Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Old Harlow, Essex CM17 0HA
SHAPING OUR FUTURE
e-bulletin May 2019
He is Risen. Alleluia!
Welcome to the May e-bulletin about our work together to evangelise our diocese in the context of our Vision Document: Shaping Our Future.
Parish Partnerships have shared many prayers and conversations in recent weeks. It has been a privilege for me to share in some of them. Thank you.
People are actively arranging for groups that exist in each parish to meet across the Parish Partnership. SVP, KSC, CWL, Legion of Mary, Catenians and many others can all work together to bring people together as a partnership and to achieve more than they can in individual parishes. I have heard the phrase “we can do much more together” on several occasions. I am sure it is true.
At least one Parish Partnership has actively taken the Vision Document: Shaping Our Future to the young people in the partnership. They held a wide ranging and really positive discussion in their confirmation group and are now looking at practical ways to bring their ideas to life across the partnership. Another is bringing together all those involved in Youth work/ministry across the partnership and working towards youth events for all young people in the partnership.
The idea of a Parish Partnership Thanksgiving Day is catching on. Bringing people together from across the partnership in order to celebrate and give thanks for all the good things and to meet new people from other parishes in the partnership is a great idea.
A few are either already producing, or just about to produce, a newsletter insert or a separate document detailing progress, successes and challenges that is common to all parishes in the Parish Partnership. These are great ways to keep more people informed/involved.
I am aware that in some places the challenges facing us are proving more difficult than in others. When people are asked to work together in new ways and with a new focus there are bound to be challenges and difficulties. How we deal with those is something for us all to reflect upon. Priests and lay people working together, recognising the gifts of one another and the special and distinct callings of each other, will be a powerful symbol of our church working together to evangelise our diocese. I am always willing to help when asked to do so and within Cathedral House and at Governance level we continue to explore and develop new ways to help and support you in all you do. Currently new payroll systems are bedding in and a new HR provision is being introduced to support work in parishes and partnerships. Support is being given where partnerships are exploring new uses for property or when a sale of property is being considered.
I am grateful to Canon Peter Connor who is a member of the Cathedral Chapter and the College of Consultors for his personal reflection on the challenges of working together to renew and restructure our diocese.
Change often proves to be an exciting time when new possibilities are found and new ways to serve God come about. There’s a lot of good stuff going on. “An Aid to Thinking About Possibilities” and “A (very) Rough Guide to Canon Law” may provide some further ideas for your consideration. https://www.dioceseofbrentwood.net/departments/development/resources/
Vocations: Is God calling you to be a priest? Monthly sessions take place at St Edmund of Canterbury church Loughton. Tuesdays: 4/6; 2/7. Please contact: email@example.com https://www.dioceseofbrentwood.net/departments/development/12-strands-renewal/vocations-to-the-priesthood/ for more information
Charity, Justice and Social Action: St Vincent de Paul Society has been an integral part of parish life in many parts of our diocese for many years. It is also a key part of Caritas in our country and shares offices in London with Caritas Social Action Network and CAFOD. Recently the SVP appointed Jenny Clayton as Membership Development Officer for our diocese. It was my pleasure to meet Jenny to discuss her role and to find ways for us to work together. The SVP plays a key role in the exercise of the ministry of charity and in building community in our diocese. Jenny has written a piece for us and would be keen to hear from anyone wishing to become a member, start a SVP group in their Parish or those that are already members and would like to share their experiences. https://www.dioceseofbrentwood.net/departments/development/12-strands-renewal/charity-justice-social-action/
Family: Diocesan Marriage Conference in the Cathedral Hall on Saturday 6th July. It would be particularly good to have a representative from every parish partnership present to discuss this key strand of Renewal. The programme includes input on sharing the good news of marriage and the family; a discussion on taking forward the 'family' strand of diocesan renewal; and information sharing from the various organisations within the church for supporting marriage and family life. Registration is essential - https://brentwoodmarriageday.eventbrite.co.uk It’s free and open to all who are interested.
Youth: The opening words of Pope Francis’ recent Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation are “Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world, and everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!” http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20190325_christus-vivit.html
Recently people came together to learn more about Youth Work. This was perhaps the most commonly mentioned area of Renewal that we should engage in; so we videoed it for you. https://www.dioceseofbrentwood.net/departments/development/12-strands-renewal/young-people/
Evangelisation: The Sharing Hope in Crisis team held a great day to help you help someone facing difficulty and to compassionately share the love of Jesus Christ with those who need it most. Those attending got a great deal from the day. In June we have the Divine Renovation Day at the parish of Our Lady of Walsingham, Stewards Retreat and Sherry Weddell: Building a Parish of Intentional Disciples. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
There are no hard and fast rules about what should be in a Parish Partnership Plan but here is a suggested list that is open to addition, alteration and amendment. Let me know your thoughts.https://www.dioceseofbrentwood.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/PARISH-PARTNERSHIP-PLAN-PROFORMA.pdf
Steven Webb Director of Development