Fr. Ed Tomlinson responds to Shane Schaetzel’s tips for parish growth

I check our blog stats from time to time, and yesterday, our visitors and page views doubled, which is good news!   And, I noticed a number of referrals from Fr. Ed Tomlinson’s Tunbridgewells-Ordinariate blog in the UK.

Fr. Ed writes:

On the excellent Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog the webmaster, Shane Schaetzel, has shared 8 recommendations for Ordinariate growth. I applaud them and believe we should embrace them in the UK to the extent that each group make them part of the vision moving forwards.

1. Get away from established Catholic Parishes. You can’t build your own house in somebody else’s backyard. Embrace the missionary spirit. Move away from your host parish and set up shop in a populated area where no Catholic parishes are nearby. Even if you have to meet in somebody’s home, or in a storefront, its better than trying to build your own house in somebody else’s backyard. 

Pembury reflection: There is no doubt coming to a small mass centre, ranked low in terms of diocesan importance and presumably heading for closure, helped establish the Ordinariate in Pembury. As did splitting away from Paddock Wood which gave me pastoral control. Where colleagues have been tasked  with running large diocesan parishes, or serving under diocesan priests so that 90% of their time is given to diocesan work, Ordinariate progress has, unsurprisingly, suffered.

Caveat: in Pembury we have no plan to break free from the diocese-holding dual identity is healthy- but the need for ordinariate priests to have control/space to flourish is essential; without autonomy we could never have developed St. Anselm’s to reflect an English patrimony. Our beautification project would have stalled.

2. Get a good website and reliable contact info.Make sure people can easily find you.

Pembury reflection: The blog is widely read and has brought several people to worship in Pembury. This includes locals who joined the congregation and holidaying visitors from as far afield as the USA, Italy and  Australia!

There is a lot more over at Fr. Ed’s excellent site!

Please go on over to have a look and add it to your daily stops, if you haven’t already.

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