Staffing Update

From the Pastors

From the Pastors:

In consultation with staff and our parish pastoral councils, we have decided to share some staff between St. Columbkille and St. Joseph the Worker.

We are aware that parishioners of both parishes have in the past expressed some concern about losing its parish identity, and are opposed to any attempt to merge the parishes. We hear you loud and clear. We believe the sharing of certain staff members will actually enhance parish identity and prevent conversations about merging. By being good stewards, both St. Joseph the Worker and St. Columbkille can survive and thrive.

Both St. Columbkille and St. Joseph have had or will be having changes in personnel. St. Columbkille has been functioning short-handed and it is a strain on staff and parish life. St. Joseph has two changes: Julie Hill has resigned as part-time Coordinator of Religious Education and took a position with the Franciscan Sisters starting this summer. Deacon Bill Biver took on additional ministries over the past several years and wants a more reasonable workload.

Because of these changes, we asked the question: how should we address our staffing needs while providing the best pastoral care, faith formation, and overall experience of parishioners of both parishes? The following is our response.

  1. A shared full-time Coordinator of Religious Education for K-8th Instead of creating two part-time positions, we thought that one full-time coordinator could provide a better experience for those involved. While we will maintain two distinct experiences, many of the “behind the scenes” operations are the same. This position will be split with 25 hours committed to St. Joseph and 15 hours committed to St. Columbkille. The Coordinator’s office will be housed at St. Joseph.
  2. A shared full-time Coordinator of Pastoral Care. This person reaches out to those who are home-bound, in some type of assisted living, or some other situations that does not allow them to come to worship with us. Because many of the places, such as Stonehill, are utilized by parishioners of both parishes, we thought this was a natural fit for a shared position. We asked Alice Noethe to take on this role for both parishes. This position will be split with 25 hours committed to St. Columbkille and 15 hours committed to St. Joseph. Alice’s office will be housed at St. Columbkille.
  3. A shared Confirmation program. We believe a single Confirmation program between the two parishes can be the best and most effective experience for our students. Because the Confirmation program is guided so closely by the diocese, we have the same goals and objectives. While Emma Schoop has a range of responsibilities in High School Youth Ministry, part of her salary will be paid by St. Columbkille and we will share all expenses for Confirmation.
  4. Addressing St. Columbkille’s Website needs. Adam Mumm, St. Joseph’s Communication Coordinator has proven his value in developing St. Joseph’s website. We thought his talents could be shared with St. Columbkille as well. We agreed to reduce Adam’s time at St. Joseph by 4 hours per week so that he would be able to contract with St. Columbkille for 10 hours per week. While this is not a shared position, having the same set of eyes looking at both bulletins will help us share information on program offerings of interest to both parishes.
  5. Addressing other needs at St. Columbkille. Currently, we do not plan on having a Pastoral Associate at St. Columbkille. We plan to address specific needs with part-time positions. It appears to us that a single person is spread too thin across many areas. We are looking at having a Coordinator of Liturgy and a Coordinator of Parish Life. We will see if we can fulfill these roles from within the parish members before going through a formal recruitment process.

We are excited about these changes. While requiring more coordination and organization by staff-members and parishioners, we see the following benefits:

  • It will offer more options and greater flexibility for schedules and family needs without attempting or paying for duplication.
  • It will allow us to put more resources into certain programs. The most concrete example will be Confirmation. Our participation in and resources for the program will be elevated and hopefully, the students will have a richer, more meaningful experience.
  • It will create a better working environment for our staff members. Because of the see-saw nature of parish ministry, sometimes staff members do not feel like they have a full schedule and they take on more ministries. When business happens in all areas of ministry, they can be overwhelmed by demands. We believe the shared position will truly be full-time positions and be different enough where the workload will be balanced out more evenly throughout the year.

Should we simply do less?

You could be asking the question: Do we need these ministries or should we simply do less ministry? Obviously, we believe we are addressing vital ministries. How we take care of our youth and our elderly has to be a measure of a healthy parish. By sharing these positions, we are striving to be good stewards of your gifts as well.

While we know we have been here for less than a year, we ask you to support these changes by a greater sharing of your time, talent and treasure. (As you can see in the bulletin, we need your immediate financial support to meet the budget we inherited last year.) We are following a shared-ministry model when we reflected on these changes. We believe part of being a good pastor or staff member is to call forward your gifts. Even when it might appear “easier to do myself”, it is our responsibility to invite you to deeper participation in the life of our parishes. We are all called and graced to be good stewards: “returning to the Lord out of gratitude from what God has given me with increase.” (Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response. US Bishops 2003).

We pray that all of these changes will bring about an enriched encounter with Christ for all to see—and share. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Respectfully yours in Christ,

Fr. Tom
Fr. David
Fr. Paul