20/6/10 – Report on Guiding Concepts Meeting

Church Renovation ProcessLast weekend, our parish held a second meeting with liturgical advisor Fr Stephen Hackett MSC to continue the work of our Church Renewal Process.  A good number of people were in attendance, and we thank those who came along and took part.

The purpose of this meeting was to begin the development of some guiding concepts for the project.  These concepts would form the parish’s own contribution to a design brief.  A design team will take our guiding concepts, as well as the existing plans of the building, relevant church documents, and diocesan and government policies.  Their task will be to develop a plan for our church building which not only meets the various requirements for church buildings, but also reflects our unique nature, beliefs and values as the parish of Wentworthville.

With this in mind, people began to identify areas of need within not only our church building, but within our broader parish community.  Those present were then invited to work in groups (based on their particular topics of interest) to consider these needs in greater detail.  Groups then reported back to all present on the fruit of their deliberations.

The topics discussed covered a range of needs within our community, including Liturgical Ministry, the Disabled and the Elderly, Building and Facilities, Community, Inclusion, Mission, Spirituality, the Liturgical Environment, Finance, Children’s Liturgy of the Word and Devotional Prayer Spaces in the Church.

Over the next few months, a committee formed of members from the Liturgy Committee, Parish Pastoral Council and participants at previous renewal process meetings will take the large amount of data collected and formulate these into the guiding concepts.  Once a draft has been produced, it will be presented to the Liturgy Committee, Pastoral Council and all parishioners for feedback and comment prior to completion.

Thank you again to everyone who supported the meeting and shared their ideas and hopes for our community into the future.

1/11/09 – Renovation Concept, Consideration 12

The work of the Liturgy Committee to date, including consultation with parishioners, has resulted in the development of a renovation concept. This concept includes a number of matters we would like considered in plans for a renovated church. One consideration for our renovation plans is:

The completion of all necessary modifications to the building to allow the full participation in liturgical celebrations of people with disabilities

Those who have contributed to the conversation so far believe this is important because:

It is essential that all forms of the liturgy be completely accessible to persons with disabilities since these forms are the essence of the spiritual tie that binds the Christian community together. To exclude members of the parish from these celebrations of the life of the Church, even by passive omission, is to deny the reality of that community. Accessibility involves far more than physical alterations to parish buildings. Realistic provision must be made for persons with disabilities to participate fully in the eucharist and other liturgical celebrations such as the sacraments of reconciliation, confirmation and anointing of the sick. (Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities; November 1978, revised 1989)

Church buildings have to facilitate many liturgical and devotional activities in addition to the celebration of Mass… They have to accommodate many different people as well. In the quest to provide an inclusive and hospitable place, access to all parts of the building should be equally available to all. As an instance of this, particular focus in recent years has been on legal changes favouring access for those with disabilities. The vocation of the community is to announce the Gospel to everyone and this has to be expressed not only in what the Church does but also in the buildings it uses. (Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Consecrated for Worship, 12)