ST. MARK PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL FREQUENTLY-ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC)?
The PPC is an organization comprised of parishioners and pastoral staff, whose purpose is to promote the spiritual growth of the parish community and to plan ways for the parish to carry out the Mission of the Church. It is primarily a planning body that represents the interests and needs of the entire parish.
2. What does it do?
The PPC acts in a consultative capacity to the pastor, the pastoral staff, and the ministries serving the parish. This includes all matters related to, but not limited to, liturgy, worship, education, finance, parish life, community service, and administrative affairs. Guided by the pastor, the members of the PPC work together to plan, coordinate, and evaluate the pastoral work of the parish. The seek to listen to the Holy Spirit in discerning what is best for the parish in light of the Gospel, the Church’s teaching and the experiences an needs of the parishioners and the surrounding community. The specific functions of the PPC are listed in the Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines, which are included in the PPC section of the parish web site.
3. Who are the members?
The current members of the PPC are listed on the Members portion of the PPC section of the parish web site. The PPC guidelines provide for 12 lay members (nine selected and three appointed) and for pastoral staff members (parochial vicars, deacons, and pastoral associates) to serve as ex-officio members. Ex-officio members do not have the right to vote. The officers include the chairperson, vice chairperson, and secretary. Only members who have served on the PPC for one year or more are eligible for the offices of chairperson and vice chairperson. All members are eligible for the office of secretary.
4. How are they selected?
Three council members are selected each April through a discernment process by parishioners whose names have been submitted by others or by themselves in March, and who have agreed to be considered as candidates. If the number of selected candidates is less than the number of vacancies to be filled, the Council will select the member(s) to fill the vacant position(s). One representative of the parish Finance Committee, one representative of St. Mark’s School, and one youth representative are appointed by the pastor. The members of the pastoral staff are ex-officio members, who do not have voting privileges. Selected and appointed members serve three-year terms; the youth member serves a one-year term. A PPC member may serve two consecutive terms, but must wait one year before being eligible again to serve. A member appointed by the pastor to fill an unexpired term is eligible to seek two additional terms.
5. When does the PPC meet?
The PPC normally meets on the second Wednesday of every other month, except for the months of July and August. In order to provide an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality necessary for the proper functioning of the PPC, the meetings are not open to the parish. Parishioners are encouraged to voice their needs and concerns to members of the PPC, who will present those to the PPC Executive Committee for consideration for possible inclusion on the agenda of the next PPC meeting. Special meetings may be called by the pastor and the chairperson.
6. How can I contact the PPC?
PPC members welcome ideas and feedback from parishioners! You can talk with any PPC member after Mass (look for the PPC name tag), put a suggestion in the PPC suggestion box in the narthex of the church, or talk with a PPC member at any convenient time. The suggestion form also is available in the PPC section of the parish web site. There also will be special opportunities to provide input, such as parish listening sessions and a possible parish planning meeting in the fall of each year.
7. How can I get an item on the agenda?
You can provide a written statement of your concern to the PPC chairperson or secretary at least 10 days prior to a scheduled meeting. The agenda is prepared by the Executive Committee (the pastor and the officers) approximately one week prior to a regularly-scheduled meeting. The Executive Committee will determine if the issue is of sufficient significance to be considered by the PPC or if it would more appropriately be considered by the pastoral staff or an organization or entity within the parish that has responsibility for the area to which the issue is related. The PPC may consider the issue and refer it to another entity or determine that the issue is worthy of further investigation and assign it to a PPC member for coordination, information-gathering, and follow-up.
8. Are there records of PPC meetings?
Minutes are kept of each regularly-scheduled PPC meeting. The complete minutes and a summary of the minutes of a meeting are approved at the following meeting. The complete minutes are posted on the parish web site, and a summary of the minutes is included in the parish bulletin and posted on the parish bulletin board. Minutes are not kept of committee meetings.
9. How does the PPC make decisions?
All PPC meetings are conducted in a spirit of prayer, reflection and deliberation. The PPC strives to reach decisions by consensus, rather than voting. Consensus is defined as the process of reaching a decision through open discussion and resolution of major discrepancies without compromising any strong conviction or needs; consensus results in a decision that all members can accept and uphold. If consensus is not possible, the pastor or the chairperson may call for a simple majority vote. A two-thirds majority vote may be required for a matter of great importance. The PPC Guidelines provide for an appeal process if the pastor decides not to accept a PPC recommendation or to withhold implementation of a PPC recommendation.
10. Does the PPC deal with parish finances?
The PPC does not deal directly with parish finances and has no treasurer. However, a representative of the parish Finance Committee serves on the PPC and provides periodic updates to the PPC on the financial status of the parish in concert with the pastor. The PPC may discuss financial considerations in relation to agenda items such as the proposed development of a new program or the consideration of an issue that has financial implications.
Additional information on the PPC can be found in the Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines in the PPC section of the parish web site.