Process of youth group merging with Madeleine: Pastoral Council should have been consulted beforehand. This is issue should have been brought to the table as a proposition instead of the announcement of a done deal. Still, the collaboration with the Madeleine was noted as a good example of living out our mission statement.
Pin tucking, lead in water, funding, sequoias, bulletin graphic: Funds are available for nearly two-thirds of the job on the south side of the building. More funding is needed. A strategy for a new appeal is needed, perhaps in conjunction with the possible need for remediating the lead tainted water situation. We are currently waiting for the lead testing report. No profit was derived from a possible sale of timber from the removed sequoia trees. Much to the dismay of Leif, the contractor has yet to repair the sidewalk where the trees were removed. (Concrete was poured on Oct 6!) Once that is done and that access is restored to church grounds, removal of dead trees north of the church building can commence. The question of restoring some sort of graphic/chart/note illustrating ongoing sacrificial giving in the bulletin was brought up. Perhaps something like a thermometer.
Lifelong Intergenerational Faith Formation:
Lifelong Intergenerational Faith Formation for the whole parish, (Leif’s passion:) was addressed. The question was brought up whether or not existing faith formation programs for children would change. Jane stressed the importance of catechesis for children at church. Leif mentioned that there were various models of what LLIFF might look like including intentional faith-based relationship building such as “Faith Circles” he saw in Minnesota where a person would name another whose faith they admired. He also saw intentional whole community intergenerational learning programs where, for example, an intergenerational umbrella would include catechesis for children, among other things. The question was asked how do we as adults model faith growth for kids and community? Jane mentioned having experience in small group relationships, (like we had in our small church communities at St. Charles). She found value in building good relationships and reflecting on life in that setting.
Leif referred to a vision of LLIFF where faith formation focuses “more on adults than children, more on the community than the individual, more on key relationships than catechetical content, and more on learning to love God (and neighbor) than learning about God”. This as opposed to a traditional CCD/faith formation model where children and adults are divided into student or “graduate” categories.
Marilee brought up her concern that many families who come to St. Charles for RCIA or baptism or whatnot leave St. Charles shortly afterward. Catholicism should be a way of life not just getting your ticket punched. Furthermore, families need to better communicate and relate regarding faith instead of being isolated, often absorbed in video games or the internet or phones or what have you.
Jane envisions small group communities combined with social outreach activities such as feeding the homeless.
Leif stated that LLIFF is not a program but a new way of doing church.
Sherry sees an image of people sitting at a meal table talking about the food perhaps, but not about why there are empty seats. We need to bring more people to the table. We need to work to fill the empty pews. She also noted that in addition to key leaders we need networkers to help with our diverse church community. Leif proposed meeting with key leaders and networkers to further the conversation regarding LLIFF, perhaps for an hour after a Sunday mass. Of course it would be open to all. Sherry said meeting would help us see how the pieces could sequence and fit, as well as provide an opportunity to address language issues for our multicultural community in the implementation of LLIFF.
Sherry and Marilee volunteered for planning session to map out LLIFF.
Dia de Los Muertos:
The altar of Dia de Los Muertos and its purpose as described by Gabe was brought up. Last year the names of students who disappeared in Mexico were placed on the altar. Leif asked if we wanted to raise certain issues that might be politicized. Marilee noted that local issues, such as the increase in Portland’s murder rate and homelessness, would be more appropriate than national ones.
Mayra explained the traditional meaning of the celebration. She said that on those special days tradition holds that departed souls are released to visit their loved ones here. She told of how her grandfather would lovingly set up the altar and decorate it with flowers and how her grandmother would place the favorite foods and drinks of the deceased at the altar for their enjoyment.
Sherry asked if we should alter the historical tradition. If so, we should check with Latinos in the parish to see how they would feel about it. She mentioned that the desire to honor others, such as Syrian refugees, should come from the heart; there should not be a directive. Marilee said it was important for everyone to understand the purpose of the altar, especially the elderly. Mayra said that we should not make changes until next year, until word of a new approach could be spread and understood.
Update on the three goals of visibility, resources and outreach:
Paul brought up the issue of the signage in front of the church on 42nd Ave. How it should be utilized, what sort of content it should have. Marilee mentioned that Robert used to visit hotels near the airport with information on Mass times as being a good example of increasing our visibility.
Paul mentioned that we have found additional greeters for the masses and they are getting up to speed.
Leif addressed how we reach out and be present to church members as well as non-members, especially in the online world as well as our neighborhood. He mentioned that every parish needs skilled website and Facebook management and that we should be thinking long-term on this matter. Marilee mentioned that our brand should have more exposure along the lines of what advertisers do online with constant information flows. Leif noted that potential visitors to our church check us out via the web and Facebook before ever setting foot on our property. We need to project a welcoming and inviting atmosphere not an appearance of a private club. He said we have a lot of potential for content available for posting. Jane noted that the Folk Group is a big asset that could be used for this purpose. She noted that younger people, her kids among them, like the music. Marilee noted how in black churches the vibrant music is a very compelling and attractive feature.
Pastoral Council Retreat and Pastoral Council Story
Paul reminded us that the focus of the pastoral council retreat should be spiritual with bonding and team building first and business matters second. The retreat will take place on Nov 12 and will replace the regular Nov meeting. Sherry and Marilee will meet with Leif to plan the retreat.
As a newcomer to the council, Sherry noted her interest in the backstory of the council, saying it would be good to know some history. She suggested that some sort of story or file would be good for new folks on the council as well as future members to review. Also it would be good to have some type of this material available for the upcoming retreat. Leif added that besides its history, it would be good to cite the council's role, as well as recent events. Paul mentioned that assembling this narrative would be beneficial for the continuity of the council, especially during transitional times. He noted that in the past sometimes too much time was spent on analyzing potential projects. Also actions could be too incremental or too slow. He cited the time when unused parish property was being considered as a retirement home. Discussion went on for a year before the idea was rejected.
Marilee noted that the role of the parish council should be that of discerners not doers, but frequently there simply are not enough parishioners available for the task at hand. She mentioned how our connection with MACG is fading because of a lack of involved parishioners.
Jane mentioned that new membership will help invigorate the parish.
Leif wrapped up with the encouragement that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and that we just need to discern what God has in mind for us.
First meeting of 2016-17 opened with introduction of new members Sherry Wagner, Kevin Wrede and Jane Evans-Johnson with each of us giving statement of ourselves: Paul Bachman, Truls Neal, Marilee Hankins, Gabe Triplett and Leif Kehrwald. Mayra Torres was absent.
We discussed which weeknight was best for all for on-going monthly meeting. Tuesday most likely, but still under review. There was "election" of officers with Paul continuing as chair, Marilee vice chair and Truls secretary.
Staff Report: Gabe and Leif reported that the staff has reached an agreement with The Madeleine Parish on a collaborative youth ministry program. As a result, Gabe will be expanding his role as youth minister from 1/3 of his job to 2/3. The Madeleine Parish will contribute financially for program funds as well as approximately 1/3 of Gabe's salary. He has plans for forming a Youth Leadership team between the high school (8th to 12th grade) and middle school (5th to 7th). As we have the grant to hire a community organizer for our inter-congregations housing issues, Gabe will put more of his efforts into youth ministry. He shared some very ambitious goals for the coming year. More details here.
Leif shared thoughts on parish governance: what the are goals, function , mandate of the pastoral council (view of the parish from "10,000 ft level), looking to the horizon, what is happening, what is coming...
We were given months' s assignment to read and reflect on document Lifelong, intergenerational Faith Formation for the Whole Parish.
We are looking at a half day retreat maybe Sat. Nov 12 afternoon to potluck meal ending at Marilee's home.
The next regular meeting of the Pastoral Council is scheduled for Tuesday, October 4 at 7pm in the Parish Center.