A Neighborhood Christian Community is a networking of the faithful within a specific geographic boundary, formed to unite and inspire efforts to live the faith. We are called to be apostles (those who are sent) to all peoples and nations. We are called, also, to be in community with our fellow Catholic Christians. In an effort to try and assist this effort at evangelization and outreach, the “NCCs” were created. Since the time of its inception here at St. Joan of Arc, there have been triumphs and struggles to enact this ministry.
There are aspects of this model of ministry which are very helpful to the mission of the church. Namely, the ministry of hospitality to new parishioners; the outreach to those within our neighborhoods who are in need; the “Second Sunday Socials,” and the rosary groups, prayer groups, and social groups that have been born from the NCCs, which might not have arisen otherwise.
As far as the struggles, it seemed at times that we were trying harder to make all of the aspects of the model successful, as opposed to changing the model. We were spending much time and effort to try and get everyone “on board” with a whole package, as opposed to modifying the package in order to get more “on board.”
Therefore, after consultation with the Pastoral Council, we decided to take those aspects of the NCC model which are effective and build on those, and to let go of those aspects of the model which have proven difficult or ineffective. The model is a good one, and yet like all models, changes over time require adjustments in approach to continue to yield the desired results. It makes sense to re-assess our methods to meet our evolving parish needs.
I would like to thank all of those who personally invested so much time and effort to help bring our large parish together. Sarah Hancock, Mary Beth Lavery and Julie Groh have worked many hours to make our Parish better. Mary Beth Lavery put in thousands of hours to ensure that new parishioners would be welcomed and that others might receive the outreach help that they needed. The NCC Coordinators who served the neighborhoods gave of their time and treasure to build and strengthen connections with fellow parishioners and to offer support to many other ministries. These are the aspects of the NCC that we wish to perpetuate and expand upon. And for this, we need your help.
Those aspects of the NCC model that were successful, we want to continue. If your NCC group got together monthly, they should continue to do that. If your NCC group gathered for the Rosary or prayer, they should continue to do that. If they participated in some form of outreach, or helped make meals, they should continue to do that. Our efforts will now be focused on the “Second Sunday Socials” which were very well received; welcoming and keeping up with new parishioners; and outreach with those in our neighborhoods and beyond.
As we reorganize our efforts, please consider helping to promote and participate in these aspects of our Parish mission. Please contact me directly if you can commit to some aspect of these successful endeavors. Again, I thank those who have worked so hard over the last decade to bring our mission to everyone, and hope to build on their efforts in the years ahead.
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