Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Days of having our brand-new comforter...

...before it got thrown up on by a cat: 1.

Note: this is not my cat, and is pictured for illustrative purposes only.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the part-time myth

Am I being too preachy...?

I got a call from a friend today who's serving on a committee at his parish to hire a Coordinator of Youth Ministry. He wanted me to put out the word that his parish is looking. But...
Their plan is one I've heard so many times before, especially in the past few years- they aren't "ready" to hire anyone full time so they want to hire someone right away to be part-time, to establish the program, reach out to the kids, recruit and train volunteers, maybe work at week-long camps during the summer, put on some programs... then, when they have their budget set, they'll hire that person, or maybe someone else, to serve full time.
I tried to steer him away from that plan, but it was one that their committee had built together and believed would be just the ticket. I knew I couldn't change his mind or their plan- but what I wanted to say was "You and your committee are at best, dreaming... at worst, shooting your collected selves in the foot. Feet."
It's a plan that so many committees in so many parishes come up with, thinking it will work perfectly. But realistically, let's take a look at this plan. First, who is this person who can work part time for a parish (and let's face it, that list of responsibilities doesn't sound part-time to me... so what we're really talking about is more-than-PT-hours for PT pay) for six months, until their parish decides their ready of FT? Certainly not someone with experience and training in the field, a professional/vocational minister.
So what you're left with is usually a college student who will not know where to begin and will disappear upon graduation, or leave as soon as they can find a full time job. Or, a mom who is looking for a little something to do while their kids are in school. Moms are great and have their value, but you will generally not find a mom who feels the call to vocational youth ministy just by nature and lucky timing.
That in turn leaves you with another potential problem. What happens if, when your budget does allow for a full-timer, you realize that your mom or college kid isn't who you'd choose to fill that position? Do you fire them, after using them for 6 months to do all the legwork? Ask them to reapply for their own position, and then not hire them? After all, they'll still be in your parish, and probably have kids in your program. How's that going to work?
Believe me, I understand and applaud the intention to hire a Coordinator of Youth Ministry in a parish. i believe every parish should have at least one. But if you're going to hire a full-timer down the road, I don't think plugging a temporary part-timer in the mix is a good idea. Save that money and add it to the salary you're planning for the FT-er. Hire someone who is trained, experienced, or at least ready to take on the ministry as a vocational career. Then you can use that saved money to pay for good, solid training for that new minister. If you've waited this long to hire a Youth Minister in your parish, (however long this long is) then your parish can wait another six months for good Youth Ministry. It needs to be an investment-well thought-out and intended to grow into the future. It's worth the wait.

Monday, November 12, 2007

gene therapy

We'd be at about 7 and a half months pregnant now. At our parish, the Respect Life committee has a big poster up in each entry showing a fetus at exactly the same age ours would be. The posters change every month and say things like "I can hear my mommy's voice!" I can't wait for that damn imaginary baby to be born. There's something pretty disquieting about walking by that poster as time goes on.
I guess I've mentioned before that I have never felt called to motherhood. I remember in college being in the mall with my friend Shannon- she noticed that I didn't even seem to notice the cute babies around me. I seemed to be missing a gene that most women have. I have long had the rep among my friends as being the one NOT to call when you need a babysitter. And don't expect me to hold the baby until that neck can handle itself.
My new job at my new job is to revamp the Baptism ministry. One of the first things I did when I got to the parish after my most recent miscarriage was to attend a Baptism. Now just about every day I am talking with new mothers and fathers and meeting new babies and it is striking. I do see now how people might be able to handle having a baby, if all the conditions are right and they have plenty of money and all that. I'm still not there, but I do think my "babies are cute" gene has awakened. I'll even hold a baby if that situation arises. No problem.
Yesterday we had two baptisms during the 11:00 Mass. The babies were straight off Gerber jars- big cheeks and wispy hair and shiny eyes. I get choked up around babies now, sometimes.