Monday, January 2, 2012

The Manifesto--Part Eight

Chapter Five--Outcomes (Part One)

Deacon Dean begins Chapter Five of Effective Church Operational Systems (ECOS) with a summary of all that came before the Strategic Way process was implemented at All Saints Parish. He writes, “After about two years of working together and healing relationships, the leadership team agreed that the next major step forward would be to develop clarity about what it was trying to accomplish.”

In an eight-month process following the two-year process, the leadership team involved the pastoral council, and then, “Finally, the leadership team set up several meetings to allow for maximum input from parishioners.” A final draft of a ‘destination statement’ was issued. Then another process was implemented to draft a summary version and slogan, although only the parish council shared input on those documents.

Spiritual maturity

At this point, the All Saints Parish leadership team “realized that at the root of all their ministries was ultimately helping people grow in spiritual maturity.” This lead to a definition of spiritual maturity that includes nine dimensions of spiritual growth: Conversion, Fellowship, Prayer and Worship, Discipleship and Learning, Discernment, Fruit of the Spirit, Love and Forgiveness, Stewardship, and Evangelization.

Describing the dimension of Love and Forgiveness, Deacon Dean writes, “…Jesus has reconciled us with the Father and in turn entrusts to us the ministry of reconciliation—inviting others into relationship with the Father and extending reconciliation to others. Love naturally flows into forgiveness and reconciliation. ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’”

As Catholics, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Penance), instituted by Christ, is of vital importance to our ongoing conversion and sanctification. Of course, only an ordained Catholic priest can administer this sacrament to the faithful. It would seem that in this case, there should have been some clarification of the term ‘reconciliation’ within a Catholic framework, if only to explain to the professors at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary how Catholics understand and use that term.

(Part Eight continues in the following two posts)

1 comment:

  1. The greatest tragedy of all is that he believes that he is a gifted and an influential leader. Almost every decision he has made would indicate the contrary. The damage to the parish during his tenure will not easily be forgotten. He will be.