At Holy Spirit, over sixty organizations of the parish are divided into six major ministry areas: Liturgy, Community Life, Adult & Family, Faith Formation, Youth & Outreach. Representatives from each of these groups serve on the one ministry board, literally bring all the players to the table. As they gather, ideas are shared, events are publicized, and support is offered. The chair of each board is called a Commissioner and his or her task is to be a servant leader to the others, maintaining the lines of communication, working to support the individual members, and coordinating the efforts of the Commission as a whole. Working in tandem with the staff member whose department is associated with the commission, the commissioner and staff liaison ensure that all members of the commission maintain their formation and continue their education.
Each Commission acts as a small parish council of its own. For example, when issues regarding the liturgy are brought up, it is the Liturgy Commission which is empowered to discern these issues. Why is this? Because in many places, parish councils make rules and regulations without a clear level of experience of what is entailed in the work in question. The persons doing the discerning should be the persons directly involved in the decision making and ministry process. What this means in effect is that instead of having one parish council which aids the pastor in making decisions, Holy Spirit has six, plus an active Finance Council! Further, each Commissioner serves as a voting member of the board and can speak to questions from the council regarding his or her specific area of ministry. Information can also be taken back from the council to the various groups served to aid in communication. The Commissioner can bring information to the council to be shared with the council and through it with all of the other commissions.
This Commission Structure is designed to enable integration (coming together) and collaboration (working together). Only with a commission can we be sure that all groups and ministries have a voice, that all have a seat at the table and that all know what is going on in the community.