All of the work we do focuses on a congregation’s health and growth. Typically this starts with the Leadership Team, not only as it leads the change processes, but as it works on its own development. The stories below are about strategy and governance, working through conflict (RP), and identifying the most important quality characteristic to focus on (NCD).
Back Story: The Bishop asked FaithCARE to work with this parish. Other attempts by the Diocese to work through the parish’s difficulties had produced little reconciliation. The parish was stuck. A significant minority in the parish were consistently undermining the priest. A long history of discontent had plagued the parish. A failed amalgamation attempt had left them in even greater disarray. For two years, poor communication had left parishioners angry and assigning blame all round.
Action: We held a restorative discussion with the Wardens, one past Warden and the Priest, centered on the incumbent’s leadership style. The successful outcome included an agreement to hold a second facilitated conversation with a larger group including six more past wardens. This circle resulted in an agreement to hold a congregational meeting facilitated by FaithCARE.
Impact: This parish moved forward, starting a visioning and strategic planning exercise.
Back Story: The parish was divided over the abrupt dismissal of their priest: one side felt the priest had been mistreated. The other considered his departure necessary. Both sides were unable to hear the other. Leadership had become ineffective. People were leaving the church. Before a new priest would be appointed, the parish had to find a way forward.
Action: FaithCARE met with both groups independently, then brought them together for a facilitated conversation. The group’s agreement included: the parish offers a service of healing and reconciliation to acknowledge the hurt people had suffered through the experience; more opportunities for those who wished to talk about the impact of the situation on them. FaithCARE also provided a series of workshops to help restore relationships and consider a restorative approach to congregational life.
Impact: A number of relationships were restored. People started to come back to church. Leadership regained its confidence. A new priest was appointed. While some people were still upset the priest had been let go, they were able to move on. Parishioners found ways to start to renew life at the church.
If you, your leadership team and/or your congregation aren’t having the most important conversation because of conflict, or you don’t know where to start, Fordelm can work with you through NCD, FaithCARE or both.