A return to the parish model would involve training seminarians and young clergy to create core groups of lay people who live into their baptismal promises, having the courage to be missionaries in the territorial parish, caring for the sick, relieving poverty, providing young people with tools to live for Jesus in a secular world.
The new rector should use the first 90 days to establish the new priest as role of a caring pastor of the congregation by spending his or her time listening to as many parishioners as possible. This requires great intentionality on the part of the new rector. By being intentional in these first 90 days the new rector can instill a sense of enthusiasm and develop some early momentum in this crucial time in the life of the congregation.
I have followed Covenant’s dueling blog posts about the ad orientem debate, since we have the issue before us in the parish I am serving: St Luke's in Catskill, New York. In most refitted liturgical spaces, the message of iconoclasm and abandonment is unavoidable. Over the years I have come to find this visual message a poignant embarrassment.
A year-and-a-half into working at St. Augustine's, I am beginning to see some of our successes, opportunities we have yet to engage, and a few challenges that we will need to answer if we are effectively to serve either the needs of our neighborhood today or the Church of tomorrow.