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Bundaberg Parishioners attend the Divine Renovation Conference

13 March, 2023
Divine Renovation Conference delegates – Kaye Beston, Cheryl Petersen, Norm Whyte & David Batt

From February 10th to February 12th, we were pleased to have four parishioners attend the Divine Renovation Australia Conference hosted by St. Declan’s Parish, Penshurst, Sydney. David Batt, Kaye Beston, Cheryl Petersen and Norm Whyte were our representatives. Divine Renovation is the title of the book of the same name by Fr James Mallon, a Canadian priest, with the subtitle that impresses many parishes, “From a Maintenance to Mission Parish.” The Divine Renovation movement has taken off in parishes across the world.

500 participants from across Australia and New Zealand attended, including two Bishops and 70 Priests. 90% of Australian dioceses were represented.

Norm Whyte lists some of his lasting impressions here:

  • I was struck by the caring and enthusiastic welcome by St. Declan’s parishioners of all ages. So good to see teenagers, their parents and retired parishioners helping to make the Conference a success.
  • So many good news stories from parishioners from the parishes that are using some or all the Divine Renovation structures and initiatives – alive and growing parishes which are “always inviting” and “casting the net outside the boat”. Fr. James Mallon said, “We are the only “club” that exists for non-members”. “The boat has been turned upside down – we need to learn to walk on the ceiling.”
  • The parishes which use the Alpha program tell wonderful stories of growth, healing, re-engagement, and conversion. Alpha is used as a major ongoing outreach vehicle.
  • Declan’s have at least six young musicians (some with young families). These musicians provided energetic, soulful and uplifting music as a major component for every major segment of the Conference. Hearing the enthusiastic chorus of 500 voices gave me goosebumps.

Some key points from Fr. Chris Ryan PP of St. Declan’s:

  • Divine Renovations is needed “for such a time as this”.
  • It’s all about Servant Leadership.
  • Leading out of a Team model.
  • Lead with fortitude and humility.

Some key points from Fr. Simon Lobo CC Parish Priest of St. Benedict Parish, Halifax, Nova Scotia. “The game plan for Evangelisation” is:

  • Discover Jesus – try Alpha.
  • Grow together.
  • Worship God – pray and give at Sunday Mass
  • Serve others – participate in Ministries.
  • Go out – love, share and invite.
  • Critical Conversations have 3 Necessary Ingredients: 1) High Stakes 2) Strong Emotions 3) Differing Opinions

Effective Communication: St. Declan’s parish have 18 skilled and gifted volunteers looking after different aspects of the parish communication, most of which is electronic. Every Parish Ministry has a part to play in communication. A reminder from St. Declan’s Communication Team:

The communications ministry is one that permeates the whole parish and supports all other ministries. It isn’t limited in its scope the way other ministries are. If your communications are of genuine quality, your parish will meet people where they are at, and offer them hope, connection and a vision they want to be part of. Then your parish will go a long way towards cooperating with the Holy Spirit in building a renewed church.