Archdiocesan Synod Process Delayed

Despite the great momentum for the Synod and the participation of more than 8,000 people in pre-Synod Prayer and Listening Events, the COVID-19 pandemic is requiring the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to alter the Synod schedule. To keep our focus on parishes and schools without any distraction, Archbishop Bernard Hebda announced that he has decided to delay by one year the Parish Consultation with Small Groups stage of the Synod. While the Deanery Consultation planned for a Saturday in January or February 2021 will still be held at that time, the more intensive Parish Consultation process, originally planned for fall 2020, will now occur in fall 2021. The Synod Assembly originally scheduled for Pentecost 2021 has been moved to spring 2022. Learn more.

Please note: The dates below reflect the original Synod timeline, not the current timeline described above. Watch for changes to this web page to come.

Fall 2021

Overview of Parish Small Group Process and Documents
Steps 5 and 8 to be covered at the 10 live trainings in late August/September 2021

SPRING PLANNING

Step 1. March:

Parish Small Group Process Managers – Form and Manage Your Synod Small Group Core Team

In Step 1, we discuss Small Group Process Managers connecting with the parish Synod ambassadors, and then forming and managing their Synod parish core team, including the following:

  1. Connect with your parish Synod ambassadors
  2. Plan your core team and review with your pastor
  3. Invite core team members
  4. Set core team meetings and manage the work
  5. Small Group Process Manager scope of work (for reference)

1. Connect with your parish Synod ambassadors
  • Locate a list of your parish Synod ambassadors.
  • Meet or speak with them and encourage them in their work, whether that be on the core team, as facilitators and scribes, or as ambassadors of prayer and communications.
2. Plan your core team and review with your pastor
  • Your parish core team may be small or large. After reviewing the core team member job description and scope of work (see number 3 below), consider inviting the following:
    • DRE/Faith Formation staff person: Likely already a Small Group Process Manager.
    • Ambassadors: We highly encourage you to consider your trained parish Synod ambassadors as you form your core team.
    • School rep: If your parish has a school, a school parent who can recruit and organize an on-site “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups for Parish School Parents” (Step 2).
    • Women’s small group coordinator: A woman as a coordinator for women’s small groups (and couples).
    • Men’s small group coordinator: A man as a coordinator for men’s small groups.
    • Other parishioners: Other parishioners with the desire and available time.  See the list in Step 4 for other ideas.
  • Note Regarding Other Parish Staff: Other parish staff will be critical to the success of the small groups, but may not need to be a member of the core team:
    • Communications: Parish communications staff member (website, parish electronic communications, social media, parish bulletins, etc.).
    • Administrative: Parish administrative staff member (booking parish calendar, reserving parish space, copying materials, hanging posters, etc.).
  • Core team invite list:
    • Collect the names, phone numbers and emails of those you are inviting to be members of your core team. Track their responses.                                   
3. Invite core team members
  • See “Sample Core Team Email Invite,” which includes a job description and scope of work.
  • Core team member job description and scope of work.
    • Job Description:
      • Faithful/Desire: Faithful practicing Catholic who desires to help others grow in their faith through the Synod small group process.
      • Available Time: Has the time available to meet and fulfill the scope of work.
      • Experience: Preferably has participated in and/or facilitated small groups.
  • Scope of Work:
    • Attend 1 of the 10 live trainings offered by the Archdiocese in February and March, 2020 covering planning and implementing the Synod small groups at the parish.
    • Attend 1 of the 10 live trainings offered by the Archdiocese in August and September, 2020 covering (i) facilitators and scribe training, (ii) Synod small group materials, and (iii) reporting parish results to the Synod Preparatory Commission.
    • Attend parish core team meetings.
    • Complete assigned ministry tasks, and otherwise support the Small Group Process Managers.
4. Set core team meetings and manage the work
  • Set core team meetings.
  • Manage the work of the core team.
    • Given the many tasks involved, it can be easy to let meeting discussions move from one of these steps to another without completing any given step.
    • To efficiently implement the Synod small groups, we recommend you focus a meeting on one step (or two). Complete that step at the meeting (or with immediate follow-up), then move on to the next step in the process.
5. Small Group Process Manager scope of work (for reference)
  • Pastor Assigned.
  • Scope of Work:
    • Attend 1 of the 10 live trainings offered by the Archdiocese in February and March, 2020 covering planning and implementing the Synod Consultation Process with small groups at the parish.
    • Attend 1 of the 10 live trainings offered by the Archdiocese in August and September, 2020 covering (i) facilitators and scribe training, (ii) Synod small group materials, and (iii) reporting parish results to the Synod Preparatory Commission.
    • Form the core team, and facilitate core team meetings.
    • Plan and implement the Synod small groups, working with the core team, parish staff, ambassadors, facilitators and scribes.

Step 2. March/April:

Plan Your Parish Approach to Synod Small Groups

In Step 2 we address parish requirements in the Synod Small Group process and provide six (6) approaches for forming Synod Small Groups at your parish fall 2020:

  1. Baseline Expectation – “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups”
  2. Baseline Expectation – Existing Small Groups
  3. Start New Small Groups – “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups for Parents of School Age Children”
  4. Start New Small Groups – “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Common Interest Small Groups”
  5. Start New Small Groups – “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Open Signup Small Groups”
  6. Start New Small Groups – “Parishioner Initiated Small Groups”

1. Parish Requirements and Parish Flexibility

The purpose of this web page is to assist your parish with planning and implementing the Synod Consultation Process with small groups at your parish this fall.

  • Synod Small Groups and parish adult faith formation:
    • Synod Small Groups will take place fall 2020 and be 6 sessions/weeks in duration.
    • Archbishop Hebda has asked all pastors, to the extent possible, to avoid other adult faith formation opportunities at the parish from September 20 through November 8, 2020, to encourage Synod Small Group participation.
      • What is okay? RCIA, annual formation offerings held during that time frame. Sacramental prep, such as Confirmation, continues uninterrupted.
      • What should be postponed? All other adult faith formation activities such as Bible studies, parish missions, speakers, etc.
  • Baseline vs. optional small group approaches: At a minimum, parishes are expected to offer Synod Small Groups noted in approaches 1 and 2 below. For those parishes wishing to involve more parishioners, consider adding one or more of approaches 3-6.
  • Small group materials & reporting: For purposes of the Synod Small Group process, parishes are to use the Synod small group materials provided by the Archdiocese Synod Preparatory Commission without adjustment (Step 8), and report the results to the Preparatory Commission as requested (Step 10).
  • Parish flexibility: Beyond the requirements noted above, the approach, structure and example documents on this website are tools provided to assist the parish with this work. As you plan your parish Synod Small Groups, feel free to customize any of these tools. Use those elements that work for your parish; add/remove other elements as you deem appropriate.
2. Plan your parish approach and review with your pastor
  • Review the approaches for the fall Synod Small Groups below.
  • Plan your parish approach.
  • Review with your pastor for approval.
3. Approach 1: “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups”
  • Parish plans and hosts: Parish plans and hosts an onsite small group opportunity that is open to all parishioners each week (whether they register or not).  Structure it to provide for maximum flexibility for parishioner involvement.
  • For example:
    • The parish advertises and hosts “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups” Tuesday evenings from 7-9 p.m.
    • Sample advertisement:

Join our parish Synod Small Groups this fall on Tuesday evenings 7-9 p.m.!

Put together your own small group, or the parish will place you in one.

Registration appreciated (starts in September), but not required.

All are welcome!

 

  • Administration of the small groups each week:
    • For parishioners who attend as a small group, they would meet with their small group during this time at the parish (their facilitator and scribe).
    • For all other parishioners who register or just show up, the parish places them in a small group for that week, and the parish provides a facilitator and scribe.
  • Facilitators and scribes (Step 4):
    • For parishioners who attend as a small group, ask their facilitator and scribe to attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August or September.
    • For all other parishioners who register or just show up, the parish estimates the number of facilitators and scribes needed, recruits them, and asks them to attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
    • Facilitators and scribes report to the Parish Small Group Process Manager (or assignee).
4. Approach 2: Existing small groups
  • Parish and other existing small groups: For existing parish small groups, and other small groups meeting at or related to your parish (example, Cursillo), request they use the Synod Small Group materials for fall 2020.
  • Facilitators and scribes (Step 4):
    • Facilitators should recruit a scribe from the group and both should attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
    • Facilitators and scribes report to the Parish Small Group Process Manager (or assignee).

5. Approach 3: “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups for Parents of School Age Children”

  • Parishes plans and hosts: For parishes with a school, plan and host “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups for Parents of School Age Children” one morning a week in the same format as approach 1 above.
    • Your Core Team School Rep. should advertise this through school channels and events, and assist with administering the small groups.
  • Facilitators and scribes: Same as approach 1 above.
6. Approach 4:  “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Common Interest Small Groups”
  • Forming: Identify parishioners who share a common interest, recruit a facilitator from that group (Step 4), and work together to plan and invite parishioners to a small group (Step 5).  Examples of common interest groups include:
    • Young singles.
    • Young married couples.
    • Couples with young children.
    • Parents of children recently baptized.
    • Parents of children in 2nd grade first sacraments.
    • Parents of children in Confirmation classes.
    • Grandparents.
    • Parishioners in senior living.
  • Planning: The facilitator would meet with the Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) to plan the small group (Step 5):
    • Meeting dates and times.
    • Meeting location – either at the parish, or at a home or coffee shop.
    • Prepare the “Information and Signup Form” (electronic and/or paper).
    • Plan how to advertise and conduct signup, given that particular common interest group.
  • Facilitators and scribes (Step 4):
    • Facilitators should recruit a scribe from the group and both should attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
    • Facilitators and scribes report to the Parish Small Group Process Manager (or assignee).
  • Example common interest group: Parents of children in 2nd grade first sacraments:
    • This spring:
      • The core team recruits a facilitator from the parents of children currently in 2nd grade first sacrament preparation (Step 4).
      • The Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) and facilitator(s) meet to plan the small group and how to advertise it, and prepare an “Information and Signup Form” (electronic and/or paper) (Step 5).
      • The Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) and facilitator attend a meeting of parents to present and invite parents to sign up. If there is not a meeting scheduled, then communicate via email or phone calls.  Use the “Information and Signup Form” and invite parents to signup this spring for a fall small group.
      • The facilitator recruits a scribe from the group and both attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
    • This fall:
      • The resulting small group meets using the Synod Small Group materials.
    • Note on timing:
      • Forming the small group in the spring when the parents are engaged in the sacramental preparation process is ideal, but you could also extend invitations to those parents via email or phone calls in late August or early September.
7. Approach 5: “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Open Signup Small Groups
  • Forming:
    • Invite parishioners who would like to host and facilitate a “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Open Signup Small Group” to complete an “Interested Facilitator Form” (Step 4).
    • As this person would be in a leadership role with parishioners, the Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) would meet with the facilitator to discuss the role and approve the facilitator.
  • Planning: The approved facilitator would meet with the Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) to plan the small group (Step 5):
    • Meeting dates and times.
    • Meeting location – either at the parish, or at a home or coffee shop.
    • Recruit a scribe, and both attend 1 of the 10 live trainings late August and September.
    • Prepare a “Parish Signup Form for Synod Small Group Facilitated by [Parishioner Name]” that will be posted during the parish signup weekends in September for parishioners to sign up.
    • Required: For a small group to form, a minimum of five members is required.  For a small group to meet on any given week, at least three members must be present (Step 8).
  • Facilitators and scribes (Step 4):
    • Facilitators should recruit a scribe from the group and attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
    • Facilitators and scribes report to the Parish Small Group Process Manager (or assignee).
  • Example:
    • The parish advertises this approach this spring through September.
    • A couple who wishes to facilitate a small group of couples one evening a week at their home submits an “Interested Facilitator Form” (Step 4).
      • The couple meets with the Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) and the Manager decides whether to approve them.
    • Upon approval, the Small Group Process Manager meets with the couple to plan the small group and prepare a “Parish Signup Form for Synod Small Group Facilitated by [Parishioner Name]” (Step 5).
    • During the September signup weekends, this form is posted/advertised and parishioners are allowed to signup for the small group (Step 7).
      • If an advertised small group has five or more members, the small group meets in the fall as planned.
      • If the advertised small group has less than five members, the small group is not formed and they are instead invited to attend the “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups.”
8. Approach 6: “Parishioner Initiated Small Groups”
  • Forming: Invite parishioners who would like to invite friends, neighbors or co-workers and start their own Synod small group to complete an “Interested Facilitator Form” (Step 4).
  • Planning: The facilitator would meet with the Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) to plan the small group (Step 5):
    • Meeting dates and times.
    • Meeting location – either at the parish, or at a home or coffee shop.
    • Recruit a scribe, and both attend 1 of the 10 live trainings late August and September.
    • Prepare an “Information and Signup Form “(electronic and/or paper) for the facilitator to use to invite their friends, neighbors or co-workers.
  • Facilitators and scribes (Step 4):
    • Facilitators should recruit a scribe from the group and both should attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
    • Facilitators and scribes report to the Parish Small Group Process Manager (or assignee).

Step 3. March/April:

Prepare Your Small Group Process Planning and Communication Calendar; Reserve Parish Calendar and Space

In Step 3a, we discuss the following:

  1. Prepare your parish Planning and Communications Calendar for the fall Synod small groups
  2. Reserve your parish fall adult faith formation calendar for Synod small groups
  3. Reserve the rooms needed for Synod small groups to meet
  4. Sample communications – spring and summer
  5. Sample communications – information and signup weekends
In Step 3b, we provide a sample parish Planning and Communications Calendar.

1. Prepare your parish Planning and Communications Calendar for the fall Synod small groups
  • Review the sample calendar provided in Step 3b. Use as is, revise as needed, or prepare your own.
2. Reserve your parish fall adult faith formation calendar for Synod Small Groups
  • Synod Small Groups will take place fall 2020 and be 6 sessions/weeks in duration.
  • Archbishop Hebda has asked all pastors, to the extent possible, to avoid other adult faith formation opportunities at the parish from September 20 through November 8, 2020, to encourage Synod small group participation.
    • What is okay? RCIA, annual formation offerings held during that time frame.  Sacramental prep, such as confirmation, continues uninterrupted.
    • What should be postponed? All other adult faith formation activities such as Bible studies, parish missions, speakers, etc.
  • Review your current parish calendar and update accordingly.
3. Parish space
  • Reserve the rooms at the parish that are needed for Synod Small Groups to meet in the fall.

4. Communications plan – spring and summer

  • Visit the Synod promotional web page archspm.org/synodpromo for promotional materials including the following:
    • “1 page Synod Overview for the Parish Consultation Process with Small Groups,”
    • Parish spring poster,
    • Parish mid-August poster,
    • Videos and more.
  • Find sample bulletin text and pulpit announcements posted below.
5. Communications plan – Information and Signup Weekends (Step 7):
  • The following documents will be added to this web page mid-August:
    • Pastor homily messaging – Sept. 12/13
    • Testimony after Mass – Sept. 12/13
    • Pulpit announcements – Aug. 29/30, Sept. 5/6 (Labor Day weekend), Sept. 12/13 and/or Sept. 19/20
    • Bulletin insert – Aug. 29/30, Sept. 5/6 (Labor Day weekend) or Sept. 12/13
    • Bulletin text – Aug. 29/30, Sept. 5/6 (Labor Day weekend), Sept. 12/13 and Sept. 19/20
Step 3b: Download the Sample Parish Planning and Communications Calendar

Step 4. March/Sept.:

Recruit and Register Facilitators and Scribes

In Step 4, we discuss recruiting facilitators and scribes for the Synod small groups in each of the 6 approaches.


1. Approach 1: “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups”
  • Estimate the number of facilitators and scribes needed
    • Estimate the number of small groups you will have:
      • Estimate the number of parishioners who will attend and need a small group, based on past experience.
      • Divide that number in 10 (assuming each small group has 10 members) for the number of small groups.
    • Plan for 1 facilitator and 1 scribe for each small group, and to have backups if that is possible.
      • If you have more small groups than expected, recruit more facilitators and scribes from the groups. If you have backups, assign them.
      • If you have fewer small groups than expected, those trained facilitators and scribes can be backups.
    • For example, if you anticipate 100 parishioners attending, recruit 10 facilitators and 10 scribes. Your parish ambassadors are a good resource.
  • Prepare a list of facilitators and scribes to invite. Consider:
    • Pastor provided names,
    • Synod ambassadors,
    • Parishioners whom core team members know and recommend,
    • Parishioners who attended the Archbishop Flynn Catechetical Institute,
    • Parishioners who have facilitated small groups at your parish in the past, and others recommended by those facilitators,
    • Parishioners who have taken leadership roles (past or present) such as faith formation teachers, school teachers if your parish has a school, members of the various councils, and
    • Parishioners who take an hour of Adoration each week at your parish.
    • Also may also review your parish directory for names.
  • Review the list with your Pastor
    • Given the facilitators and scribes will be in a leadership position, review the invitation list with the Pastor for his approval.
  • Invite facilitators and scribes via a personal and/or email invitation
    • The Small Group Process Manager and/or core team members extend a personal invitation (with email follow-up), or just an email invitation. The invitation includes a job description and expectations, along with the request to attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
      • Where applicable, ask for your pastor’s assistance. For example, you may ask your pastor to personally invite parishioners as they leave Mass.
    • Attached is a “Sample Facilitator and Scribe Email Invitation,” including a job description and expectations. Feel free to use it as is, or revise as you see fit.
  • If you need more facilitators, consider making an open invitation to parishioners
    • Attached is an “Interested Facilitator and Scribe Form” that can be used for the invitation. It applies to both approaches 1 and 3. Revise as needed.
    • For those parishioners who submit a form, the Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) should meet to discuss the role and determine if you will approve them in this leadership role.
  • Tracking of “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups”
    • Maintain a list of facilitators and scribes invited, and those who accepted.
    • Maintain a list of these small groups, with their facilitators and scribes.
    • Update the list for facilitators and scribes who attended 1 of the 10 live trainings offered in August and September.
    • Attached is a “Microsoft Excel Small Group Tracking Report” for your use.
2. Approach 2: Existing Small Groups
  • Existing small groups: Create a list of existing parish small groups, or other small groups meeting at or related to your parish (example, Cursillo).
  • Invite:
    • Invite the facilitator/group to use the Synod small group materials in the fall, and to recruit a scribe from the group and attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
    • Attached is a “Sample Existing Small Group Email Invitation,” including a job description and expectations. Feel free to use it as is, or revise it as you see fit.
  • Tracking of “Existing Small Groups”
    • Maintain a list of these small groups, and their facilitators and scribes.
    • Update the list for facilitators and scribes who attended 1 of the 10 live trainings offered in August and September.
    • Attached is a “Microsoft Excel Small Group Tracking Report” for your use.
3. Approach 3: “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups for Parish School Parents”
  • Use the same process as noted in approach 1 above:
    • Estimate the number of facilitators and scribes needed.
    • Prepare a list of facilitators and scribes to invite.
    • Review the list with your Pastor.
    • Invite facilitators and scribes via a personal and/or email invitation.
    • Maintain a list of those invited and those who accepted.
  • If you need more facilitators, consider making an open invitation to parishioners
    • Attached is an “Interested Facilitator and Scribe Form” that can be used for the invitation. It applies to both approaches 1 and 3.  Revise as needed.
    • For those parishioners who submit a form, the Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) should meet to discuss the role and determine if you will approve them in this leadership role.
  • Tracking of “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups for Parish School Parents”
    • Maintain a list of facilitators and scribes invited, and those who accepted.
    • Maintain a list of these small groups, with their facilitators and scribes.
    • Update the list for facilitators and scribes who attended 1 of the 10 live trainings offered in August and September.
    • Attached is a “Microsoft Excel Small Group Tracking Report” for your use.
4. Approach 4: “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Common Interest Small Groups”
  • Determine what common interest groups to engage. Examples include:
    • Young singles,
    • Young married couples,
    • Couples with young children,
    • Parents of children recently baptized,
    • Parents of children in 2nd grade first sacraments,
    • Parents of children in Confirmation classes,
    • Grandparents, and
    • Parishioners in senior living.
  • Identify and invite a facilitator from each common interest group
  • Meeting
    • Schedule a meeting with the facilitator to plan and advertise the small group and prepare an “Information and Signup Form” (Step 5).
    • Facilitators should recruit a scribe from the group and attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
  • Tracking of “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Common Interest Small Groups”
    • Maintain a list of these small groups, with their facilitators and scribes.
    • Update the list for facilitators and scribes who attended training.
    • Attached is a “Microsoft Excel Small Group Tracking Report” for your use.
5. Approach 5: “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Open Signup Small Groups”
  • Communicate this opportunity to your parishioners, and invite those interested to submit their names
  • Approval of Interested Facilitators
    • For those parishioners who submit an “Interested Facilitator Form,” the Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) should meet to discuss the role and determine if you will approve them in this leadership role.
    • If approved, schedule a meeting to plan the small group and prepare a “Parish Signup Form for Synod Small Group Facilitated by [Parishioner Name]” (Step 5) to be posted/advertised for parishioners to sign up during the parish Signup Weekends (Step 7).
    • Facilitators should recruit a scribe from the group and attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
  • Tracking of “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Open Signup Small Groups”
    • Maintain a list of these small groups, with their facilitators and scribes.
    • Update the list for facilitators and scribes who attended training.
    • Attached is a “Microsoft Excel Small Group Tracking Report” for your use.
6. Approach 6: “Parishioner Initiated Small Groups”
  • Communicate this opportunity to your parishioners, and invite those interested to submit their names
  • Interested Facilitators
    • For those parishioner who submit an “Interested Facilitator Form,” the Small Group Process Manager should call them to discuss the role, and schedule a meeting to plan the small group and prepare an “Information and Signup Form” (Step 5).
    • Facilitators should recruit a scribe from the group and attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
  • Tracking of “Parishioner Initiated Small Groups”
    • Maintain a list of these small groups, with their facilitators and scribes.
    • Update the list for facilitators and scribes who attended training.
    • Attached is a “Microsoft Excel Small Group Tracking Report” for your use.

Step 5. March/Sept.:

Plan and Prepare For Your Parish Synod Small Groups

In Step 5, we discuss planning and preparing for your Synod Small Groups for each of the 6 approaches.


1. Approach 1: “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups”
  • Use Steps 2-4. No further steps required.
    • Step 2: Approach for these small groups; Structure to provide for maximum flexibility and parishioner involvement; Sample advertisement.
    • Step 3: Communicate with parishioners; reserve parish space for small groups.
    • Step 4: Recruit facilitators and scribes, and ask them to attend 1 of the 10 live trainings August and September.
2. Approach 2: Existing Small Groups
  • Use Step 4. No further steps required.
    • Step 4: Request existing small groups use the Synod small group materials fall 2020, recruit a scribe from the group, and ask the facilitators and scribes to attend 1 of the 10 live trainings August and September.
3. Approach 3: “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups for Parish School Parents”
  • Use Steps 2-4. No further steps required.
    • Step 2: Approach for these small groups; Structure to provide for maximum flexibility and parishioner involvement; Sample advertisement.
    • Step 3: Communicate with parish school parents; reserve parish space for small groups
    • Step 4: Recruit facilitators and scribes, and ask them to attend 1 of the 10 live trainings August and September.
4. Approach 4: “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Common Interest Small Groups”
  • Use Steps 2 and 4:
    • Step 2: Approach for these small groups.
    • Step 4: Recruit a facilitator for each common interest group, and ask them to recruit a scribe and attend 1 of the 10 live trainings August and September.
  • In addition, the Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) should meet with the facilitator to:
    • Plan the Synod Small Group, including:
      • Meeting dates and times.
      • Meeting location – either the parish, or at a home or coffee shop.
      • Plan for how to advertise and conduct signup, given that particular common interest group.
    • Prepare an “Information and Signup Form” (electronic and/or paper) for the facilitator to use.
      • Attached is a sample “Information and Signup Form,” which can be updated with the specific details of the small group. Feel free to use the form as is, or revise it as you see fit.
5. Approach 5: “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Open Signup Small Groups”
  • Use Steps 2-4:
    • Step 2: Approach for these small groups.
    • Step 3: Communicate with parishioners regarding the opportunity to form these small groups.
    • Step 4: Prepare and make available an “Interested Facilitator Form,” and meet with interested facilitators to assess approval for this leadership role.
  • In addition, Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) should meet with approved facilitators to:
    • Plan the Synod Small Group, including:
      • Meeting dates and times.
      • Meeting location – either the parish, or at a home or coffee shop.
      • How the signup process will work during the parish Signup Weekends.
      • Request they recruit a scribe from their group and attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
    • Prepare an “Parish Signup Form for Synod Small Group Facilitated by [Parishioner Name]” which can be posted/advertised for parishioners to signup during the parish Signup weekends (Step 7).
      • Attached is a sample “Parish Signup Form for Synod Small Group Facilitated by [Parishioner Name],” which can be updated with the specific details of the small group. Feel free to use the form as is, or revise it as you see fit.
6. Approach 6: “Parishioner Initiated Small Groups”
  • Use Steps 2-4:
    • Step 2: Approach for these small groups.
    • Step 3: Communicate with parishioners regarding the opportunity to form small groups.
    • Step 4: Prepare and make available an “Interested Facilitator Form,” and ask facilitators to recruit a scribe and attend 1 of the 10 live trainings in August and September.
  • In addition, the Small Group Process Manager (or assignee) should meet with the facilitators to:
    • Plan the Synod small group, including:
      • Meeting dates and times.
      • Meeting location – either the parish, or at a home or coffee shop.
    • Prepare an “Information and Signup Form” (electronic and/or paper) for the facilitator to use to invite their friends, neighbors and coworkers.
      • Attached is a sample “Information and Signup Form,” which can be updated with the specific details of the small group. Feel free to use the form as is, or revise it as you see fit.

FALL IMPLEMENTATION

Step 6. Aug./Sept.:

Attend 1 of the 10 Live Trainings Offered - Parish Small Group Process Managers, Facilitators and Scribes, Ambassadors and Interested Parish Staff are Invited

  • Ten (10) live trainings offered in August and September 2020
    • Purpose: To provide and explain the Synod small group materials and reporting process, and to train facilitators and scribes.
    • Invitees: Small Group Process Managers, facilitators and scribes, parish ambassadors and interested parish staff.
    • Dates and Locations: To be provided later this spring.

Step 7. September:

Plan and Implement the Information and Signup Weekends

In Step 7, we discuss planning and implementing the information and signup weekends, including:

  1. Information and Signup Weekends
  2. Communications plan for Information and Signup Weekends
  3. Tables in narthex after weekend Masses
  4. Parish staff communication regarding Synod Small Groups

1. Information and Signup Weekends
  • Aug. 29/30, Sept. 5/6 (Labor Day weekend), Sept. 12/13 and Sept. 19/20
2. Communications plan for Information and Signup Weekends
  • The following document is on the website and can be also used for communications during Information and Signup weekends.
    • “1 Page Synod Overview for Parish Consultation Process with Small Groups”
  • The following documents are not currently on the website, and will be added this summer after the focus areas are announced.
    • August poster
    • Pastor homily messaging – Sept. 12/13
    • Testimony after Mass – Sept. 12/13
    • Pulpit announcements – Aug. 29/30, Sept. 5/6 (Labor Day weekend), Sept. 12/13 and/or Sept. 19/20
    • Bulletin insert – Aug. 29/30, Sept. 5/6 (Labor Day weekend) or Sept. 12/13
    • Bulletin text – Aug. 29/30, Sept. 5/6 (Labor Day weekend), Sept. 12/13 and Sept. 19/20
  • Pastor homily messaging
    • If possible, the Pastor may incorporate the Synod and the Parish Consultation Process with Small Groups into his homily. He can briefly explain the Synod, expound on the value of participating in the small group process and small groups themselves, and invite parishioners to attend the “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups” or other Synod small groups offered at the parish.
  • Testimony after Mass
    • A testimony of personal experience in a small group is a powerful and moving means of communicating the value of small groups and encouraging parishioners to attend. Consider incorporating one into your Synod small group communications plan.  September 12/13 would be an ideal weekend.
    • Select a person (or couple) who is comfortable speaking at the podium, is relatable, and can speak from the heart about the value of their small group experience. Review and approve the content, and the length, with the speaker prior to the testimony.
3. Tables in narthex after weekend Masses
  • Materials at the tables
    • Information:
      • “1 Page Synod Overview for Parish Consultation Process With Small Groups”
    • Signup forms, as applicable:
      • Approach 1: “Parish Signup Form for the Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups “
      • Approach 3: “Parish Signup Form for the Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups for Parents with School Age Children”
      • Approach 5: “Parish Signup Form for Synod Small Group Facilitated by [Parishioner Name]”
  • Greeters and table staffing:
    • Recruit a handful of people to greet parishioners as they leave Mass and invite them to the information and signup tables.
    • Schedule core team members to staff the tables after all Masses.
  • Signup for approach 5
    • For approach 5, decide if your parish will offer paper only signup only, online only signup, or paper and online signup.
    • If you offer both paper and online signup, consider how you will coordinate the two so you will know when the small group is full (12 members is the recommended maximum, with 8-10 being preferable).
  • Table logistics:
    • Arrange for the setup and takedown of tables in the narthex.
    • Consider having one table for each small group approach your parish is offering.
    • Prepare signage in advance.
    • Place the tables physically apart from each other to allow space for people to move.
4. Parish staff communication
  • Inform receptionists and parish staff about the Synod Small Groups, so they are able to respond to questions and know where to route forms.
  • Have copies of relevant documents at the front desk, including:
    • “1 Page Synod Overview for the Parish Consultation Process With Small Groups.”
    • “Interested Facilitator and Scribe Form,” for small group approaches 1 and 3.
    • “Interested Facilitator Form,” for small group approaches 5 and 6.

Step 8. September:

Distribute Small Group Materials (Provided and Explained at Trainings)

Step 9. Sept.-Nov.:

Track Small Groups; Provide Ongoing Support to Facilitators and Scribes

Watch for details to come!

Step 10. November:

Report Parish Feedback From Synod Small Groups to the Archdiocese

Watch for details to come!

The Archdiocese is here to assist you with your fall Synod small groups. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email ambassadors@archspm.org.

If you wish to continue your small group ministry after the fall, the Archdiocese can assist you. Contact Jean Stolpestad (stolpestadj@archspm.org, 651-291-4438) and see the Archdiocesan Small Groups web page.

COMMENTS

1. Parish Requirements and Parish Flexibility: The purpose of this web page is to assist your parish with planning and implementing the Synod Parish Consultation Process With Small Groups at your parish this fall.

  • Synod Small Groups and Parish Adult Faith Formation
    • Synod small groups will take place fall 2020 and will be 6 sessions/weeks in duration.
    • Archbishop Hebda has asked all pastors, to the extent possible, to avoid other adult faith formation opportunities at the parish from September 20 through November 8, 2020, to encourage Synod small group participation.
      • What is okay? RCIA, annual formation offerings held during that timeframe. Sacramental prep, such as Confirmation, continues uninterrupted.
      • What should be postponed? All other adult faith formation activities such as Bible studies, parish missions, speakers, etc.
  • Baseline vs. Optional Small Group Approaches: At a minimum, parishes are expected to offer Synod small groups noted in Step 2, approaches 1 and 2. For those parishes wishing to involve more parishioners, consider adding one or more of approaches 3-6 noted in Step 2.
    • See Step 2 for details. For ease of reference, the 6 approaches for forming small groups are listed below:
      1. Baseline Expectation – “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups”
      2. Baseline Expectation – Existing Small Groups
      3. Start New Small Groups – “Parish Hosted Open Invite Small Groups for Parents of School Age Children”
      4. Start New Small Groups – “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Common Interest Small Groups”
      5. Start New Small Groups – “Parish/Facilitator Hosted Open Signup Small Groups”
      6. Start New Small Groups – “Parishioner Initiated Small Groups”
  • Small Group Materials & Reporting: For purposes of the Synod small group process, parishes are to use the Synod small group materials provided by the Archdiocesan without adjustment (Step 8), and report the results to the Archdiocese as requested (Step 10).
  • Parish Flexibility: Beyond the requirements noted above, the approach, structure and example documents on this website are tools provided to assist the parish with this work. As you plan your parish Synod small groups, feel free to customize any of these tools. Use those elements that work for your parish; add/remove other elements as you deem appropriate.

2. Value of Parish Consultation Process with Small groups

  • Value to Synod: The primary purpose of the Synod consultation process with small groups is to obtain feedback from parishioners throughout the Archdiocese on the focus areas of the Archdiocesan Synod. The parish feedback will then be further assessed in the Deanery Consultation process and finally in the Synod Assembly. The results from the Synod Assembly will allow Archbishop to discern the best course of action as he leads the Archdiocese forward together.
  • Value to Parish: Small groups also provide value in the life of the faithful and the parish, including:
    • Effective faith formation and growth, as outlined in Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly:
      • Prayer: Individual and prayers of the Church – Mass and sacraments,
      • Continuous learning : Spiritual growth, support and accountability in Christian living,
      • Evangelization: Emboldens members to share their faith, and
      • Generousity: Encourages service to parish and community.
    • Builds strong fellowship and community, connecting people to others, their parish and Christ.
    • Trained facilitators can be a source of evangelized, future parish leaders.
    • Evangelized and catechized adults pass on their faith to their children and grandchildren, strengthening familes.
  • Ongoing small groups: If you wish to continue with a parish small group ministry after the fall Synod small groups, the Archdiocese can assist you. See the Archdiocese Small Group Ministry web page at archspm.org/smallgroups or contact Jean Stolpestad, Director of the Office of Marriage, Family and Life; office phone: (651) 291-4438; Email: stolpestadj@archspm.org.

3. Parish Time and Financial Resources

  • Pastor Time
    • Although the Pastor may choose to be more involved, he can limit his involvement to (i) receiving periodic updates from the Core Team, (ii) approval of facilitators and scribes, and (iii) messaging from the pulpit during the spring communication and fall announcement and signup weekends.
  • Parish Staff and Time
    • Time of the Small Group Process Managers (or other parish staff) overseeing the ministry.
    • Time of the Communications staff person (updating the website, parish electronic communications, etc.).
    • Time of the Administrative staff (booking rooms, putting up posters, copying small group materials).

 Parish Financial Resources

    • Printing bulletin insert or other advertising materials.

Printing the small group materials for parish small groups

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