On October 30, twenty-six parishioners* joined with Leif Kehrwald to spend the day charting a post-pandemic, post-construction course for the parish community. See pictures below!
The specific purpose of the day was stated thus: Since March 2020, St. Charles has been operating in "crisis" mode, dealing with COVID-19, managing construction chaos and welcoming De La Salle onto campus, and navigating the challenges of priest transition. While these issues are still with us, it's time to move out of "crisis" mode and into "mission" mode, from survival mindset to thrive mindset. It's time to look further ahead than just day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month. Through prayer, conversation, input, sharing food (safely) and time together, let's set our sights on a new vision for St. Charles Parish.
Scripture, Prayer, Song
Throughout the day, we sang and prayed together, relying on these Scripture passages to guide and inspire us: Isaiah 62:1-2 and Luke 4:16-21. From the Breaking Bread hymnal we sang “Day of Peace”, “Open My Eyes”, and “City of God.”
Morning Question: What’s the heartbeat of our parish today.
Participants were asked to reflect on this question, engage in one-to-one conversations, and then bring their “headline” responses to the large group. After bountiful sharing and discussion, participants prioritized the “headlines” as such:
(8 stars) We need to practice personal invitation in all matters
(7 stars) We are struggling, but we are blessed and loaded with potential and endurance
(6 stars) We are dedicated to caring for and serving others
(5 stars) We are the people of God (Vat II parish)
(5 stars) It’s all about the people => in relationships with each other => leads to relationship with God
(4 stars) We are wounded and tender, and need healing
(4 stars) We are non-judgmental and accepting of all
(3 stars) We provide healthy enrichment
(2 stars) We are reawakening
(2 stars) Our heartbeat is healthy and full of energy
(2 stars) We need to diversify our core of leadership
(1 star) We need to recognize and reach out to inactive parishioners, particularly the elderly who feel undervalued
(1 star) We rely on our historical persistence in the midst of challenge
(1 star) We are always creative in response to crisis
(1 star) We are grateful for loving leadership
- We need to move from crisis mode to mission mode.
- We are grateful for the core leadership base of the parish.
Afternoon Question: What should our priorities be to chart our next course?
Participants were asked to reflect on this question, engage in small group discussion, and then bring their “headline” responses to the large group. After bountiful sharing and discussion, participants prioritized the “headlines” as such:
(12 stars) Gain a better understanding of how other cultures meet, work, and make decisions
(7 stars) Survey – listening process on what people want (in different languages)
(7 stars) Engage in relational conversations
(6 stars) Create opportunities for expanded relationships
(5 stars) Find ways to respect and support those not able to come to Mass (elderly)
(4 stars) Build informal multi-dimensional relationships
(4 stars) Put relationships before tasks
(3 stars) Have Name Tag Sunday regularly
(3 stars) Create faith mentoring relationships
(3 stars) Question current leadership structure
(3 stars) Personally ask specific questions about what works and what doesn’t – really listen!
(2 stars) Bless the new Commons as our place for Sunday Hospitality
(2 stars) Provide regular faith formation for youth of all grades
(2 stars) Do ‘with’ instead of do ‘for’
(2 stars) Reinstate Children’s Liturgy of the Word
(1 star) Engage in leadership development
(1 star) Expand our horizons
(1 star) Find common goals with De La Salle (DLSNC)
- Attend services with De La Salle (DLSNC)
- Bring back Welcoming Committee
- Market our new priest
- Flatten the leadership structure
- Reimagine . . . don’t have to do what we’ve always done
- Keep our identity (signage)
The day concluded with a promise from Leif to share the summary of the day with key leadership group and the parish as a whole. Pastoral Council, Admin Council, Liturgy Committee, Multicultural Committee, Care 4 Creation Team, along wit others, will all be involved in acting on the key “headlines.”
* Those who attended include: