Church Seeks Image Makeover to Make Faith More Relevant

In an endeavor to keep up with the times, the Archdiocese of Bombay recently conducted a survey among 122 parishes, identified eight areas, and formed committees to implement changes in the manner that churches function today

Yogesh.Sadhwani @timesgroup.com

 

The Archdiocese of Bombay no longer wants to restrict itself to Sunday masses and mere preachings – it is all set for an image makeover. In an endeavour to keep up with the times, the church has initiated a mammoth exercise to find out what parishioners expect of them and implement the changes over the coming months.
In the extensive exercise simply called ‘Consultation’, the Archdiocese has already surveyed 5,300 parishioners from 122 churches, and has also identified eight specific areas which they expect to change.
“This is what we call taking stock of the situation. We want to cater to the hopes, aspirations and concerns of all our parishioners,” said Fr Gilbert D’Lima, who is in charge of the exercise which began recently.
On the basis of the survey, the church has drawn up a list of eight areas where change needs to be implemented. These are: relationship with family; relationship with workplace; relationship with neighbours and society; relationship with communications technology; relationship with hierarchy and clergy; relationship with laity (people who are independent of the clergy); relationship with God; and relationship with the country.
For each one of these areas, relevant committees have been formed to take the plan ahead. In fact, the individual committees have, of late, already met for discussions on a couple of occasions.
Insiders say that the survey was scientifically conducted, and an equal number of male and female parishioners had been approached. Most of the parishioners firmly believe that the church ought to look ahead at a lot more aspects and keep up with changing times.
“As of today, the church is restricted only to preachings and other religious matters. But a large number of parishioners feel that several other issues, which are part of day to day life, need to be catered to by the church in some form or the other,” said a member of one of the eight committees.
“The exercise, when complete, will chart the way forward for us. The gist of the exercise is to find out how we can make faith relevant,” explained Fr D’Lima. He added that once the committees have debated and presented their solutions, they will submit perspective papers, which would then be further debated.
While it’s too early to say what the outcome will be, most committee members are certain that the efforts will lead to substantial change in the manner in which churches function today.
The Archdiocese of Bombay has 122 churches in its fold, which spans Mumbai, Thane and Raigadh Districts.

 

A majority of the people surveyed believe that the churches ought to look ahead and keep up with changing times
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