Last Sunday morning around ninety parishioners from across our parishes gathered together on Zoom to celebrate the Liturgy of the Word and then to participate in a Combined Parishes Meeting. It was lovely to be able to see the faces of so many of our parishioners gathering together as face after face popped up on the screen. The Liturgy was led by Tricia Norman with participation by members of each of parishes. Adrian Anderson from Camberwell read the First Reading and Erika Smith from Wattle Park the Second. The Psalm was led by Andrew and Madeleine Ryan and it was nice to think of Madeleine’s voice filling the homes of almost one hundred households around our parish. Father Frank read the Gospel for us and Tricia invited us into a period of silent reflection. There was a real sense that we were in a sacred place and moment.
After the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word, Cathy Jenkins, a member of our Parishes Transition Team facilitated our Parish meeting. Cathy had already shared with us her own experience of participating in the First Session of the Plenary Council. You can catch up on her reflections on our parish blog if you missed out!
The first part of our meeting was a presentation of our 2020 Annual Report. The Parish Council Chairs of 2020, Peter Collery (Surrey Hills Wattle Park), Vince Curatore (Camberwell) and Julie Douglas (Deepdene and Balwyn) took us through the highlights of the report and Anton McKernan presented a summary of the financial performance for each parish. Once again if you were unable to be present you can see the full Annual Report, including the finances on our website.
The second part of our meeting was a presentation of the future plans for our parish in relation to governance and structure. Madeleine Jones, from Wattle Park, presented plans to establish a single representative Parish Council for our partnered parishes by 2022. Michael McCloskey, from Camberwell, presented plans to establish the new lay ministry of Parish Life Teams across our parishes. I presented plans to restructure staff roles so that all parish staff work across our three partnered parishes by 2022. Finally, Geoff Rankin, from Deepdene and Balwyn, presented the communication and timeline plans. Frequently asked questions are already available on our website. The details of these plans are all on our website if you missed any of this information.
The third part of our meeting was the consultative part. The meeting was broken up into thirteen small groups (no mean feat on Zoom!). Each group was led by either a Parish Transition Team member or one of our 2020 Parish Council members. Each group was asked three questions:
- From what you have heard here today, or read in the preparation paper, what interests and excites you?
- What would you like to see more across our parishes?
- Further questions and comments or concerns around i) Annual report ii) Future plans.
If you were unable to attend the meeting but would like to have your say then use the contact us button under the ‘Have your say’ section of our Building Stronger Partnerships for Mission
We are in the process of collating the responses from these groups. A report will first go to those who attended the meeting and then will be posted on our website for all parishioners to read.
Our Parish Meeting was attended by members of all three parishes and was a very positive experience. It gave me great hope for our future. We have many talented and committed parishioners who are keen for us to try new things, reach out further and let the gospel lead us into new places.
The members of the Parish Transition team are:-
- Peter Collery and Madeleine Jones from Surrey Hills Wattle Park
- Vince Curatore and Michael McCloskey from Camberwell
- Geoff Rankin and Cathy Jenkins from Balwyn & Deepdene
- Tricia Norman and Fr Trac Nguyen from the Parish Staff Group