As a result of the Called & Gifted Process, 25 of the 42 people who participated in one of our 10 small groups completed questionnaires identifying charisms that they either believe are more or less confirmed by the discernment process, or that they were still actively exploring, or that they were keen to explore. We also had information on which charisms all of them had been exploring as a result of their One-to-One Conversations.
Several indicated that they were already finding ways of actively using these charisms in their everyday lives, either within the parish communities or within their families, or their circles of friends, acquaintances or work colleagues (e.g. Service, Encouragement, Intercessory Prayer, Mercy, Evangelism)
We have also pro-actively used the information to help and encourage parishioners to find ways of using and experimenting with these charisms and potential charisms within the Pastoral Area. Some examples:
- When choosing facilitators for the Called & Gifted Small Groups themselves, we approached the six people who had identified Pastoring. All six agreed to take on the role.
- When forming a worship band for the new Pastoral Area “Welcome to Worship” events, three new people were recruited directly as a result of their potential Music charisms.
- Two people in two different parishes started using their Music to support Children’s Liturgy.
- When choosing a Planning Team for project managing our new Alpha Course initiative, we approached people who had identified (potential) charisms of Administration, Leadership and Hospitality and all agreed and have been vital members of that team.
- The Alpha Small Groups need the right people to facilitate them and people who are excellent at welcoming and hospitality, so we approached people with identified (potential) charisms of Pastoring, Hospitality and Encouragement and most have taken on that role, which is still ongoing.
- People who identified Hospitality have been invited to help with Welcoming and Hospitality at Pastoral Area events, and are now willingly doing so.
- One person identified (to their surprise!) a charism of Writing and has discovered a wonderful gift for writing poetry which moves people spiritually. They have now had some of their poems published in Pastoral Area and Diocesan publications.
- We will shortly be running a series of small groups in people’s homes across the Pastoral Area, and so will be approaching people with Hospitality to act as hosts in their homes and others with Pastoring and Encouragement to facilitate the groups.
The Avon Stour Pastoral Area has also borne fruit within the Diocese outside of our Pastoral Area:
- One participant, as a result of their One-to-One Conversation and Small Group Discernment, has taken on the organisation of a Diocesan group of Prayer Intercessors, available to anyone for prayer support. We have been using that group of intercessors to provide a prayer foundation for our Alpha Course.
- One participant found that the Called & Gifted Process helped him to clarify his vocation to the priesthood, and he is now undergoing his formation for this. One participant is now combining their charisms of Writing and Teaching by writing a regular on-line reflection on the Sunday readings.
I am quite certain that there are many other fruits of this process that are flourishing elsewhere, but this gives an indication of some of those known to us.