We the people “run” the parish. In community, we discuss and determine policies and programs within the parameters of our parish personnel and resources. Decisions are made at our meetings by consensus after discussion and deliberation. For serious issues that demand greater time we now schedule quarterly parish meetings open to all parishioners at an off-site location. The authority for this democratic-style governance is derived from our baptism. It is in baptism that we become temples of the Indwelling Spirit and are given gifts to direct and enliven our community. This church governance is evident in early Christian times and recorded in New Testament writings. Accordingly, ministry is a response to people’s genuine needs, not an exercise of power and control over “the flock.”
Jesus Our Shepherd is as fresh and revitalizing today as at its first service years ago. We have grown since then. The word is spreading to those who have grown complacent or saddened by their previous faith communities, and they’ve found the presence of Jesus and his goodness and love here. We work together with our priests as one entity to make decisions that promote a loving concern for all.
My cousin was a non-churchgoer and stricken with a deadly cancer. Our priest contacted him and counseled him in his last months. This priest traveled a long distance to anoint him on his deathbed, then presided at his memorial service and refused any compensation for his expenses. My cousin didn’t belong to our parish but he was remembered every week in our community prayer. JOS is a place of Christianity.