As any good leader can tell you, the vision of the leader means nothing unless the followers make it their own. So while I have no doubt that my vision, of having all of Bellingham attending Sacred Heart, is accepted by all of you, it will be merely a pipedream unless the parish as a whole can take it up personally. With this in mind I will be reformatting the way I use the Pastoral Council here at Sacred Heart. In my first three years here I haven’t used the council as effectively as I could have, and I recognize that. The council is supposed to be a representative body that advises me on parish issues and policies. While the council we have now does this I have used them neither often nor to their full depth. I have also done a poor job of letting the parish know who is on the council, which significantly limits the impact they can have. If I want all of Bellingham to join us here we’d better start making this machine work to full capacity.
Our first order of business is to fill out the rolls of the Pastoral Council and make them all visible to the parish. I will be putting all their names and pictures up on the bulletin board in the back of the church and encourage all of you to get to know them as they will be your representatives in helping to form who we are and what we do as a parish. Our current members are Doug Burghart, Kathy Stambaugh, Margaret Karcher, David Day and Audrey Jabbora. Starting in the next couple of weeks I will be inviting more people to join the council as I would like to round out the number of members to eight, which would give us enough depth that meetings would still have a good number even if someone can’t make it.
I would like to have the council formed and running by next September so that we are in a good place when we all start transitioning out of summer mode. This new council will be instrumental in creating goals for the parish as a whole, and also with helping to name parish priorities. One of the greatest pitfalls of an organization like the Church is that we try and do everything, and things don’t always get done well. By limiting ourselves to five or six real priorities we will be able to focus our energy and really pour ourselves out so that things are done well, and within a reasonable time frame. This will then allow us to move on to other priorities, and we will actually end up accomplishing more. This is an exciting time for our parish and I look forward to helping facilitate the parish’s efforts to be Christ for the world.
Prayers Always, Fr. Joseph Altenhofen