I am very pleased with the Parish Graphic Design Team, alright, it is really Crawf, Clare's husband who is a professional Graphic Designer who succumbs to his wife's feminine wiles and magics us up something pretty good, most of the time he is working on films or tv. I like the posters he has produced for us, especially this one for James MacMillan's talk.
At the beginning of every weekend I go to the back of the church and replace last week's newsletter with the new crop, and I am always rather disappointed by how many are left. Although to be realistic I should be surprised at how many are actually taken. I admit it myself, they are boring, the content is boring, the appearance is boring, they are produced on a photocopier that invariably scrunches up the copies, the reproduction is less than "sharp" and the paper is cheap.
My newsletter is pretty much like any other Church communication. A priest friend says he reads his diocesan newspaper on a Friday because it is a penance. The same could be said of Vatican documents.
A pre-concilliar understanding would identify the Church as a worshipping community and the priest as the offering the Sacrifice of the Mass for the living and the dead, post-VII, amongst other images, the Church is the Herald of the Gospel or the Kingdom, the priest is now ordained "to proclaim the Gospel", and the truth is that in Europe and in the US we have been pretty bad at communicating the Gospel, at catechesis and the spiritual and moral formation of our people and clergy.
Obviously the best way, the most effective way of Evangelisation is by personal witness, and we are rubbish at that but then human beings always have been from the time of the Apostles onwards, yet "God chooses the weak ...". Rightly we are told not prepare our defence when called before kings and governors and yet the last two Popes have urged us to electronic and other media. It seems to me that for an organisation that is concerned about communication, mission, the good news, proclamation, we need to invest in getting our message over.
Our 150th celebrations have made me think about how we convey information, I've just order a new colour printer for the parish and I have been signing cheques to printing companies for posters and handouts, and I have been thinking about how to use people in the parish who have communication skills and how to interact with local news networks - newspapers, radio etc. It is a bit of a learning curve because my own default position like most priests is "no fuss" and "do it is cheaply as possible".
Our diocese is trying to encourage people to get out and knock on doors, in most places that is fine but I'm not convinced that in my parish that that is safe, there are far too many people in multiply occupied houses and far too many people who never open their front door to strangers, the inner city is different, people interact differently than in places where people have their own front door and garden. For us, therefore finding ways of calling or inviting people into the Church is even more important.