Parish a well of digital good news

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Renate Cassis, left, Jacky Krsnik, Melanie Dooner and Fr Chris Ryan MGL produce Declan’s Well. PHOTO: GIOVANNI PORTELLI

Great things are happening at St Declan’s parish in Penshurst and they want the world to know about it.

The parish launched a quarterly e-magazine this month to share stories of faith and action taking place in its community and to extend a friendly welcome to people in the wider community. The magazine, titled Declan’s Well, features news, interviews, and profiles of parishioners and staff members, as well as a message from parish priest Fr Chris Ryan MGL called Chris’s Corner.

A Meet and Greet section introduces the steady stream of new parishioners and volunteers coming to the parish or those taking up other roles. The move was inspired by a monthly parish magazine published by St Benedicts’s parish in Hallifax, Canada, of Divine Renovations fame.

There are already more than 300 parishioners on the email list said project coordinator and parishioner, Melanie Dooner.

“We are really excited about how fantastic it looks and the feedback has been incredible,” she said. “What’s touched me the most is people saying that it is so professional but also engaging and personal. That’s what we wanted, for people to feel a part of it and for it to capture the feel of our parish.”

Fellow parishioner and Declan’s Well designer Renate Cassis said she hoped the e-magazine would be a tool for evangelisation in Sydney. “I’m hoping that this new initiative will give parishioners more insight into what’s happening in their parish and can then in turn spread the wonderful news to the wider community,” she said.

Each issue will highlight a sacramental celebration, outreach and faith development initiatives run at St Declan’s such as Alpha and discipleship programs and can be viewed and subscribed to on the parish website www.stdeclanspenshurst.org.

The Cover of Declan’s Well

“Father Chris always says the front door of our parish will increasingly become our website,” said Melanie. “This will give them a sense of our parish life before they join us. It’s a great parish and we want to celebrate that and also to invite people in to help us make it better.”

A dedicated volunteer team of writers and a graphic designer got to work to compile stories and produce the launch issue of the 14-page magazine. Father Chris said that while it was still “early days” for Declan’s Well and that it would evolve over time, it forms part of a wider strategy to improve communication within the parish about how to become more involved and also to reach beyond it to welcome potential newcomers.

“One of the things we’re not very good at in the Church is telling the many good stories that are happening,” he said.

“We want to celebrate the ways in which God is at work in our midst, and share the many and varied contributions that people in our parish are making to our community and beyond.”

If you would like to view or become a subscriber to Declan’s Well click here.

To receive the quarterly issue in your inbox sign up here.