WHAT HAPPENED AT THE ALL SAINTS VISION DAY

All Saints recently held a Vision Day as part of our Divine Renovation journey.

This day was developed specifically to help our Paish prepare for and develop Growth or Mission Action Plans.

More than 50 parishioners took part in interactive workshops, led by members of the PPC and parishioners from the Divine Renovation bookclub, and considered what our Parish looks like now and what it might look like in the future.

THE FIRST EXERCISE – HOW WE SEE OURSELVES NOW

In the first exercise we looked at the Parish church community as it currently stands, using the boat picture.

Parishioners were invited in pairs to write on post-it notes the following:

    1. on the blue sky, the reason why they come to Church
    2. on the flat sea, the tings that have to happen but they don’t necessarily enjoy (like PPC meetings!)
    3. on the rocks beneath the surface, the things that threaten the boat eg lack of money, low numbers of children attending etc.

The following images show what we came up with:

 


 

 

 

THE SECOND EXERCISE – WHAT THE FUTURE MIGHT LOOK LIKE

In thinking about what the future might look like, we focused on what might be on the Parish website and what the Parish AGM might look like in five years.

What might be on the Parish website in five years?

In the second exercise we imagined what might be on the Parish website in five years.

Groups were asked to write in the Parish name and a ‘strapline’ to summarise ‘what God is doing in the church’ across the top.

In the ‘What’s On’ and ‘Latest News’ tabs, parishioners were asked to add a one line summary of the mission and ministry they hope the church will be undertaking, such as children’s work, youth work, stewardship, outreach etc.

Finally, in the ‘Guestbook’ section, members of the group were asked to imagine what people will be saying or thinking about the church if it is everything God is calling it to be.

The following images show what we came up with.

 

 

 

What might the Parish AGM look like in five years?

In this exercise, we looked at what we might write on the front cover of the AGM agenda. We wanted to come up with a short, but engaging title to summarise what God is doing in the church in 2024.

Then, on the ‘page contents’ section, we tried to come up with a one line summary of the individual reports we might expect to see on the AGM agenda in five years’ time such as children’s work, youth work, stewardship and outreach.

Finally, parishioners at the vision day were asked to imagine what people would be saying or thinking about the church if it is everything God is calling it to be.

Here’s what we came up with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WORKSHOPS

As well as the larger group exercises, parishioners broke into smaller workshop groups to consider a number of questions:

WORKSHOP 1 GIVING PRIORITY TO THE WEEKEND

The culture of a church is reflected in what it truly values. So how is the weekend liturgy a priority in this parish? How does this carry into the rest of the parish life and where could improvements be made?

  • It’s hard to answer something that is and hasn’t changed.
  • The principal point is to receive Holy Communion – food of the soul.
  • Society – other commitments happen on a Sunday, there is a pressure to be part of those things and to work too.
  • If “bigger production” would have an effect on the above point
  • Do we need three churches? Our focus should not be on buildings, but on community “church”.
  • Remove the/that building then you lose the Catholic focus/community in that area/village.
  • Times of Masses could be looked at eg. Sunday evening Mass, giving more times around the Masses to connect and for fellowship.
  • It’s not to everyone’s taste to have a big production; some find a quiet one (and a quicker one) simpler.

Final bullet points or suggestions for feedback:

  • People have other commitments on Sundays – look at times of Masses
  • Do we need three churches?
  • Bigger production of Mass vs quicker, simpler Mass

WORKSHOP 2 HOSPITALITY WARMTH & AUTHENTICITY OF WELCOME

What grade would you give your parish in hospitality? How are new members recognised and welcomed? Is there an appointed group to help guide them into parish life?

  • Proactive or reactive? Should it just come from the welcomers to ID someone new and make first contact?
  • – If we are “bringing someone” should there be an onus to introduce them at coffee time etc?
  • – Reactive – if you see someone (at Shaldon) ask are you new? On holiday? Moving? And invited to coffee. It’s a smaller church.
  • – There’s a welcome pack, not always given out and not everyone aware of them.
  • – Gentle encouragement is best. May not work everywhere.
  • – Needs to be fit for purpose. Smaller church works at Shaldon. After Mass introduction

Final bullet points or suggestions for feedback

  •  Tends to be quite reactive – if you see someone go and say hello rather than proactive.
  •  Gentle encouragement to try and put people at ease eg would you like to stay for coffee?
  • Welcoming group needs to be fit for purpose. Different churches – small @ Shaldon, easy to spot new people. But Teignmouth needs to be more reflective of Parish. Also review Welcome Group remit.

WORKSHOP 3 UPLIFTING MUSIC VARYING STYLES ESPECIALLY INCLUDING JOYFUL PRAISE

How do you feel about our present music ministry? What is the level of participation in singing the hymns? Is there diversity of music?

  • Old ones go well with Mass.
  • Some are happy, some are sad.
  • Some prefer the old ones.
  • Balance of new and old would be good.
  • Lots of people whisper if they know the tune.
  • Positive way over the last few years.
  • Music chosen on the themes of the Gospel or season of the Liturgy.
  • New hymns and songs are difficult.
  • Some parishioners feel uncomfortable with new and some prefer old ones but we do try to get a balance.

Final bullet points or suggestions for feedback

  • Encourage more people to be involved in Ministry and ensure succession planning
  • Old and new – mix of music please in all three churches
  • More instruments / other forms of music or other means eg voices only / ipads etc.

WORKSHOP 4 HOMILIES key/intentional opportunity for formation including enhanced contemporary presentations

Preaching the gospel is key to parish ministry, discuss how the laity in your parish received homilies. Does the message address parish life as a whole? Are the homilists open to feedback and suggestions? How might the suggestions by Pope Francis and the other tips at the end of this section help improve homilies in our parish?

  • More energy engaging with personal insight.
  • Stories, pithy biblical message and short 😉
  • Break Gospel message into digestible chunks relevant to Parish life.
  • Not function to entertain.
  • Message to take away for the next week would be lovely.
  • Feedback – homilists are open to feedback and suggestions.
  • Communion prayer – print out questions and messages to reflect on later

Final bullet points or suggestions for feedback

  • Gospel message broken into digestible chunks
  • Appreciate hearing biblical message
  • Takeaway to live throughout the week eg printout with short note.

WORKSHOP 5 MEANINGFUL COMMUNITY

One with deeper more authentic relationships with one another rather than light/superficial ones. With this in mind, how would you characterise our parish? What is attracting people to our parish community? Do they feel a sense of belonging?

  • How would you characterise our Parish – people come to church for Mass and then go home. Takes a long time to change this culture.
  • Some people do feel a sense of belonging but many speak to the same people every week.
  • New parishioner events would be good.

Final bullet points or suggestions for feedback

  • We come to church for Mass and then go home. Some don’t engage with community
  • Social aspect and common interest eg more events would bring community together so they felt a sense of belonging
  • Visitors feel welcome but problems start when we get to know each other

WORKSHOP 6 CLEAR EXPECTATIONS articulate and communicate what we expect of ourselves and those who come to join us.

Do your parishioners know what is expected of them for the reception of the sacraments or other activities? How is this defined and communicated in your parish?

  • Don’t know what status quo is.
  • Is there a mission statement for our Parish. If so, where is it?
  • Expectations of “church” big/Catholic expectations of church. Parish/may not be so clear what expectations are.
  • We all have a personal responsibility to find out what is expected of us.
  • Not as clear as it could be for information on sacraments. Could there be clearer information given out?
  • Big changes in the church – to be conveyed?

Final bullet points or suggestions for feedback

  • Is there a Mission Statement for our Parish? Where is it? Could we have one?
  • Information for sacraments not as clear and available as it could be. Could we have this?
  • Expectations of “Church” as in big C for Catholics is clear but not so much at Parish level.

WORKSHOP 7 STRENGTH-BASED MINISTRIES ministry that suits a person’s personalities and talent / helping to identify this

Are people offered ministry work that fits their strengths? How does the parish organise for this?

  • Relatively few doers in the Parish who do an awful lot. There is a perception that it’s all under control and so we let them get on with it.
  • Newsletter good tool for asking for volunteers.
  • You need to ask for volunteers particularly at Mass. Can be discouragement in terms of doing.
  • Are people assigned or asked to do a role? How can we encourage people to “offer” their talents?
  • Could we organise an “I want to help” day? And discuss how we can all offer to use our talents in a loving way.
  • We need support/handover/training into a Ministry. This is important for succession planning.

Final bullet points or suggestions for feedback

  • Relatively few doers that do a lot leads to a misconception that all is ok so no need to get involved.
  • Succession planning needed for important roles
  • Could we have an “I want to help day” eg marketplace? So many things people can do that they don’t know about. If we had people from various Ministries they might be able to offer their skills more.

WORKSHOP 8 FORMATION OF SMALL COMMUNITIES

Fellowship groups that meet regularly for spiritual/community support. Helping active members (us) to become spirit-filled evangelisers! Does you parish offer access to small community groups? If not, do you see a need for them? Discuss the benefits of small groups for your parish.

  • Lots of groups already in place eg Mothers’ prayers, children’s liturgy, formation group/home-based
  • Parish split into small communities/areas so someone is responsible for each section and noticed if someone was in need – then brought this to the attention of Priest/Deacon. Recognise if things are going wrong and supporting at home (see Gerry for more info about this).
  • Prayer groups
  • Activities eg football/sports, more youth group meetings of a different kind.

Final bullet points or suggestions for feedback

  • Splitting Parish into groups so someone responsible for each section.
  • Already lots of small groups eg SVP, Children’s Liturgy, Mothers’ Prayer but more formation groups such as an Alpha course would be good.
  • More youth group meetings, Parish picnic events and workshop/open day so people know they are there.

WORKSHOP 9 EXPERIENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Meeting and encountering the Holy Spirit, trusting the Spirit, inviting people to share their faith. How do people in your parish experience the Holy Spirit? Do people have enough opportunities to share their faith?

  • It’s about having the opportunity to experience the Holy Spirit.
  • We don’t know how/when to share.
  • It’s difficult if you’ve not had any experience of the Holy Spirit how can you share it?
  • How do you know when you’ve experienced the Holy Spirit? Who helps you recognise and share this?
  • It’s a feeling you get when something happens in your life.
  • It varies hugely from person to person.
  • You can’t manufacture it. It may or may not happen.
  • Sharing faith, loving God and neighbour.

Final bullet points or suggestions for feedback

  • Some people are unsure if they have experienced the Holy Spirit. If not, why not?
  • Could we have more opportunities to share our faith and talk about the Holy Spirit?
  • Can’t manufacture – it might happen, it might not, but who would help us identify this.

WORKSHOP 10 BECOMING AN INVITING CHURCH

Discuss how your parish could create opportunities to become an inviting church. Would you invite the unchurched differently from those who have been absent and invited to return? Explain.

  • Specific events/worship aimed at inviting others would be lovely…invited by all as well as Parish records.
  • Cards/gifts to those on the fringe. Treat them all as family.
  • Charitable outreach, attracting others who might need it.
  • Cater to individual needs without highlighting a massive difference, therefore not alienating.
  • Listen to what people need, not what we thing they need eg. Not always just money.

Final bullet points or suggestions for feedback

  • Specific events/worship aimed at others. Invite all in as well as using Parish records
  • Send cards and gifts to those on the fringe. Treat them as family. Charitable outreach to attract others.
  • Cater to individual needs without massive difference therefore not alienating.

NEXT STEPS – WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

While it’s all very well dreaming of where we might be in five years, we will now be taking action to make sure things happen.

The PPC will now consider common themes and will start to identify what needs to happen to take various activities forward. This will include writing specific, measurable and achievable goals along with what actions need to be taken to ensure the goals are achieved and who will be responsible for doing it.

Thank you to all who took part in our Parish Vision Day and who have and continue to contribute to our Divine Renovation journey.

“Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.”

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS WEEKEND’S PARISH VISION DAY

We are really looking forward to welcoming you all on Saturday 16th March for our Parish Vision Day. Thank you for all your prayers and good wishes for the day. All you need to bring is yourselves, open ears, minds and hearts, and a pen for writing. Lunch will be provided so there is no need to bring any food with you.

Our day begins with:

10am Mass

10.45am Coffee and tea

11am Keynote talk Fr Mark and Sarah Barreto

11.30am workshops x 5 areas on of parish life then mini plenary

12 noon workshops x 5 on other areas of parish life followed by mini plenary

12.30pm Short film 5 mins then explanation to break into 4 groups for Exercise 1 How we see ourselves now

1pm Explanation to break into 4 groups for Exercise 2 What the future might look like

1.30 Final plenary: The Game Plan and planning our vision for the way forward – Taking forward actions. Agreeing future events e.g. youth vision day also a review date and structure to examine how well the action points have been achieved in a year’s time.

ALL SAINTS PARISH VISION DAY

“Put out into deep water and pay our your nets for a catch.”

BECOMING MISSIONARY DISCIPLES

Join Father Mark, members of the PPC and other parishioners on the Divine Renovation journey for a practical day looking at the future of our Parish with time for prayer, worship and reflection.

Our Parish Vision Day takes place at Our Lady & St Patrick Church in Teignmouth and starts with Mass at 10am followed by lively and interactive workshops and finishing with lunch at 2pm.

At our Vision Day we will be looking for ways to help us be better disciples and to be better able to share God’s love. The towns and villages of this Parish each have a different character, as have the churches that serve them. God has made us different. So at the Vision Day, the people of our Parish will be helped to find ways of discipleship and mission that work for them. We will work together to support one another as we develop a better idea of what needs to be done for our Parish and churches to flourish.

God loves the people in our towns and villages, so we are turning to him to discover his plans that will ensure his church has a future here.

Everyone who comes to or who has ever come to any of our churches is warmly invited to be involved.

The day is free of charge. Lunch will be provided.

You may find it useful to read ‘Divine Renovation: Bringing your Parish from Maintenance to Mission‘ by Father James Mallon before the Vision Day.