Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 24, 1999
Parish restructuring leads diocese to revise parish council formation
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Edmonton Archdiocese is updating its formation program for members of parish councils.
The Together in Ministry program, also known as TIM, is being revised to incorporate changes in the local Church in the past decade, said program coordinator Lynne Duigou.
TIM was started in 1991 and "things have changed a lot in the Church since then," observed Duigou. "We, of course, had the (archdiocesan) synod and the restructuring of parishes."
Duigou, a retired school administrator, took over as TIM director in January. She replaces the late Sister Joan Kirk.
TIM consists of a manual and a workshop designed to help members of parish pastoral councils understand the operation of a council and their role in it.
It describes parish council service as a ministry rather than a position where members do practical work.
Up to 700 parish council members may have taken the TIM program in the last nine years. Those who took the workshop in the past "would need" to take it again, Duigou said.
Both the manual and the workshop are being revised to help parish leaders "see their role and responsibilities in the light of the new changes taking place within the archdiocese," she said.
About 12 people from across the archdiocese have already made a two-year commitment to become workshop facilitators.
They will attend a training session June 5 before giving the workshops to parish councils throughout the archdiocese.
"We want to train (parish council members) so they realize this is a ministry that they are involved in," Duigou said.
"We want to give them the tools so they can serve their parish, not necessarily by doing all the jobs, but by being leaders, by being people with vision."
The content of the manual "has been made more readable, more user-friendly we hope," Duigou said. "And it's more up to date; we have used current Church literature that is out."
It suggests ways in which parish councils can help when their priest has been transferred and "how parish councils can assist in the merging and the twinning and the clustering of parishes."
The manual contains suggestions on what new parish councils might look like after restructuring.
When two parishes merge, parish councils must work together to create new structures and new ways of representing both parishes in one new parish council, Duigou said. They must also make decisions about finances, buildings and bank accounts.