“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters!) dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
Sometimes communications between clergy and parish councils disconnect. They talk “past” each other. They do not hear what the other party is not saying. Actions are misinterpreted. Rumors and innuendo cause undue suspicion. Sometimes this shortcoming in good governance needs to be addressed one-on-one with a specific parish council member. Yet sometimes general conversation is most useful. This exercise is designed to facilitate safe, helpful and mutually beneficial communications. Consider using this exercise to enable greater mission focus and strategic intent on parish council deliberations so that it is not personalities or failure to communicate that become the primary issues.
Parish Council and Priest Communication Exercise
(Possibly for a Parish Council Retreat)
Have parish council members gather in one group. Have the priest locate in his office or apart from the parish council.
Parish council members discuss the five questions among themselves, identify a spokesperson for their group and return to share their thoughts one question at a time.
The priest reflects on the five questions in the right hand column and when both parties re-assemble, shares his thoughts one question at a time.
It is strongly recommended that each party practice engaged, attentive listening.
Parish Council Members
- What do parish council members need from the priest?
- How can parish council members help the priest?
- What do you most appreciate about your priest?
- If you could ask the priest to change in some way, what would it be? (Be kind and do not present a long list!)
- What are the elements of a strong partnership between the parish council and the priest?
- What does the priest need from parish council members?
- How can the priest help the parish council members?
- What do you most appreciate about parish council members?
- If you could ask the parish council to change in some way what would it be? (Be kind and do not present a long list.)
- What are key elements of a strong partnership between the priest and the parish council?