Pastoral Finance Workshop: Money Tools for Presbyters
Pastoral Finance Workshop: Money Tools for PresbytersLeslie Thomas Maiman, Jr., D.Min.Director: Rev. James A. Wiseman, O.S.B., S.T.D.Heightened media exposure of parish financial irregularities, ranging from failure to follow prudent accounting procedures to willful theft and fraud, illustrates an increasingly challenging pastoral duty confronting pastors. In the face of this challenge, the typical presbyter often finds himself unprepared by his seminary training to adequately fulfill his supervisory responsibilities for the effective management, transparent accounting, and prudent stewarding of the financial resources of his assigned parish. Supervisory-skills training in basic business bookkeeping, financial reporting, budget forecasting, and "checks and balances" is thus crucial and timely for improving the effective pastoral stewardship of today's parish communities.This project first considers this pastoral problem in detail by framing this prospectively "perfect storm" within theological, canonical, and human factoring/system dynamics dimensions. Original survey research of both senior pastors and diocesan finance managers across the United States further identifies: (1) existing diocesan-level finance training programs for priests; (2) how, in practice, these senior pastors report having acquired their necessary fiscal stewarding skills; and (3) the key financial skill sets that the senior pastors found most necessary for their ministries as pastors.Given this supporting research, a responsive prototype workshop for priests was designed and implemented for the Diocese of San Angelo, Texas in November, 2011. Both objective (financial skills knowledge inventories) and subjective (self-reported confidence) measures demonstrated that this two-day workshop clearly improved the literacy, skills competencies, and confidence of participating presbyters. Beyond the immediate prototype audience, the further intent of Pastoral Finance Workshop: Money Tools for Presbyters is thus to offer a project of money catechesis in the service of pastoral ministry by contributing towards the informed offering of similar workshops throughout the United States.
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