60 secretaries and business managers for parishes across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains gathered for a day of professional development, training and friendship on Wednesday, 5 June.
The Parish Support Expo and Training Day, organised by the Diocese of Parramatta’s Parish Support Team, was held at the St Joseph’s, Baulkham Hills.
The expo and training day provided parish staff practical training and professional development in areas of their work, and was a chance to showcase different agencies and ministries of the diocese.
Patricia Preca, secretary at St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta, said that the parish expo day was a wonderful idea.
“I thought the idea was wonderful and a long time coming.
“It is a reality that the parish staff are very keen to learn and increase their professional development and the diocese is trying to supply this need.
“The centre was an excellent choice. The rooms were apt for learning, close together and comfortable.
“I look forward to another expo,” she said.
The morning began with an Acknowledgement of Country by Diane Van Aken, Records and Archive Manager, and prayer lead by Lyn Olander from St Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith.
Geoff Officer, Chief of Operations & Finance, Diocese of Parramatta, welcomed the attendees.
“This expo is a response to the feedback that you’ve given. We’ve tried to listen as carefully as we can to what the parishes want from Chancery. So we’ve put together a day, it won’t be a perfect day, of course, but it’s trying to respond closely to all the feedback that we’ve had.
“It’s impossible, in fact, to learn everything in a single day, but our hope is that you’ll be able to better connect to the people in the diocese who can assist you to do your jobs better.
“Everybody in this room has gifts, and everybody brings opportunities to see God. Today, if you do nothing else, I hope that you appreciate the fantastic collection of gifts that we have in this room serving the diocese and, more importantly, you’re all instruments of God’s grace,” he said.
In the first session, Jenna Brown, Client Relationship Executive and Katherine Juric, Risk Consultant, from Catholic Church Insurance spoke about “review of risk controls” in the parishes, which was followed by Workshop One.
Workshop one included talks by Diane Van Aken on Record Management and Archives, the Diocesan Finance department explaining MYOB for Beginners and Joseph Younes, Head of Communication Services, on Social Media and Communications For your Parish.
After morning tea, workshop two included a continuation of MYOB, a presentation on Office 365 by Lee Netana, Head of Information Technology, and a combined discussion on working with volunteers with Melisa Fitzgerald, Human Resources Manager, and the Office for Safeguarding and Professional Standards.
At the end of workshop two, attendees gathered for a second group talk, which focussed on the PADRE Online Parish Database, presented by Peter and Nicci Heidegger.
Following lunch, attendees were able to visit booths set up by ministries and agencies across the diocese in the expo space and ask questions relevant to them.
Workshop three featured the final MYOB session, and repeated presentations on Office 365 and Social Media and Communications.
Geoff Officer concluded the event by awarding the lucky door prizes, and then thanking the parish support members in attendance, the presenters, exhibitors and the parish support team who organised the day.
View images from the Parish Support Expo Day here or below.