Just a few weeks ago we were approached by Fr. Mike Biewend and Deacon Mike O’Mahoney of the Madeleine Parish about developing a collaborative Youth Ministry program for both Middle School and High School. While their youth ministry efforts have been floundering, they have admired the work that Gabe and his Core Team have done at St. Charles. They asked if their youth could join with ours. Fr. Schwab, Gabe, and myself met with Fr. Mike and Deacon Mike to discuss the possibilities and the particulars. We proposed, and the Madeleine has accepted, the following arrangement:
This is a win/win deal for both parishes. The Madeleine gets a quality youth ministry program for its Middle and High School students. St. Charles gets the advantage that increased numbers bring to the program. There’s a lot more life and vitality in a group of 25-30, than a group half that size. And together, these youth, and their families will witness to the wider community a myriad of ways to cross socio-economic and ethnic boundaries.
You may wonder, if Gabe’s youth ministry responsibilities jump from one-third to two-thirds, what will he let go of, and who will pick up the slack. As you know, we secured a grant to hire a part time community organizer to work with the mobile home parks in the Cully neighborhood. Most of the social justice work that Gabe has been doing has been in that area (previously about one-third of job).
We recognize that there are challenges and risks in this arrangement, but we believe that the opportunity to be a witness of collaboration makes it worth taking the risks and embracing the challenges. As we move to implement this arrangement, we welcome your thoughts, concerns, questions, and ideas.
Reach Gabe Triplett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (541) 680-6509. Reach Leif Kehrwald at email@example.com, or 503-351-9889.