Over the course of the past year, the 2019 cohort of pastorates were offered several ways to be formed by each other and their fellow co-workers in the vineyard from other pastorates.
A series of six, monthly online discussions were held on the “hallmarks of an evangelizing parish” – practices common to a parish that is mission-focused. These hallmarks were gleaned from some of the most popular parish renewal resources. For each hallmark, a guest speaker from a parish that is actively engaged in this work was invited to share their experiences and answer questions from the participants. These “hallmark” practices are examples of what the Core Mission Priorities look like in action and include:
· Planning for Discipleship;
· Focusing on the Sunday Experience;
· Creating Discipleship Pathways that Promote an Encounter with Christ;
· Creating Discipleship Pathways through Small Groups;
· Creating Missionary Disciples by Going to the Margins, Creating a Culture of Invitation, and Living the Beatitudes; and,
· Building a Culture of Stewardship for the Mission.
The entire series was recorded and can be viewed online here or by searching “Pastorate Planning” on YouTube.
Additionally, pastors and associate pastors gathered several times for Cohort Gatherings, designed to draw strength from each other and hear about the ways in which pastorate planning is unfolding in the other cohort pastorates.
They first gathered in September to kick-off their planning work with the Archbishop, then met for a full day to discuss leading with a vision. This was followed by a half-day spent digging into the topic of building strong teams and working through healthy conflict.
The four-day retreat that had been planned for the cohort pastors and associate pastors had to be postponed due to coronavirus restrictions; a rescheduled retreat is being considered for the fall, if conditions allow it. The group gathered virtually in lieu of this retreat, to share the challenges and unexpected blessings of the virus-related shut down and hear about the ways in which many pastorates were continuing their planning work remotely.
As a number of pastorates in the 2019 cohort draw to the end of their planning work, a final gathering will be scheduled to reflect back on the experience and some of the new opportunities for bringing people to Christ that have opened up for them as a result.