Speaker promotes best practices, financial transparency in the Church

FENWAY -- Emmanuel College’s Sister Marie Augusta Neal, SND Lecture, held April 15th, featured guest speaker Kerry Robinson, Founding Executive Director of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management (NLRCM).

In her lecture titled “On Being the Change You Wish to See in the Church,” Robinson focused on the origin and overall mission of the NLRCM. She explained that the roundtable was founded based on an opportunity that was apparent in the Church, an opportunity for managerial excellence, for financial transparency and for best practices.

In July 2005 the NLRCM held its first board meeting, which Robinson described as “a room with 25 stunning leaders, women, men, ordained, religious and lay, whose personal accomplishments were breathtaking.”

Robinson detailed the NLRCM’s mission through a series of maxims, the first being that the roundtable is intentionally positive by focusing its energy on identifying examples of excellence in the Church and accelerating and celebrating those practices.

As an example, Robinson spoke of the roundtable’s “Best Practices Award” that was presented to the Archdiocese of Boston for its Financial Transparency Project. Robinson explained that the award was given to Boston because of the courageous nature of the project, making its detailed finances available to the entire public.

“This was a wonderful move that we wanted to celebrate, all about transparency and availability,” said Robinson. “It did a lot for the restoration of trust and confidence in the Church.”

The NLRCM has also created a web site called churchEpedia.org which allows anyone in the Catholic Church to post their own personal best practices. The site is available to people all over the world, who can read each post and suggest ideas towards improving their own local Church.

Another maxim of the roundtable, Robinson described the NLRCM as people of hope, focusing on possibility, valuing imagination and remaining devoted to looking for creative solutions. The NLRCM includes 200 senior leaders from all over the country; leaders with high levels of leadership experience and a deep profound love of the Church who volunteer their time to better the Church.

Robinson concluded her lecture by stating the most important maxim of the NLRCM, a genuine sense of Christian stewardship and a deep understanding of baptismal rights and responsibilities. Robinson expressed the importance of taking proper care of all that we have been given, recognizing each blessing and sharing our gifts with others.

“It is easy to take proper care of what we have been given,” she said. “It is far more demanding to examine the positive potential in your midst and to act on it faithfully.”

Auxiliary Bishop Walter J. Edyvean, who attended the event, spoke briefly to the Emmanuel community, thanking Robinson for her lecture and for the “Best Practices Award” presented to the Archdiocese of Boston.

He reported that the archdiocese continues to make financial reports available with increased detail to further the trust and confidence of the public. Bishop Edyvean also remarked that he and his colleagues feel privileged to have known and worked with Sister Marie Augusta Neal.

“Hers was an important voice in the Archdiocese of Boston,” he said of Sister Marie Augusta. “We are honored that our names are linked together through this lecture.”

The Sister Marie Augusta Neal, SND Lecture, sponsored by the Center for Mission and Spirituality, is an annual series honoring one of Emmanuel’s most exceptional professors.