Strategic Plan 2010-13
Community Building Preface
There are three (3) goals in the Community Building Area. The main themes of the goals are: support for Small Christian Communities (SCCs), communication between SCCs and throughout the parish more generally, and the role of the Parish Council.
Concerning Small Christian Communities (SCCs), the committee struggled more than once with a definition for this term, which was central to the goals. The committee finally reached a common understanding that SCCs were most generally any group of people rooted in the Parish that comes together in an ongoing way for any purpose. This therefore includes groups oriented more toward spirituality (e.g. Small Faith Sharing/Discussion Groups) and those oriented more toward mission (e.g. Habitat for Humanity), and those oriented more toward community (e.g. Hospitality Ministry, notwithstanding its Fair Trade emphasis).
Community Building Committee-Some of the proposals called for the formation of a Community Building Committee (CBC). This did not necessarily involve a paid position on the staff, but rather a committee of parishioners devoted to building the St. Camillus Communities of all types. The nature of the committee, some key elements of its charter and its relationship to the Parish Council are defined in the proposals for Goal 1.
Communication Ministry-Some of the proposals called for the formation of a Communication Ministry. This did not necessarily involve a paid position on the staff, but rather a committee of parishioners devoted to fostering communication. The nature of the committee, some key elements of its charter and its relationship to the Parish Council are defined in the proposals for Goal 2. Note that this is distinct from the Community Building Committee, but there might be some overlap, and it could be that the two could be implemented as a single committee.
Community Building Goals and Proposals
Community Building Goal 1: St. Camillus has established a network of prayerful, well-supported and service-oriented small Christian communities that are actively involved in the life of the parish and are linked across the apparent cultural and linguistic barriers.
CB Goal 1, Proposal 1: Establish a Community Building Committee (CBC) that will collaborate with all of our service and prayer-based Small Christian Communities (SCCs) and the Lifelong Faith Formation Director (LFFD) to nurture and support SCCs.
Rationale/Explanation: The CBC will help SCCs pursue the strategic goals of the Parish, especially the Community Building Goals articulated here. Specific CBC responsibilities will include: promoting and encouraging participation in existing SCCs, supporting and encouraging the formation of new SCCs, connecting SSCs to each other, and helping the SCCs align their various missions with the priorities of the parish.
CB Goal 1, Proposal 2: Encourage and enable SCCs to seek out and welcome participants from all cultures and language groups.
Rationale/Explanation: Ideally, SCCs would be willing and able to pursue their missions inclusively, by proactively opening and publicizing programs and projects to all cultures and language groups. This could take several forms, including “Multi-cultural SCCs” that include, in a single community, members from different cultural and/or language backgrounds (e.g. the Multi-cultural Choir), or “Parallel SCCs”, multiple communities that operate in parallel in different languages, (e.g. the Pre-Cana ministry, which has English, Spanish, French communities).
CB Goal 1, Proposal 3: Conduct events, programs and/or projects that involve multiple groups, and that reach across boundaries in language or culture.
Rationale/Explanation-SCCs should be networked and integrated into the life of the Parish in order to increase the connections between SCCs and the overall sense of Parish-wide community. This would be accomplished through events such as dedicated worship/sacrament/reflection services and recognition of SCCs at weekly masses. Programs such as a reciprocal prayer network and projects such as Habitat for Humanity builds, would further connect SCCs through shared mission, celebration, and personal witness.
CB Goal 1, Proposal 4: Support and enhance the Traffic Ministry. Increase participation as well as parishioners' cooperation with and appreciation of this critical service. Improve the safety and comfort of those who serve and make sure they are provided adequate resources and training.
Rationale/Explanation-The Traffic Ministry has grown and is doing an excellent job, but needs continued encouragement, participation from across the many language groups of St. Camillus. Their contribution to our safety and our ability to fit so many people in one space is a very important one. They should be integrated into relevant coordinating bodies.
Community Building Goal 2: St. Camillus parish meets the needs of its diverse communities, but it also strives to connect these communities by way of increased communication and collaboration in various areas of the ministries of our parish. Information about the events and ministries at St. Camillus Church is readily available in a variety of languages and formats.
CB Goal 2, Proposal 1: Establish a Communication Ministry (merged with the existing web/communication ministry) whose purpose includes increasing clear and consistent communication among ministries and SCCs. This Communication Ministry would focus on integrating and strengthening the various channels of communication (web site, bulletin, advertisements, phone trees, email lists etc.) to maximize the impact of communications by and between SCCs and ministries.
Rationale/Explanation-Parishioners frequently cite a lack of effective and consistent communication as a barrier to participating in SCCs. Information about events and communities is not consistently available in all the major languages spoken by the parish, and different sources of information (e.g. bulletin, web site, flyers) sometimes have conflicting details (times, locations etc.) about the same event. Thus there is a need for a more systematic and structured approach to communication.
CB Goal 2, Proposal 2: Establish a self-sustaining system that connects individuals to communities, and supports the development of relationships among the many communities and ministries of St. Camillus.
Rationale/Explanation-Active, thriving SCCs and ministries, and committed, involved parishioners nourish and support each other to sustain a strong, vibrant community. It is necessary constantly to reach out to parishioners to help them become and remain involved in SCCs and ministries. Similarly, SCCs and ministries can be of more help to each other if there is a structure for understanding shared needs and complementary resources or skills. Frequently, several SCCs and/or ministries may face identical or at least very similar challenges. These needs and challenges are opportunities to strengthen ties between SCCs and ministries, increase communication, foster mutual support and encourage collaboration. For example, Seniors who may need help learning to use computers might be matched to IT-savvy youth groups wanting to do community service (youth ministry). Another example would be multiple faith-sharing groups that organize retreats. If information and resources could be effectively shared among the SCCs, it would not be necessary for each SCC individually to invent or discover solutions to common logistical problems of running retreats. Additionally, the system will not simply be a means “of meeting needs” but also of encouraging participation and collaboration of parishioners in the very act of meeting needs.
CB Goal 2, Proposal 3: Encourage and sustain the creation and growth of SCCs by identifying new potential SCCs, and providing support, training, resources, advice, and information to new and existing SCCs. Work with the SCCs within St. Camillus to encourage the responsible and considerate use of shared resources, especially meeting space. Encourage groups to be aware of the parish events calendar and to respect the needs of other groups.
Rationale/Explanation-Some parishioners that might otherwise join an SCC do not because of obstacles such as not knowing about what is available, not feeling comfortable approaching an established group, or fear of commitment. Some parishioners that might otherwise form new SCCs do not do so because they do not know how, or think somebody else is or should be doing it, or cannot find others with common interests with whom to collaborate. These barriers to joining or forming SCCs can be reduced or eliminated if the parish can provide support, training, resources etc. to the SCCs. Also, this support should be in the spirit of collaboration and growth so as to not come across as “telling the SCC’s what to do.”
CB Goal 2, Proposal 4: The Communication Ministry shall maintain and extend the use of the web site and other information technologies to facilitate communication and to make it easier for SCCs and ministries to use these resources. This shall include establishing a process and sharing the knowledge for how SCCs and ministries can post their own information on the Parish website, with appropriate oversight by the Communication Ministry. The Communication Ministry shall also work with the many organizations of St. Camillus to increase their awareness of the parish events calendar, and how to respect the needs of other groups.
Rationale/Explanation-The newer software will enable groups to post their own information, although it is important that the Communication Ministry maintain oversight over the web site content. To support this, all groups and ministries will be invited to participate in a seminar on how to use the software. A training seminar will be offered four times in the first year, and repeated as needed in later years. Software alone will not resolve the problem of groups double-booking space, or of groups being inconsiderate of the plans of other groups, so this should be incorporated into the training (see also CB Goal 2, Proposal 3).
Other Options if Enough Time/Volunteers:
• The Communication Ministry could serve as consultants to help SCCs and Ministries that request small-group training and assistance.
• The Communication Ministry might start an on-line “prayer chain” to better inform SCCs of each other’s concerns and prayer intentions.
Community Building Goal 3: The members of the Parish Council have a more visible presence in the life of our community, and the parishioners are well informed about their role.
CB Goal 3, Proposal 1: The Parish Council codifies its operating procedures, and the role and responsibilities of members.
Rationale/Explanation: The Parish Council needs to have consistent and sustainable operating procedures, and all members need to take an active role during council meetings and in parish life between meetings. Currently many new members do not fully understand their role and responsibilities as council members during meeting and in the general parish life.
CB Goal 3, Proposal 2: Take specific steps to improve the visibility of the Parish Council and its members, including a commissioning/blessing annually, a posting of names and information on the church bulletin board, and make agendas and minutes available.
Rationale/Explanation-Few parishioners know who the parish council is, what their role is, what they do, and how to interact with them. The council exists to advise the pastor in the liturgical, spiritual, sacramental, spiritual, and social life of the parish. Being in a good position to advise the pastor means parish council members need to have active relationships with parishioners at large.