NEW MESSAGE SERIES &
NEW STRATEGIC PASTORAL PLAN
Last weekend I began a new message series called “THE GAME PLAN”. This is a four homily series that shares the new strategic pastoral plan for our family of parishes. As we enter into a post-pandemic world, we realize that many things are no longer the same and the challenges that were evident prior to this global crisis have grown increasingly difficult.
Despite the struggles of low church attendance, an aging faith community, decreased finances, and fewer volunteers—we see an opportunity for conversion, transformation, change and renewal. It is definitely a time for us to pivot and adapt which always offers blessings, grace and hope.
In order for us to move forward, grow and thrive as a family of parishes—we need a new plan that is clear and focused on a long term vision that we are all able to embrace. Together, as one community, we want to become what God wants us to be in our world today. This always will mean change.
A TIME OF REFLECTION & PLANNING
It has been over a year since Fr. Dariusz, Fr. Robert and I arrived in Chatham. During the past year we have learned a lot about the history and people of our five churches that comprise our family of parishes. Despite the pandemic we have been able to connect with a number of parishioners and have had meaningful conversations with the staff, Pastoral Council and Finance Committee.
I am truly thankful to the Pastoral Council, Finance Committee and the family staff for their openness, honesty and hard work as over the last year we have explored and discussed how we should move forward not just to survive but to thrive as a faith community. We have done this by examining past pastoral plans, the histories of each parish community, reviewing the finances over the last dozen years and explored the challenges, gaps and opportunities of ministry moving forward. There is a lot to be thankful for and a lot of opportunities before us. This will also mean a lot of work for all of us not only to recover from the pandemic, but to thrive we must become more and more relevant beyond the boundaries of our present members—we need to reach out into the broader Chatham community.
TWO MAJOR PILLARS OF OUR SHIFT
With the support of our Pastoral Council, Finance Committee and staff, we are moving forward with a new pastoral plan that will grow and adapt over time rooted in two major fundamental pillars—which are based on the mission of Christ given to the Church and to all of us. This transition will take the next six to seven years and I think over this time will help us grow and become the disciples needed in our world today.
(1) FORMING DISCIPLES
All of us are called to be followers of Jesus. Being a member of the family of parishes helps us fulfill that role. We are not members of a country club or charitable organization. We are members of the Body of Christ commissioned and anointed to bring the Good News of the Gospel into our streets and world. This is not an easy task. We need courage, strength, grace and others to fulfill this mission given to us. Our family of parishes is a “school of faith” for all of us to be inspired, healed, strengthened, equipped and offered opportunities to be a sign of hope. We encounter Christ in our faith community to then be Christ for others. Our new pastoral plan will offer six qualities or characteristics that will help us grow as servants of the Master (This will be outlined in homilies 2 to 4 of this series and in bulletin articles) and how all of our ministries, programs and outreach will adapt and grow (This will be outlined in a later message series this fall).
(2) REACHING OUT TO ALL
As faithful disciples, we are sent out on mission to help all those who are in need. Our faith is not limited to our Sunday worship but beckons us to share who we are and what we have with those around us who are lost, forgotten and alone. All of us have different gifts and abilities given to us by God not for ourselves but to help build the kingdom. Ultimately, our faith calls us beyond our own wants and needs to serve others and bring them to the love of the Lord.
CLARITY OF VISION
These two fundamental pillars of our journey forward are not really new but we do need to refocus and clarify how we fulfill the mission of becoming disciples who reach out to all. Over this message series and over the next number of years we will seek to clarify exactly how we can do this together through our ministries, programs and outreach. We need to fine-tune and discern how our family of parishes can create and facilitate opportunities for all of us to become more courageous signs of Jesus that make an increasing impact in Chatham, society and the world. I am truly excited and hopeful for the journey we embark on together today!!