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
Three Ministry Associations Collaborate in Publication on Ministry Standards
The National Association for Lay Ministry (NALM), The National Conference of Catechetical Leaders (NCCL) and the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministers (NFCYM) are collaborating on the publication of a book on common competency standards for the ministries they serve. The book, expected to be available in summer 1999, is the work of Rev. Joseph Merkt, S.T.D., Director of Ministry Studies Programs at Spalding University, Louisville, KY.
Each of the associations has developed competency standards which were subsequently approved by the USCC Commission on Certification and Accreditation. Separately, the three associations identified the competencies, organized as personal, theological, and professional, that are to be used for certifying pastoral ministers, pastoral associates, parish life coordinators, directors of religious education, and youth ministers.
Those competency standards were subsequently analyzed by Father Merkt and MaryMargaret Cooper, SCN, D. Min. Director of the Ministry Formation program at Brescia College, Owensboro, KY. Together they identified twenty-six common competencies which could then be supplemented by "specialized competencies" for the specific ministry.
The publication, tentatively titled Common Competency Goals for Ecclesial Lay Ministry, will include the history and development of the movement toward competencies in each ministry as well as the common competencies. It will also include appendices on the history, mission, goals and codes of ethics for each of the associations.
Further information about the publication is available from the National Association for Lay Ministry (773-241-6050).
Studies Show Growing Number of Laity in Religious Education/ Catechetical Leadership Roles
Two recently published studies of diocesan religious education directors and parish catechetical leaders show the growing number of laity involved in such ministries. Laity in both studies, which were done by Dr. Thomas P. Walters and Rita Tyson Walters of St. Meinrad Seminary, does not include vowed religious.
In the spring of 1998, 60% of the diocesan directors of religious education responding to the survey were lay. (Responses were received from 141dioceses.) In a 1989 survey, 38% of the directors were lay. In a study of parish catechetical leaders conducted in November 1996, 78% were identified as lay. The first study of this group, conducted by the National Association of Parish Coordinators/Directors of Religious Education (NPCD) in 1986, reported that 67% were lay.
In both groups women are in the majority - 59% of the diocesan leaders and 87% of the parish leaders. The percentage of women in diocesan leadership positions has increased by 3% since 1989; in parish positions it has been relatively unchanged since 1986 when it was 86%.
Since 1986 , there has been a steady increase in the percentage of married coordinators and directors administering parish programs (51% to 62%). The percentage of married diocesan directors has increased from 32% in 1989 to 47% in the recent survey.
Among the diocesan leaders, there has been an increase of 3% in the number of Hispanics since 1989, although the figure is still only 9%. The survey of parish leaders did not include racial origin.
There has been a significant change in the age of diocesan directors. In 1989, 50% of the directors were between the ages of 31 and 50. Today, 67% are over 50 years of age. The age range for almost three-fourths of the parish leaders is 40-59, a percentage which has remained relatively constant for the past seven years.
The percentage of diocesan directors with master's degrees has remained constant since 1989 at 96% (13% have doctoral degrees). Among parish leaders 60% have masters degrees (2% have doctoral degrees). Fifty-three per cent responded no to a question about requiring a master's degree of persons with the title of Director of Religious Education.
Both groups have seen some improvements in compensation. In 1992, 16% of parish leaders earned $27,000 or more; that percentage was 37% in 1996. In 1989, 14% of diocesan leaders earned more than $30,000; in 1998 , it was 66% with 33% earning more than $40,000.
Catechetical Leaders: A Statistical Profile, NCEA, Washington, DC, (202-337-6232). National Profile of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education, NCCL, Washington, DC, (202-636-3826)
From Our Tradition . . .
Ministry - a Vocation and a Career
If our parishes are to be ministerially complete, they must have an adequate number of capable ministering persons. As we have learned from our past, no one person can do it all alone. ... As we look to the future, parishes will have access to training facilities and institutions where individuals who feel called to ministry may go for training and formation in a variety of ministries. In addition to the specific "pastoral" ministries, there will also be opportunities to develop general leadership skills in individuals who will be able to see the big picture and integrate all the pastoral ministries for the good of the faith community.
In order to have adequate and skilled staff to provide ministry in our parishes,... the church should pay just and fair salaries to all staff members. On the surface this seems reasonable and relatively simple. ... Just and fair salaries must be coupled with just and fair employment environments that afford our ministers with a sense of "job" security and well being. In the church of the future, ministry will be both a vocation and a career option for which people will seek the necessary education and formation and prepare for their life's work. They will be paid fair and just salaries; they will work in an environment with clear expectations and they will have opportunity for advancement. ...
We need to provide opportunities for both vocation and career ministries....There has been a tendency, and perhaps a tradition, to think of vocations being solely related to the ordained and vowed religious. Although lay ministry is a vocation too, it is also subject to state and federal labor law. In looking at lay ministry in this way, it will be very important to establish the necessary infrastructure for employment in the church. Most Reverend Robert N. Lynch, Bishop of St. Petersburg, Keynote Address to National Association of Church Personnel Administrators, November 5, 1998.
--Most Reverend Robert N. Lynch, Bishop of St. Petersburg, Keynote Address to National Association of Church Personnel Administrators, November 5, 1998.
From Our Jewish & Christian Neighbors. . .
Methodist Deaconess Program Adjusts to Changes within the Church
When the three branches forming the Methodist church merged in 1939, there were over one thosand deaconesses, a position officially recognized in the church since 1888. Some of the deaconesses, according to Betty Purkey, executive secretary for the deaconess office at the Board of Global Ministries, "had been doing what pastors do (outside of the sacraments); they were really a viable and vital force in the church."
When the Methodist General Conference, the denomination's top legislative body, approved the ordination of women in 1956, the deaconess movement began to decline. When the church created the categories of lay workers and diaconal ministers in the 1970's some women chose that option. But after the 1996 General Conference eliminated the category of diaconal minister, the position of deaconess became the only recognized avenue of work for a lay woman who does not wish to become a deacon or an elder.
Currently there are 71 active deaconesses working in a variety of areas: community outreach, childrean and youth ministries, rural or urban ministries, social services, nursing and teaching. Although they look quite different from their historical sisters of the late nineteenth century, today's deaconesses continue to share a lifetime call of service to the church and a commitment to ministries of love, justice and service.
In addition to thier full-time commitment, deaconess candidates have at least a bachelor's degree or the equivalent and work in a church- related or helping profession, such as teaching, social work or community developemnt. Once commissioned, a deaconess finds her own job, which is then approved by the bishop of her conference, While many deaconessess do not work directly in local churches, they usually are connected to one. Deaconesses often do volunteer work with churches as well. A major emphasis is the supportive community that links the deaconesses together.
Further information from Deaconess Program Office, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries 212-870-3850