Servant Leadership: Theme of Autumn PIMs

Andrew Reitz Features

This autumn, the ministerial development directorate will be offering “Partner-in-Ministry” workshops at four locations: Hartford, 96th Street, Pompton Lakes and Raleigh.

At last year’s Provincial Chapter, one of the proposals that was affirmed by the assembly stated: “That the ministerial development directorate continue to engage new methods and programs to assist with the development of our ministries.” Our autumn PIM workshops will focus on the theme: “Enhancing Partnership in Ministry through Servant Leadership.” At the November 2005 guardians’ workshop, the need for regional leadership workshops surfaced. This autumn’s PIM workshops are a response to both the Provincial Chapter and the guardians’ meeting.

In preparation for the autumn PIM workshops, we are asking pastors to take time to select some of their key lay partners or potential leaders. The workshops are being designed for a specific group from our ministries. Unlike PIM workshops in the past, this workshop is not for everyone. It is for leaders and potential leaders.

What is servant leadership? To answer this question, Melina Rudman, the director of the Servant Leadership School at St. Patrick-St. Anthony in Hartford, Conn., and a member of the ministerial development directorate, has written the following description:

Servant leadership is a way of living, serving and leading that is creative, respectful, prayerful and empowering. Servant leaders listen deeply, are empathic, self-aware and intuitive; they understand the paradoxical nature of power and seek to balance action and contemplation in their own lives.

Holy Name Province’s vision of Partnership-in-Ministry is truly a statement about serving and empowering; it is a statement about servant leadership. In his book Servanthood, Bennett Simms, retired Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta, says this: “The ability to empower is what makes great leadership a servanthood: it awakens the slumbering power in the souls of others. I believe it is always the quiet work of the Holy Spirit, and the function of leadership is to awaken trust in the Spirit – to open people to the presence of the Holy Spirit within themselves and in one another.”

Servant leadership, as studied and practiced at the Servant Leadership School in Hartford, is a formation experience for all who participate. Through the principles of servant leadership we come to understand ourselves more deeply, we listen to how God is working in our lives, discern what God might be calling us into and enter ever more fully into the life and ministry of Saint Patrick-Saint Anthony Church and the Franciscan Center.

That “servanthood” is alive and well in Hartford is evidenced by the numbers: As the Servant Leadership School enters its fourth year, 73 people have completed the basic course, titled “Beginnings.” Sixty of those 73, or 82 percent, are involved in service and leadership as partners-in-ministry with the friars and pastoral staff, and most of the others are involved in other community projects.

We are looking forward to sharing more about servant leadership and its relation to Partnership-in-Ministry with you this fall. Thank you.

The dates and locations of the PIMs are:

Oct. 14: St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish, Hartford, Conn.
Oct. 21: Holy Name Parish, 96th Street, New York City
Oct. 28: St. Mary Parish, Pompton Lakes, N.J.
Nov. 4: St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Raleigh, N.C.

There will be more information coming about the autumn PIM workshops.