If anyone thinks that only endings and goodbyes are difficult, talk with Phase II pastors. Beginnings can be hard as well. "Expect the unexpected" could be the rule of the day.
Both time and effort were spent in preparation for the June 3 start of the 20 Phase II collaboratives. Pastors went through almost two full weeks of training, studying all sorts of information about their new parishes and hearing about the support services that are available from Pastoral Center offices and agencies. Sometimes what is on paper looks different when seen up close, in real life.
Although the 43 Phase II parishes are diverse in size and setting, a random and completely unscientific sampling of a few pastors shows some consistency in experiences as we approach week three of Phase II. The questions posed: How do expectations and reality match? Have there been any surprises -- good or not so good? Concerns? Blessings?
When starting something new, a good rule of thumb suggests that a slow waltz to "Getting to Know You" is a safe way to proceed. But sometimes circumstances dictate another tune and another tempo. Sometimes changes are needed sooner rather than later. Change is a loaded word. Welcoming a new pastor is already a big change. The new pastor's concern is that parishioners will understand if a few modifications are needed quickly, as the collaborative gets up and running.