Friday, January 29, 2010

Thoughts on Ministry after 10 years

After 10 years in the Diocese of Broken Day, Ann Maree Whenman is moving on from the role of Director of the Parish Support Unit. Ann Maree has been a great supporter of the Parish Internship since it started. At a farewell gathering with the staff of the Diocesan Curia, Ann Maree shared her thoughts on ministry and work. Below is an extract of her speech. Ann Maree has served in a variety of ministry positions; many interns who are beginning in ministry might find these insights helpful.

Facets of Ministerial Spirituality:

Ministry not a job, ministry comes from the Spirit of God and from the individual’s personality.

Discernment: Ministry begins with openness to the “other”, the minister seeks ways of learning to be a prophet and an apostle. The abilities to listen and to serve require time apart, times of reflection and prayer. These nourish the analysis of grace in people and establish the point of departure for ministry.

Generosity: Ministry must presume a spontaneous and cheerful generosity. Service, difficult assistance, extra hours, disinterest in honour and possessions are the atmosphere of the minister.

Zeal: The minister needs to be something of a self starter, developing a spiritual life that acknowledges to importance of grace for living the Christian ideal, that recognises energy and instruction, but also accepts the limits of personality. There must be an energy and enthusiasm for the ministry, a willing and happy interest in being with other people and speaking to them of God’s work in Christ and his Spirit. Zeal needs to be filled with emotional exuberance.

Fish Philosophy

Choose your attitude: There is always a choice about the way you approach your work, even if there is not a choice about the activities you undertake in your work.

Play: Have fun in the working day – let things flow

Make their day: Engage people and invite them to join in – focussing ones attention on ways to make another person’s day provides a constant flow of positive feelings.

Be present: The person you are with or the meeting you are currently in engages your undivided attention and energy.

Ann Maree Whenman

As Ann Maree finishes her time as Director of the Parish Support Unit, we would like to thank her for all the support of the Parish Internship Program. We wish her well in her new position at the Australian Catholic University.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Agi Reefman joins the team

On Monday 18th January 2010, Agi Reefman started in the Parish Support Unit as a Special Project Officer.

Agi joins the Parish Support Unit with two key areas of responsibility:

1. Support of the Parish Internship Program

2. Human Resource Management in Parishes.

It is great to have Agi on board to assist Parish Interns with their ministries. Agi will be meeting with groups of interns over the coming weeks. If you have any questions please email Agi at the Diocesan Office:

Mark McDonald

Making your hours count

Are you struggling to get enough hours for your long book each week? Are you reaching the end of the first six months with less than 100 hours of service? If you find yourself in this position, there is no need to panic. However I would encourage you to stop worrying about the hours and focus on the ministry time you are doing. Ministry is more than getting hours chalked up; it is about being with people.

If you are someone who is making the hours each week, are you focused on the people you are serving or filling out the log book? Paid ministry staff have to face this issue all the time because they have to justify their ministry hours. Whilst interns and paid staff have to justify their ministry hours with time sheets and log books, the focus should always be on the people you are ministering to.

When we work in a secular job that we don’t like, we watch the clock tick by because we are only there for the money. We don’t make the time count because we are counting time. When I worked as a check out operator for a major supermarket I didn’t interact with customers because I was there to earn money. Have you ever been in a job like that?

Ministry is different to a job because we are serving God not our employer. As an intern you are building the Church not building a company’s profits. As an intern, here are four things to remember to make your service hours count:

1. Spend time building people not hours – focus on the people you are serving rather than watching the clock. See every interaction with people as time to build them up and support them in their journey with God.
2. Focus on the ministry not the log book – work for the benefit of your ministry rather than just filling the log book with hours of service. Even if you clock your hours for one week, continue to serve the ministry for the rest of the week for free.
3. Every experience has a lesson – you can learn from everything even the failures. Ministry doesn’t always go well, whilst you can still count the hours, what have you learnt the lessons from ministry experiences that failed and the ones that succeeded?
4. Start small and build from there – don’t expect big results in the first Volunteer Service Period but cast your eyes on a big vision. We need big visions because our God is a big God.

What ministry tips have you learnt so far in your ministry? Please leave a comment so that others can learn from your mistakes and successes. Please leave a comment to tell us struck you most about this post.
Mark McDonald