, 07 January, 2020 / 12:52 AM
A workshop seeking to create awareness among clergy, religious, and laity ministering in parishes about “professional and systematic” ways of Church administration and management has been planned from Tuesday, January 7 at Tangaza University College (TUC), a Kenya-based Catholic institution of higher learning, an organizer of the four-day meeting has told ACI Africa.
“We are moving away from the traditional way of running parishes to a very professional and systematic way of managing parishes,” Sr. Sr. Agnes Njeri who is among those coordinating the program said in an interview Monday, January 6 referencing the significance of the workshop and added, “when the Church is well managed it means the dioceses are well managed and finally the global Church is well managed.”
“When priests are ordained, they really don’t have the expertise of management since they are taught theology and philosophy during their formation and immediately after ordination they are taken to parishes to manage, so they really don’t have the skills, yet we have professionals in our Churches and they expect things to run professionally,” Kenyan Sr. Njeri who heads TUC’s Institute of Centre for Leadership and Management (CLM) explained.
She added, “We want to provide them with skills to know how to manage parish finances, how to manage their time, the human resources and how to effectively carry out the parish council (meetings), that is why we want to impart those skills to them.”
Speaking about beneficiaries, the member of the congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph-Mombasa (SSJ) said, “The workshop is meant for priests, deacons, religious men and women, seminarians and lay men who are actively involved in parish ministry so that eventually the skills will help them know how well to manage the Churches.”
To be convened under the theme, “Pastoral leadership and pastoral management,” the four-day workshop is expected to cover a number of topics including servant leadership, communication and effective meetings, parish communication and marketing, pastoral planning, effective parish councils, time management, human resource management of the parish, resource mobilization and fundraising.
The various organizations behind the training include the Congregation of the Mission the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers, Vincentian center for Church and Society from St. John’s University in New York, and TUC’s Institute of CLM.
Some 100 participants are expected to take part in the training, with 70 drawn from various Kenyan dioceses including Nakuru, Ngong, Nyeri, Nairobi, Kisumu and Kitale and 30 from TUC’s Institute of Spirituality and Religious Formation (ISRF), CLM, deacons studying Theology in TUC and the Vicar general of Cape Palmas diocese in Liberia.
“We normally have such workshops in the first week of January, which began in 2018,” Sr. Njeri said and added, “After this workshop, some staff from TUC and De Paul center will be taken through the training of trainers from January13.”
“When the priests are given the training, they may need their parish councils to be trained so we will be moving to train the parish councils in different dioceses,” she explained.
“There is a lot of improvement in dioceses where the workshop has been conducted,” Sr. Njeri said, giving the example of Kenya’s Mombasa Archdiocese where parishes are being effectively run, “marketing has improved so much, they have come up with human resource manual for the workers and there is improvement on local fund raising.”
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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa