making some delicious cupcakes which helped to fortify us all!

Parishioners were invited to discern which area they wanted to get involved in. Areas chosen might be because they were already involved in it or, because it was something that they were interested in and wanted to learn more about.

In November, the first round of group meetings was held. These meetings helped to create a current assessment of where the Parish is, post-pandemic, in each of these six areas. Rather like a ‘needs-analysis’, we have tried to ascertain what needs to be done.

I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has attended meetings, made tea and coffee and set up and cleared away tables and chairs. The combined effort and support from the parish has produced some fantastic results.

So, what next? The notes are being organised into a development plan and the aim is to work through this steadily to achieve the parish vision and aims. Further meetings will be scheduled for February to April to define the workflow and start things moving. Please keep an eye out for updates in the newsletter and speaker slots at Mass over the coming months.

Emma Carlile

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