A New Normal – How will your parish look?

Thursday 23rd July 2020

When we gathered in the Cathedral on the Feast of St Francis of Assisi last October to launch Stage 3 of Hope the Future, which focussed on the celebration of the Eucharist, we could not have imagined that only a few months later we would be without the Sacrament.

The loss of the Eucharist this year during the period of restrictions has been felt deeply by many parishioners. We were invited to join in spiritual communion, a long-standing tradition in the Church, where we place ourselves in the Mass that is being offered, either by watching a live stream or in our own prayer time. But we understand that the restrictions to the sacraments, our Churches and the parish community was a time of loss for many.

Many managed to see an opportunity to reflect of their own faith journey and how they could incorporate Church at Home. What is clear is that parishes and individuals now need a period of reflection and think about how they want to ‘rebuild’ the Church.

Perhaps we could use this period as an opportunity for how our parishes will look moving forwards too.

Over the last twelve months, parishes in our diocese have been gradually setting up Shared Leadership Teams to support clergy in the running of the parish.

Could now be the time for you to begin making preparations to form a team in your own parish?

In April 2019, Bishop John wrote to parish priests and Hope in the Future teams asking each parish to establish a Shared Leadership Team.  A Guide to Setting up a Parish Shared Leadership Team was produced which put forward four models which have previously worked well in a variety of contexts.

Before the pandemic, two videos which place a spotlight on two different parishes models of Shared Leadership were produced for other parishes in our diocese to use as inspiration.

The first video focuses on St Cuthbert’s in Bolton.  They used the guide to implement a Parish Advisory and Coordination Team model and now work with their parish priest, Fr Chris Gorton, to ensure the smooth running of their parish community.

The second video illustrates how the Parish Leadership Team has worked in Holy Trinity, Worsley, following amalgamations.

You may also find the following video of the Divine Renovation Shared Leadership Team model useful in setting up a Shared Leadership Team in your parish. You can watch that video by clicking here.

The times we are living in are uncertain. But let us move forward through this period and use it to create a new normal for our parishes.

If you require more information on how to run a planning and vision session or to enquire about a virtual facilitator, please email hope@dioceseofsalford.org.uk.


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