By Barb Arland-Fye
DAVENPORT — A few kinks need to be worked out, but the first-ever electronic meeting of parishes in the Davenport Diocese has been deemed successful.
The Annual Parish Corporate Board meeting requires participation of all 80 parishes in the sprawling, 22-county diocese. In previous years, diocesan leaders organized separate meetings at two different locations in an effort to bring everyone together. That arrangement still required some clergy and lay leaders to have to travel an hour or more to get to either of the locations.
This year, through diocesan staff efforts led by Technology Director Rob Butterworth and Communication Director Deacon David Montgomery, parishes’ corporate board members could participate in either of two meetings held Sept. 23 and 25 at six parish sites spread across the diocese.
Sites were chosen based on the speed of the Internet connection, said Vicar General Msgr. John Hyland. One diocesan staffer was present at each of the six sites to coordinate diocesan technology: Mary Wieser at St. Joseph Parish in DeWitt; Deacon Montgomery at St. Mary Parish in Oskaloosa; Kent Ferris at St. Mary Parish in Riverside; Rob Butterworth at Ss. Mary & Patrick Parish in West Burlington; Deacon Frank Agnoli at St. Mary Parish in Fairfield, and Tony Forlini at diocesan headquarters in Davenport.
Each parish also had one of its representatives on hand to help with onsite logistics: Becky Townsend in DeWitt; Sharon McCombs in Oskaloosa; Linda Kron in Riverside; Father Dave Steinle in West Burlington; Cindy Haumersen in Fairfield, and Sister Laura Goedken, OP, in Davenport.
In examining the agenda, Bishop Martin Amos covered the Year of Faith and encouraged parishes to plan activities to commemorate it. Msgr. Hyland explained the role of lay directors and gave an overview on corporate resolutions and the Parish Manual: Handbook of Policies and Procedures for Parishes and Clergy. Sr. Goedken talked about a proposal for parishes to embark on an offertory enhancement program.
Bishop Amos said after the Sept. 23 meeting that he appreciated the savings in time and travel. “I’m glad it worked well enough that we’d be willing to do it again.”
Some people at the sites away from diocesan headquarters had trouble hearing people in the audience talking. There was also some feedback coming from microphones.
“For a first-time effort, I’d give it a good grade. The technology worked pretty well,” Msgr. Hyland said. And everyone was able to hear what the main speakers had to say, he noted.