Planting Seeds Of Conversion
A Service of the Parish Evaluation Project
February, 2010Planting Seeds Of Conversion Bishop Ken Untener, past bishop of the Saginaw Diocese, wrote, “What is the ambience of our parish church? For the most part, the people there tend to be clean-cut, well-behaved, decent-living, middle-class, socially acceptable. . . There are some other types of people, too, but not many are in most parishes. Many less socially and/or less religiously acceptable people don’t figure a church is the kind of place where they ought to be. Parishes don’t intentionally screen these people out. It just works out that way.” (Quoted in the “Little Blue Book” for January 3, 2010) What can be done to help a parish become more accepting and inviting to a wider social/ethnic spectrum? One option is group learning and dialogue using JustMatters. JustMatters In the July, 2007 Newsletter we describe the JustFaith process taking place in many Catholic parishes across the country. This is not for the fainthearted. It demands a commitment of thirty weeks. A new approach has been introduced that is much shorter in duration. Six topics are now being offered, lasting from six to eight weeks. Each group includes eight to fifteen people who pray together, read materials, listen to speakers, watch videos and dialogue about an area of social concern, culminating in a call to some form of action. (See www.justfaith.org/programs/justmatters.html) Six Modules
- Living Solidarity: Government, the Federal Budget and the Common Good. “What kind of society do we wish to become?” is the question that engages people for the eight sessions. The focus is on values, not opinions, and concentrates on the federal budget as a moral document.
- Crossing Borders: Migration, Theology, and the Human Journey. Immigration is a complex issue that has no simple solutions. The effort of these eight weeks is to find a common ground and discover more about people who are on the move in every part of the world.
- God’s Creation, Cries for Justice, Climate Change: Impact and Response. These eight sessions emphasize how climate change will affect the poor, both home and abroad, and the hazards of doing nothing. The module deals with mitigation and adaptation options in the face of this crisis.
- Prison Reform: The Church of the Second Chance. Comprehensive prison reform is one focus of this module, but so is centering prayer, Christian reconciliation and redemption. A deep spirituality and sense of humanity provide paths for renewing this system of incarceration.
- New Wineskins: Forming Mission-Based Communities. This module combines reading and prayer designed to explore various aspects and realities of small communities. It helps people discern whether to form a small community based on a mission to and with the vulnerable.
- Engaging Our Conflicts: An Exploration of Nonviolent Peacemaking. The focus of this eight-week module is on the power and potential of non-violent peacemaking in our lives and in the world at large.