March 15, 2013
The National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management hosted 18 workshops for participants to learn about best management practices at the Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership in Baltimore last week, including a special daylong event exclusively for US bishops.
Most Rev. John Barres, bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, was one of over a dozen bishops to attend the special workshop for bishops on church management, an opportunity for bishops to collaborate with their peers and senior lay executives about ways to enhance the management structures and processes in their dioceses. Bishop Barres said, "The bishops had an excellent opportunity to have conversation with experts in finance, strategic planning, and Catholic education, and also to have conversation with each other. Our conversations always result in shared insight and some deeper understandings of how to constructively approach the challenges we face."
Also in attendance was Bishop Timothy Senior, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, who called the Leadership Roundtable “an opportunity to reflect upon the very important aspects of the ministry of the Church, most especially, the administration of the Church as the Church responds to crises with collaborative solutions.” Archbishop Timothy Broglio of Military Services USA also joined, calling the day "well organized and well spent."
Following the opening prayer, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) James Dubik, a Leadership Roundtable trustee, offered insight on leadership lessons he learned from his career in the US Army. Bishops spent most of the day in small groups with lay facilitators exploring topics such as strengthening Catholic schools, collaboration, strategic planning, communications, and finance.
Michael Brough, the Leadership Roundtable’s director of strategic engagement, praised the event’s host, Baltimore’s Archbishop William Lori, and the bishops in attendance for committing time to strengthening management. “When Archbishop Lori approached us and invited us to lead these sessions, we responded by asking bishops about the kinds of managerial challenges that keep them up at night, and then assembled a team of lay experts to lead them through their discussions and identifying successful practices they could apply,” he said. “Ultimately, the bishops themselves craft their own solutions with insight from the facilitators who all have senior leadership experience and expertise.”
Topics from the sessions designed for Mid-Atlantic Congress participants included strategic planning, communications, leadership development, and human resource development. Each workshop was led by a Leadership Roundtable trustee, member, or staff, all lay experts working in the field.
Now in its second year, the Mid-Atlantic Congress provides an opportunity for 1,300 parish, diocesan, and Catholic nonprofit leaders to explore issues of leadership, management, diversity, faith formation, and other issues facing the Catholic Church. Learning takes place primarily through plenary sessions with keynote speakers, panel presentations, and breakout sessions led by experts working in the field. The event is hosted by the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Association of Catholic Publishers, in partnership with the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management.