Pastoral Parish Council
Update October 5, 2019 to Parishioners of St. Mark's
In September of 2019, after much prayer and deliberation, the St. Mark’s Parish Pastoral Council made a recommendation to our pastor, Father Owen Burns, that the Council be dissolved. Council would like to share with you the reasons that led to our decision.
Our Parish Council has been struggling for several years to define its core purpose and responsibilities. Our current Council by-laws and constitution were adopted in 1990. Times have changed - within the last year, our Parish has adopted new mission and vision statements and created a Parish Support Team. While we are grateful for the role played by previous Parish Councils at St. Mark’s, and thank those who were members for their service, our current Council believes that we now have an opportunity to transition to a new model that better meets today’s needs, and provides the opportunity to engage parishioners in new ways.
In the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult to find parishioners who are willing to become part of our Parish Council. Elections have not been held in 2 years due to the lack of potential candidates.
As we focus on revitalization at St. Mark’s, we originally intended that Parish Council would evolve into a strategic and visioning body; however, most Council members have shared that this is not an area of personal strength or interest for them. Council members do have a strong desire to share their gifts, talents and skills to revitalize our Parish, but in areas that match their personal skills and interests. By dissolving our Parish Council, our talented Council members will become available to help St. Mark’s grow in other areas.
Chair – St. Mark’s Parish Pastoral Council
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why was the decision made to dissolve St. Mark’s Parish Pastoral Council?
Our Parish Council spent much time in prayer and deliberation during the past year in order to discern how to best serve St. Mark’s as we strive to live our mission to “Go and Make Disciples”. Following many discussions, Council has made a recommendation to Father Burns that the Council be dissolved effective September 30, 2019, and that any current functions be handled through existing ministries, or through groups such as the Parish Support Team.
2. How will the interests of parishioners be represented without an elected Council?
In recent years, there has not been enough interest to hold elections at St. Mark’s. In order to allow Council to continue to function, individual parishioners were approached and asked to serve on Council. At St. Mark’s, we are moving to a model of discernment. This means we want parishioners to reflect upon, and pray about, where they can best serve.
Parishioners are welcome to bring any questions or concerns to the Administrators of the Parish Support Team. You can find more information about the Administrators, and the ministries they support, HERE.
3. Who will provide direction to our various ministries once Council has been dissolved?
The Parish Support Team that was established in 2018 has a number of Administrators. Each of these Administrators is responsible for specific ministries – to act as a support for, and to provide leadership to those ministries, as we work towards our Mission of “Go and Make Disciples”. You can find more information about the Administrators, and the ministries they support, HERE.
4. How will St. Mark’s interact with the Diocese without a Parish Council?
In addition to Father Burns, St. Mark’s has several parishioners working closely with the Diocese in various areas. For example, Bill Stroud is currently the Vice-Chair of the Regional Pastoral Council (Saint John Region) and Cathy Rignanesi is on the Diocesan Finance Council.
5. Aren’t all Parishes required to have a Parish Council?
No. An advisory body is recommended, but not required, at each Parish. At St. Mark’s, the Parish Support Team is providing this function. In the future, if we discern that a body similar to the Parish Pastoral Council is required, it can be reformed.
6. How will Parishioners know what is happening in the Parish without the Parish Council?
The Parish Support Team is developing a plan for regular communication via several mediums – social media, website and/or bulletin. Administrators will also be communicating, as necessary, with people involved in ministries.