The Workshops

Experienced and inspiring speakers will present on timely topics and themes from the book. Delegates will immerse themselves in the beauty of their faith as the joy-filled, welcoming community of Saint Benedict shares with them what God can do when a local church says "YES".

Here are the session options:


1) Now What? Developing a Strategy to Fulfill the Vision 

Rob McDowell and Eileen Moore

How do you turn Big ideas into reality?  Churches need to break the big picture down into smaller systems that lead to organizational health. Like our human bodies, we aren’t healthy if we have a good digestive system but weak circulatory system. Come and learn about the 5 systems that Saint Benedict uses to help build a strategy that leads toward health that fulfills the vision. 

2) Where the Rubber Meets the Road - Operations Panel Discussion / Q&A

Rob McDowell, Kate Robinson, Joanne Thibeau, and Darlene Bonang

It is easy to let the everyday tasks of running a parish overwhelm and distract you from making progress and implementing changes.  How do you navigate buildings, budgets and bulletins in a way that actually helps you move forward to fulfill a vision?  Come and listen to the Saint Benedict Operations Team share how they wrestle with this reality.

3) Getting Started on Alpha 2x_icon_1.png

Ron Huntley and Jen Ferrier

You get one chance to make a first impression. Getting Alpha right from the beginning matters! Let us help you from our wealth of making mistakes of over 15 years running Alpha in five parishes and two dioceses. We will discuss not just how to "run a program," but how to create an Alpha culture in your parish.

4) Help! Sacraments

Fr. Simon Lobo

Catholics with few or no ties to the parish are constantly knocking on our doors for weddings and funerals, and to get their children through the Sacraments of: Baptism, First Reconciliation, First Communion, and Confirmation.  Usually once they have received the service they were looking for, we never see them again.  How do we transform all of these demanding requests into opportunities that lead to evangelization?  How do we increase our impact and effectiveness at these touch points?

5) Music Matters-Panel Discussion 2x_icon_1.pngtranslate_1.png

Patrick Salah, Peter Togni, Phil & Sarah Marmen, and Kim Sampson

Few things can touch a person’s heart like amazing music. On the flip side few things can make a person say “This is not for me,” like bad music. Let us share with you our story of the transformation of our music ministry, along with the pitfalls and successes that we experienced. Our vision for music goes much deeper than the Sunday experience and we hope to inspire greatness in Music Ministry everywhere.

6) Effective Communication

Kate Robinson

Are you ever frustrated trying to get people to listen, especially when it comes to issues in the church?  We live in a world where people are bombarded with messages from all angles: advertising, media and technology.  Come and learn the communication strategy of Saint Benedict Parish to ensure that the community is informed about the church's activities and mission.

7) Divine Renovation when you are not Saint Benedict Parish

Fr. Doug MacDonald and Eric Myatt

Maintenance to mission is possible not only in the size or with the same resources of Saint Benedict.  Smaller churches and rural churches can thrive and prosper.  Each possess rich fertile ground for renewal because of their unique qualities.  These advantages can be tapped into for a Divine Renovation.  

8) Equipping Families to Raise Up Disciples 

Dinah Simmons

What we had been doing for the past twenty years had stopped working. So we stopped doing it! Crazy, I know... We have sought to embrace a family-centred model for faith formation, for both regular catechetics and sacramental preparation. This didn't happen overnight, or without challenges and mistakes. But it's been an amazing experience and we'd love to tell you about it! We'll share our vision of equipping families to raise up disciples...the good, the bad, and the ugly.

9)  Developing Your Divine Renovation Crews

Chris Yetman and Kate Robinson

How do you create a team to execute a Divine Renovation? It’s more than a pastor's job; it requires an entire crew. This workshop will focus on the critical success factors for ministry teams at Saint Benedict Parish. This includes defining healthy culture, recognizing people’s capacity and developing a ministry leadership pipeline.

10) Sunday Experience – Hospitality and Liturgy 2x_icon_1.pngtranslate_1.png

Fr. Simon Lobo

Jesus said, "Put out into the deep!"  Objectively speaking, the Celebration of the Eucharist is as deep as it gets.  Yet, so many people would rather use another word to describe Mass: boring!  At Saint Benedict, we believe that it is possible to be totally faithful to Catholic liturgy, while inviting people into an engaging prayer experience, which begins with holy hospitality. 

11) Pastors

Fr. James Mallon

What is the pastor’s role in leading a Divine Renovation in a parish?  We will look at the essential duty of forming and communicating vision, of building a staff team, a leadership team, preaching and raising givers.

N.B. This workshop is for pastors who are unable to participate in the day for priests.  This material will be covered in more depth on the full day for Priests on Wednesday.

12) The Game Plan 2x_icon_1.pngtranslate_1.png

Ron Huntley 

You need a compelling vision and a clear strategy that you and others can articulate on the back of a napkin!  We do what we do with intention and purpose. Come learn the big picture and ask questions, compare it to what you are doing, steal ideas and develop your own game plan.

13) World War Z - The Frontline of Youth Ministry

Ronnie Lunn

Generation Z, people born after 1993, are the newest crop of teenagers with an entirely unique world view, new cultural customs, and an ever evolving language, who quite frankly, scare us adults. Join Ronnie Lunn, the Co-ordinator of Youth Ministry at Saint Benedict Parish, to discuss how you can create an environment where evangelization, deeper conversion, and discipleship can flourish, even if your parish has no youth.

14) The Parish-Diocese Dynamic: Best Practices in Building a Missionary Communion  

John Stevens, Rick Fersch and Bishop Dowd

The dynamic between the outgoing missionary and the ecclesial structure of the church is at least as old as the relationship of St. Peter and St. Paul.  As parishes innovate new methods, new expressions, and new ardour in order to evangelize a new culture and circumstances managing the relationship with the local diocese is an important consideration.  This panel will explore ways that dioceses can foster missionary creativity in parish life and support those dedicated to renewal while also offering best practices for parishes in innovating within a Catholic ecclesial context.

15) Mainstreaming Stewardship

Fr. James Mallon

The spirituality of stewardship played a key role in helping us shape expectations and creating a culture of discipleship at Saint Benedict Parish.  This workshop will explore how we used stewardship initiatives to impact parish culture, and how our goal was to make them obsolete.

16) Engagement-Practically Speaking 2x_icon_1.png

Jeremy Pietrocini

The ME25 survey and the Clifton Strengths Finder are Gallup tools that are used by churches throughout North America to grow and measure engagement.  Find out what engagement levels mean for the health of a church and how these tools contribute to a divine renovation of your own church.

17) The Marriage Course – strong marriages, strong society 2x_icon_1.pngtranslate_1.png

Nicky & Sila Lee

This workshop will look at how The Marriage Course can be used as a tool to strengthen the marriages of those already in the parish as well as reaching out to those on the periphery and the unchurched in our communities. While creating a positive marriage culture within the parish, The Marriage Course also acts as a tool of pre-evangelization by loving and serving couples. It supports them at a practical level as well as encouraging them to think about the beliefs and values they share. All the couples are invited to go on to do Alpha, and many do.

18) Why the Busy Pastor Needs One More Group to Work With

Dominic Perri

All too often pastors are overworked and yet their parishes lack direction.  This workshop presents a simple solution, a parish leadership team, based on the insights of author Patrick Lencioni. We will present the model, explain how the team can effectively help the pastor lead the parish and provide participants with guidance about how to create their own teams. 


Plan your sessions

Before you register, review the schedule below and select your sessions. Translation services will be offered in the noted sessions if a minimum number of participants email us to let us know they would like either French or Spanish translation.