A Model for Discerning New Parish Pastoral Council Members

Since the publication of Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines (November, 2010), many of our newly merged parishes have convoked new parish pastoral councils that incorporated membership from each of the merging parishes. Many of these new councils have been in existence for a few years and it may be time to look for new members as terms are concluded.

The diocesan Guidelines have a section, Membership Types, (see page 10) which determines the timing for the addition of new members to the PPC. It states that:

  1. A steering committee for recruitment of members is most helpful to the process.
  2. Each member is asked to serve for a three year term, which may be renewed once.
  3. The terms of office for council members should be staggered in order to assure sufficient stability and continuity.

The section that follows, Recruitment of New Council Members (see page 11) indicates a preference for the Discernment Method as the way to provide for a communal changeover in this leadership ministry.

This Toolkit offers some clarification on the meaning of Discernment and the spiritual nature of the process of consensus that yields new members suited to the pastoral needs of the parish. A timeline for this activity is sketched, as well as a format for arriving at and executing a DISCERNMENT NIGHT.

Included as several attachments:

  • optional bulletin announcements,
  • a sample “in-pew” form for nominating candidates,
  • and a worship aid template which needs to be personalized locally for the DISCERNMENT NIGHT.

The Pastor works with a small steering committee who will organize the local timeline and discernment process. The Parish Pastoral Council takes an active role in the discernment process. The parish as a whole is refreshed on the pastoral planning role of the Council and the qualities expected of those who serve in this ministry.

It is recommended that a facilitator be engaged who will function as a spiritual leader and a moderator who gathers input from the candidates and helps them to move to consensus with the rest of the Council.

Environment suggestions as well as materials needed (flip charts, worship aids, etc.) are described in this Toolkit.

A Model for Discerning New Parish Pastoral Council Members

Sample Bulletin Announcements

In Pew Form

The Discernment Night