Edith C Prendergast
The writer proposes that more inclusive, effective parish leadership models can be developed by re-imagining the parish through the lens of a Celtic and feminist world view, and by reinterpreting Spirit and Power from a feminist perspective. The project explored this thesis by initiating a congregational study focusing on one parish. The research included observations, on-site visits and interviews. A literature review on Celtic spirituality, feminist theology and organizational leadership was completed. Integrative analysis was done and foundational values and components for future leadership models were proposed. Transformational leadership, spiritual renewal, and communication of vision are essential to success in implementing new models of parish leadership. A congregational study was initiated, focusing on one parish as a revealing text. The research included on-site visits and interviews. The wisdom gleaned from the congregational study was then women with a review of literature on Celtic spirituality, feminist theology and organizational leadership. An integrative analysis of the combined research was done; foundational values and components for future leadership models were proposed. The research surfaced many important findings and conclusions. Among these are: 1) they key to leadership is relationship and not skill development, structure or power; 2) in opposition to dualistic, hierarchical world-views, feminist theology and Celtic spirituality stress interconnectedness and inclusivity which are fundamental to the development of future leadership models; 3) both hierarchical and charismatic elements of the Catholic Church must be honored and balanced; 4) intentional processes are needed to enable the transition from hierarchical models of leadership to more inclusive ones, especially processes for and integrating feminist and Celtic values and; 5) the church needs to give priority to including the wealthy, poor, old and young, as well as persons of many cultures and both genders, in the community's circles of relationship and involvement. The study concludes that several steps and strategies are essential to successfully implementing new models and paradigms of leadership. In particular, transformational leadership, spiritual renewal, and processes to communicate the vision across parishes, deaneries and Archdiocesan entities, are essential for gaining commitment from the faith.