February 15, 2017
One of the immediate areas for development that we identified at our first Parish Catalyst gathering was that of Parish Communications. Here at Our Lady of Lourdes in Northridge, CA, we saw the need to develop an approach to communications that would both serve us internally and externally. We needed a new strategy for our parish website as well as a more coherent approach to social media. We also recognized a need to improve our internal communication strategies, in order to facilitate improved collaboration and cooperation.
We realized very quickly that coming up with a position and a strategy wasn’t as easy as it first appeared. Consulting with other parishes and with other churches was quite an eye-opener. Most of our inquiries led us to understand that the role of a parish communications person was increasingly important, but also varied greatly from church to church.
We articulate for ourselves a need to communicate who we are within our parish community. This expression was to build on our self-identified gift for hospitality, but it also needed to build on it, expressing something of our need to become more. Drawing on the experience of our mission statement of many years, we came up with some simple aspirational language. Our Lady of Lourdes is a community of believers who Embrace God’s People, Equip Disciples and Accompany Believers.
With language articulated, new signs of welcome have been placed for those who enter our parking lot. Our hopes for how we might be and what we might become as a community of faith are posted for visitors and parishioners alike to enjoy. Within the common areas of our Church and Parish Hall we have placed signage which invites attention and hopefully spark conversation.
We are in our early days, but already we realize that these efforts will continue to be a “work in progress”. A Communications Coordinator keeps all staff mindful of our movement toward a common thrust in language and in mission, challenging us all to grow more deeply and enthusiastically into the significance of what it means to be a community about Embracing God’s People, Equipping Disciples and Accompanying Believers.
By Anne Wing