Sacred Heart of Melcher-Dallas embraces values, vision and mission


By T. Waldmann-Williams, Ph.D.

Sacred Heart of Melcher-Dallas Values, Vision, and Mission Leadership Team members are pictured from left: Erin Metz, Martha Reed, Father Steve Ebel, Becky Iddings and Duane Schmaltz.

What impetus does a parish have to align everyone and its decisions, to live the mission and vision of Jesus and to renew the spiritual vitality of all its members?
Sacred Heart of Melcher-Dallas’ Financial Council asked such questions. Through the leadership of Father Steve Ebel, Becky Iddings, Erin Metz, Martha Reed and Duane Schmaltz, the parish began an inclusive journey to create and realize its values, vision and mission.
“Our values, vision and mission are the foundation for each committee’s decisions and the integrated spirit of our parish. We had over 79 percent of our parish participate in creating them, which is exciting, and the team is continuing to ensure the impact is sustainable through action,” said Metz.
“Our journey began in May 2013 creating a draft of our values, vision and mission with 65 parishioners ages 14 and above. I asked eight parishioners from Sacred Heart and St. Anthony’s (Knoxville) to experience and learn how to facilitate the tools and exercises to support drafting them,” said Fr. Ebel, pastor of both parishes.
“We appreciated the partnership of St. Anthony’s parish in facilitating and serving lunch because this offered our parishioners the opportunity to fully engage and participate,” Schmaltz said.
Between June and November parishioners were interviewed and invited to forums to formalize the values, vision and mission and to obtain input on how to implement. The team created an artwork and plaque identifying the values, vision and mission. Andy Adamcik of St. Anthony’s contributed the plaque.
With the help of St. Anthony’s Parish, “we turned the artwork into a bookmark, pinning one to a small loaf of blessed bread that we distributed to everyone who attended Thanksgiving Mass,” said Reed. The team took a similar approach at the weekend Masses. “We wanted everyone to feel they had a stake in the sustainability of them (the values, vision and mission),” she added.
Parishioners also were “invited to write on a façade brick how they would personally commit to ensure that our values, vision and mission would live,” said Iddings.
“Since our Thanksgiving Mass, the team has met and each of us is taking a support role to keep our values, vision and mission alive,” Fr. Ebel said. That includes “regularly referring to and incorporating them into our introductory messages at Mass, my homilies, announcements, and informing everyone how our actions align when we serve our community.”
The team is making a 3-D display of the commitment bricks using Legos; assisting the youths to reinforce the values, vision, and mission in their ministry; moving the framed artwork to augment its visibility to parishioners and guests; aligning and incorporating the values, vision and mission in decision making by councils/ committees/ministries; and inviting each parishioner to take action in fulfilling the values, vision and mission.
“It’s not Father Steve or Bishop (Martin) Amos telling us what we are to do. It’s Jesus directing each of us and our parish to live his mission with intention. And our values, vision and mission shape our actions,” Iddings said. “Our parish is accountable and responsible to make them live,” said Becky Iddings.

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