The day-to-day operations and governance of parishes have become increasingly complex in recent times, with various legislative requirements and fast moving technology adding to an already long to-do list.
Bishop Bill is committed to parishes being the life and centre of the diocese and ensuring that the pastoral work of the parishes can be the focus of parish priests and their staff. To enable this Bishop Bill has committed resources to the establishment of a diocesan Parish Support Unit. The Unit is designed to support the parishes meet their various financial and legislative obligations, empower them to embrace new technologies and to promote better communication between the diocese and parishes. Parishes will also receive WHS and human resource support and overseas clergy and sisters will be supported through intercultural awareness and the promotion of their roles within the community.
The Parish Support Unit will complement the ongoing relationship that parishes enjoy with the Catholic Development Fund. The Unit comprises two staff, Kim Bruce and Sid Jose. Kim, a HR Consultant, originally assisted parishes become compliant with the Fair Work Act and is now the Parish Liaison Officer acting as a conduit between parishes and the diocese. Sid, who commenced working at the diocese earlier this year, is the Parish Support Accountant and has been implementing a new accounting package at the Cathedral parish, a pilot parish for the Unit. Kim and Sid have also spent considerable time visiting all the parishes, getting to know the staff and finding out about their particular challenges and needs.
“The Parish Support Unit has been set up to support the parishes through better communication and practical assistance. We are hoping to be able to be proactive in providing support. We also want to be able to listen to and respond to parish needs through fostering a collaborative approach across agencies and the parishes. We want to ensure that parishes know that they can ring us at any time and we will be able to direct them to the right person in the diocese who can assist them,” Kim said.
Sid and Kim speak passionately about their roles on the Parish Support Unit and the difference they hope to make to parishes into the future. The reality of an ageing clergy, possible new models of parish and increased lay involvement means that support is paramount and Kim and Sid see their involvement in the Parish Support Unit as a privilege as well as an exciting challenge.
“I am passionate about the church and youth ministry and hope that the Parish Support Unit can help parishes utilise their funds to one day be able to employ youth workers who can help revitalise and sustain parishes,” Sid said.
Kim is amazed at the many unsung heroes within our parishes who work within their communities inspired by their faith and Jesus’ teachings on social justice.
“There are so many people out there serving the church with quiet and unassuming determination. It will be wonderful to be in a position to do something positive and affirming for them and to communicate and celebrate their dedication and service to the wider community,” Kim said.
A parish networking day will be scheduled for early in 2014.
To contact the Parish Support Unit call Kim on 4979 1184 or Sid on 4979 1171.
Stop Press: The Diocesan Human Resources Team has just announced the appointment of Ray Moos as the WHS Project Manager. Ray will continue the implementation of the diocesan WHS Management System in parishes (and across all diocesan agencies) and will provide WHS training to parish employees and volunteers. Ray is a highly experienced WHS professional with a particular flair for the design and delivery of WHS training. Parishes can contact Ray on 4979 1146 or via email.
Article courtesy of Joanne Isaac.