As our Parish Communities are aware, the Melbourne Archdiocese in 2020 proposed a plan that would see the Parishes of Camberwell Deepdene, Balwyn and Surrey Hills Wattle Park come together for the future in a form of Partnership. This proposal is partly driven by declining clergy numbers but importantly, the Archdiocese sees it as a basis for enabling parishes to come together in a stronger structure and in renewal to go forward into the future with a missionary focus into their communities.
In March 2021, a group of approximately 30 people came together to form a combined group representing our Parish Councils, staff and clergy with a view to developing a pathway for the future for consideration by our parish communities. This group in turn appointed a smaller group of 10 people to take the lead as a Transition Team and to develop this plan for consideration.
Since March, the Transition Team has met on numerous occasions to develop a set of proposals for bringing our parishes together in a form of collaborative partnership. On Thursday, 2 September the Transition Team presented its proposals to the Combined Parish Councils Group and after due consideration it was unanimously agreed that:
- We have a series of proposals that we will present to the wider parish communities in the very near term for their consideration and feedback and,
- To commence this process as soon as possible given the current restrictions.
- Commencing September, a new Transition Implementation Team will be formed to take the process forward. This team will be representative of the parishes and will oversee the preparation of a comprehensive information pack that will cover topics such as the governance role of the Parish Council for the partnering parishes, staffing, an extensive Q & A pack, and proposal for significantly increased lay involvement in leadership teams of the parishes.
- In October/November 2021, the Transition Implementation Team will commence a consultative process with the wider parish communities via parish meetings and other communication processes which will have a focus on:
- Presentation of the information to parishioners for their consideration and feedback
- Commence a process to appoint a new Parish Council and other leadership teams for the parishes
- In December 2021, the Transition Implementation team will oversee finalisation of the appointments to the Parish Council and other parish leadership teams.
Further information can be found on the Church Renewal page of our website where your feedback is also welcome.
By Peter Collery