I am already deep into a second draft for the calendar(s) for next year. I am continuing to evolve in developing these – One for one parish in faith formation, another for a second parish in youth ministry, both of who include sacramental prep as well as … well, me and my balanced schedule between the two. It is a source of a little organizational pride that these are in draft form so early. Beyond being pro-active in the meeting space land-grab with which any parish deals… there are some values that are being addressed as well.
RHYTHM – One of the parishes had a schedule of programming every send and fourth Sunday. While this gives the impression of every other week, fifth Sunday automatically break the rhythm. So do end-of-the-month holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas… and then a snowstorm! That’s changing. We are actually adding to the schedule, throwing in first (and the occasional fifth) Sunday. We are holding to third Sundays off – because that works leading into the holiday breaks of Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as recognizes Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day. Anyways, the new schedule allows us to run three – four week series of theses, building content and continuity (rhythm) from week to week.
REST – Besides knowing when we are “on,” we also are aware of when we are “off.” We can respectfully honor our volunteers by informing them well in advance as to when they are on break. In coordinating two parish schedules, matching third weekends ensures that I get time “off” as well – time where I am not showing up but am capable of vacation, rest, and/or recalibration.
RECONCILIATION – Planning ahead allows for reconfiguring programming to serve the needs of the community. In one parish, we are continually striving to find ways to bring together the communities that worship in our English liturgies and those in our Spanish weekend mass. One of the places that this naturally already occurs is within our Sunday morning faith formation which occurs between these two liturgies. To fail to build upon this would be negligent. Strategizing, planning, and communicating (publicity) are all values here which will need time. To reconcile is to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent. None of that occurs on the fly or in the flow.
How’s your own calendar coming along?