Becoming Christian Together Seminar
Last year Bishop Michael McKenna wrote his first pastoral letter to the People of God in the Diocese of Bathurst. It is entitled Becoming Christian Together (BCT). This letter sets out Bishop McKenna's priorities for the diocese in the years ahead. To fully understand and implement this document the parish of St Mary's hosted a seminar for all parishioners, but particularly those involved in the various liturgical and pastoral ministries at St Mary's, designed to allow discussion and generate ideas for our parish. The evening was held in the parish centre and was followed by supper. The results of the discussion are summarised below under four headings.
What does our parish do really well?
1. Acknowledge and welcome visitors and new parish members.
2. Generous collections.
3. Friendship offered to new people.
4. Social work/pastoral care
6. Encourage children, especially through children’s liturgy.
7. Good contact and response with public schools through sacramental programs
8. Supportive to the bereaved and sick.
9. Parish is involved with the wider community.
10. Christmas day dinner, parish dinner
11. Adaptive to new ideas
12. Share jobs (now left to the same people all the time)
13. Specialized groups exist to assist/address parish needs
14. Well informed link between school and parish
What does our parish need to do less of?
15. Talk and no action
16. Missing the ‘childless married’
17. Criticism of those who do things
18. Less talking by congregation before mass
19. Better ways to get people to move to communion
What does our parish need to do more of right now?
20. Allow/encourage young people back into the Church
21. Expand the involvement of all people in the music – cantors for the new mass setting for example
22. Young people be allowed to have a mass once a month
23. Louder singing
24. More publicity about what we do outside our community
25. Better organization of home visits, family groups
26. Round up of all commentators and readers
27. Answer more precisely at mass
28. Bible study groups
29. Make everyone welcome
30. Youth forum to hear young people
What does our parish need to do more of into the future?
31. A way to lessen the ‘parish’ responsibilities of the parish/assistant priest
32. Succession plan
33. List of all parishioners involved in ‘church work’ – a registry
34. Invite youth to be visibly involved not only in mass but parish life in general – how do we involve people in this?
35. People need to volunteer to do these things
36. Record service on CD and take to those who cannot come