Newsletter for U.S. Bishops Sponsored
by the NCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry
|This newsletter is developed by the NCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry. The purpose of this newsletter is to highlight lay ministry trends, resources, models, and other key information that may be helpful to the U.S. Bishops. Please forward suggestions and comments to:
NCCB Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women, and Youth
3211 4th Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194
Oakland Diocese and Holy Names College Co-sponsor Ministry Formation Program
The Diocese of Oakland and Holy Names College have announced the cosponsorship of a program, leading to a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, which is designed for men and women who are engaged in ministry in the diocese and who wish to deepen their theological grounding and perfect the practical skills required for the work. The curriculum reflects the standards established by the National Association for Lay Ministry and aims at the integration of intellectual, spiritual, and ministerial practice.
Requirements include course work in theological studies, scripture studies, ministerial resources and ministerial skills. After the foundational courses, students will design a final ministerial project in an area of specialization related to their specific area of pastoral duties.
One of the goals of the program is to form a community of learners who will participate with their peers in prayer, faith sharing and exploration of ministerial identity. Participants will also have two retreat days each year as part of their program. As an integral part of their theological reflection students will be challenged to engage in socio-cultural analysis of their particular ministerial context. At the same time the program will encourage them to develop a perspective that is responsive to the multicultural and ecumenical realities of the diocese and to the mission of the Church in the contemporary world.
Further information from 800-430-1321 or www.hnc.edu.
Spanish Edition of Update Begins
With this issue, a Spanish edition of Lay Ministry Update is inaugurated. It is included with this mailing. The Spanish edition is provided in response to many requests and will, we hope, encourage the greater exchange of information about lay ecclesial ministry and among all lay ministry formation programs within the country. Comments and suggestions, particularly about the usefulness of the new edition, are always encouraged and welcome.
Los Angeles Names Advisory Board for Pastoral Associate Program
The Department for Pastoral Associates of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has named a sixteen person advisory board. The department, which was established in 1999, is designed to accompany candidates in discerning an ecclesial vocation, as well as in those processes that lead to ministry placement and archdiocesan certification. It will insure that pastoral associates have the spiritual formation, academic education, and the necessary skills and experience to meet the demands of this ministry. It will also serve as a resource to pastors seeking pastoral associates, provide information with regard to interested and qualified candidates, and support them in addressing related issues and concerns.
The advisory board will assist the department as it continues to shape its vision and to refine its processes and procedures for certification. Members of the board include a regional bishop, the Director for Ministerial Services, pastoral associates and pastors from different pastoral regions and ethnic communities. The board will also include representatives from the three graduate programs in the archdiocese (Loyola Marymount University, Mount Saint Mary's College, and St. John's Seminary). All three institutions have been collaborating in the preparation of a core curriculum which can be completed at any of the institutions and are currently reviewing their respective programs in light of the needs of the archdiocese. They have recently agreed to work together to develop a joint distance-learning program that would lead to a graduate degree.
The position description for a pastoral associate developed by the department defines pastoral associates as men and women who have discerned a call to express their baptismal commitment in full time pastoral service to the Church. They are co-workers with the pastor, ministering with him in a uniquely collaborative way, acknowledging his authority. The responsibilities of the pastoral associate will vary from one parish to another depending on the individual's gifts/skills, other staff resources and the specific needs of the particular community.
The archdiocese requires that all pastoral associates demonstrate competencies in three areas: Spiritual formation, Academic preparation (defined as a master's degree in theology, pastoral or religious studies) and Practical skills and competencies for ministry.
The department has also worked collaboratively with similar office in the dioceses of Orange and San Bernardino. The three dioceses are proposing like visions, criteria and processes for certification. . They recently co-sponsored two workshops for those working with lay ministers, one on distance learning and one on the ATS Profiles of Ministry.
Further information: Mary Genino, RSHM, 213-637-7533, email: SrMGenino@la-archdiocese.org.
From Our Tradition . . .
Diocesan Ministerium - a Helpful Term
All relationships in the church are both personal (because we are in communion with each other) and ministerial (because our communion is directed to mission). As one of the subcommittee's conclusions rightly points out, "One of the roles of the local bishop is to maintain the dynamic communio of vocations within the diocese by helping to discern and to encourage all vocations, by fostering collaboration and by acting as a center of unity" (Conclusion 18). [Lay Ecclesial Ministry: The State of the Questions]
Thus, like his relationship to priests and deacons, a bishop's relationship with lay ministers cannot exist in the abstract and is real only insofar as it is expressed in a loving communion which is focused on preaching the Gospel, gathering into community, worshipping God and serving those is need....
Such ministry [lay ecclesial] is not merely a parochial or local task - and neither are the relationships by which it is best accomplished. That is why lay ministers' sense of who they are and what they are doing is best seen in light of the bishops' role of fostering the communion and mission of the diocesan church....
[The] episcopal function of ministerial oversight is at the service of communion. ... Precisely as a center of ecclesial unity, the bishop preserves communion among the various vocations and ministries in the local church, protects their distinctive character and officially designates ministers for a particular service.
For all these reasons, I think it would be helpful if we allowed a term to enter our vocabulary and begin to use it regularly - just as the phrase lay ecclesial minister has become part of our church lexicon - namely, the term diocesan ministerium. By this term, I mean all those who exercise in the local church an official ecclesial ministry, whether they are ordained or not. By fostering a sense of ministry at this level, I believe the bishop can more readily form a relationship with the ecclesial ministers - as he does with presbyters and deacons. He can also help such ministers avoid the temptations of individualism and parochialism, the antidote to which is precisely this sense of a diocesan ministerium to which they belong together with the clergy.
Bishop Matthew F. Clark, The Relationship of the Bishop and the Lay Ecclesial Minister, Origins, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 677-678.
From Our Jewish & Christian Neighbors. . .
Rostered Lay Ministers Carry Out Significant Ministries on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
In a recent article Carol L. Schickel, herself a rostered lay minister, explains the status and ministry of the almost 900 men and women who serve the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The men and women who are rostered as associates in ministry, deaconesses, and diaconal ministers are commissioned or consecrated for a public ministry. They may be called by a congregation, a synod "or the church-wide expression for an intentional ministry on behalf of the church to proclaim the gospel and exemplify a servant life for all the baptized people of God."
The three rosters were established when the ELCA was formed in 1988, although the roles and ministries have long histories. The ELCA Deaconess Community has its roots in 19th century Germany and prepares and supports women who are committed to a life of service to church and society. The associate in ministry roster represents a range of specializations and occupations, including those who served in lay ministry in predecessor church bodies as deacons, teachers, professional lay leaders, church staff, and deaconesses. The diaconal ministry roster, rooted in biblical and church heritage, was established in 1993 as an expanded understanding of ministry by the Division for Ministry.
Rostered lay ministers serve in settings and positions other than the traditional pastor's role. They serve as educators, chaplains, ministry coordinators and administrators, spiritual directors, youth and family ministers, and musicians. They serve as synod and churchwide staff as well as faculty and staff at colleges and seminaries.
Writing as a rostered associate in ministry, Ms. Schickel comments: "We partner with pastors to connect the faith community with our culture's needs for healing and care. We are lay people but are set apart by the church, acknowledged as theologically prepared. We are lay people who bring a perspective to ministry not provided by others (we are sometimes seen as more accessible than our clergy sisters and brother), valued by those who fear religious authority, or who feel alienated by the church of their past."
A 1999 survey of rostered lay ministers identified five priorities: 1. To educate all members of the church about who rostered lay leaders are, what they do, and how they can serve the church. 2. To provide increased communication and opportunities for rostered lay leaders to gather and meet. 3. To standardize appropriate aspects of all rostered ministries. 4. To develop effective partnerships and encourage shared ministry. 5. To give ongoing attention to questions raised by The Study of Ministry about how we order and define our ministry, as well as a commitment to empower and prepare strong and competent leaders of all ethnic backgrounds for public ministry.
Carol L. Schickel, "Who We Are," Lutheran Partners, November/December 2000, pp.1-2
From Around the World. . .
O MOTHER CHURCH!
EXULT IN GLORY!
THE RISEN SAVIOR
SHINES UPON YOU!