Summer plans are made, vacations are underway, and the parish office may be experiencing a rare lull. Summer sunshine seeps in and we find it easier to make the welcome interior transition from doing to being. Breathing easier, smiling more, and finding joy in the simple things.
With vacationers coming in and out, weekly mass attendance may be down, but engagement can be at an all time high! Use these ideas as a jumping off point to develop and fortify relationships within your parish community:
Stay connected with My Own Church
We wouldn’t leave town without telling family and friends, all the more true for our parish family.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but in order to stay in touch with parishioners, we have to be able to reach them. Encourage parishioners to update their contact information, and possibly alternate address, on their My Own Church profile.
Engage them in the life of the parish
Consider sending out a weekly email offering a simple meditation and parish news. Feature a different parishioner story each week, sharing a snippet of their summer travels or experiences, favorite summer memories, or around-town adventures. Summer presents us with many opportunities for gratitude: seasonal fruits and vegetables, time with friends and family, getaways, reunions, festivals . . . simple reflections on these blessings are sure to be a hit.
Think about out-of-the-box evangelization tools to encourage parishioners in their faith life, even when away from home. For example, “Take Out Church” from GraceFilledChaos blog spot incorporates fun activities, discussion ideas and social media prompts to help connect families to their faith, the church, and each other while traveling.
Encourage traveling parishioners to pick up a bulletin at the parishes they visit. Have them to jot a quick note or memory in the margins, and pin it to a bulletin board. Place a large map next to your parish’s new display of “vacation bulletins”, and ask parishioners to put pushpins where they visited in their travels.
Invite different parish groups to host summer hospitality after popular weekend mass times. Provide guests and parishioners an opportunity to experience the warmth of a parish home in an informal setting. If you have a welcoming ministry, this would be an opportunity to brainstorm creative ways to engage returning college students and summer visitors and help them feel more at home.
Parishioner support enables parish ministry: ConnectNow Giving
Graciously thank vacationing parishioners for their faithfulness and support. You will be praying for them and looking forward to their safe return! In the meantime, they can stay connected to the parish as you continue to love and serve the community through their continued generosity.
As we coast into the summer season, don’t miss the opportunity to gently invite parishioners and visitors seeking rest into a deeper peace and fullness of life – a life centered in Christ. A life greatly strengthened and enriched through fellowship with parish family and friends.