Six ministry areas exist at the parish, deanery and diocesan levels. These areas overlap. Concerns such as vocations, stewardship, evangelization, communication, budgeting, strategic planning and issues relating to buildings and grounds do not fit neatly in one ministry area. Some of the structures at these levels are established by universal law, or by particular law promulgated by the Bishop, the Pastor of our local Diocesan Church. The principle of subsidiarity requires that decisions be made at the most appropriate level. For example, a parish consideration of a building project requires adherence to Diocesan Building Commission and Diocesan Liturgical Commission procedures and should involve input from the deanery.
In order to maintain viability, the parish must be active in six areas of ministry. However, the committee structure of the parish does not need to parallel the six areas of ministry. Committees may be structured according to local need. Committees may appoint parish members as needed.
Update - March 2008
To the Clergy and Parish Leaders of the Diocese of Davenport,
The model of SIX AREAS OF MINISTRY, Church Life, Faith Formation, Family Life, Finance and Administration, Liturgy and Social Action, was developed several years ago and has become the basis for many diocesan systems and parish structures. All parishes need to address these areas in order to be vibrant and viable. Some parishes have six committees, one for each area; some parishes are not large enough to have six.
In many parishes, Church Life is the organization of social gatherings. At the same time, the ministries of vocations, stewardship and evangelization are included as part of Church Life and report directly to the Church Life Committee.
This practice may have caused some confusion about the importance of vocations, stewardship and evangelization in the Diocese of Davenport. I believe that vocations, stewardship and evangelization need to be lifted up as important aspects of parish life, and this letter is being sent to communicate that more clearly.
There is no intention to abandon the SIX AREAS OF MINISTRY model nor to change diocesan documents that refer to these six areas, including the Chart of Accounts. However, when evaluating parish life in the future for the purposes of parish planning or parish life studies, the areas of vocations, stewardship and evangelization need to be specifically addressed.
For those parishes large enough to have a system of committees, consideration might be given to adopting separate committees for vocations, stewardship and evangelization. They may act as stand-alone committees and need not be under the direction of Church Life.
Vibrant and viable parishes are the product of many parishioners and clergy working together. I thank you for all the time and talent you give to your parishes and to the Diocese as a whole.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Martin Amos
Bishop of Davenport