For general information about Shaping the Parish™ :
Michelle and Bob are the founders of Shaping the Parish. They’ve worked together for a number of years in parish consulting and training.
Our conviction is that the work of parish development, in this age, involves multiple approaches and methods integrated into a coherent strategy. The elements include:
- The appreciative use of Anglicanism’s deep grasp of pastoral and ascetical theology
- The theory and methods of organization development for proven ways of improving parish life
- Drawing on the insights of the emerging church movement with its understanding of “the ancient-future,” to illuminate and deepen approaches to building health within the parish while expanding the parish’s sense of service and connection to the community
- The competent living of a cycle involving our renewal as baptized persons and our daily life as instruments of God’s love in the workplace, with family and friends, and in our civic life
To gain a fuller understanding of our approach you may find it useful to look at our blog — Means of Grace, Hope of Glory.
In Shaping the Parish these elements are both about the parish church and also about us as individual baptized persons. We work on how the parish can create the processes and environment that facilitates emotional intelligence and spiritual maturity in its members. We also give attention to the increase in the emotional intelligence and spiritual growth of the program participants. Each participant has his or her story of engagement, growth, and challenge. It’s against that background that we thought we’d share just a bit about ourselves.
Michelle has served as the Chief Compliance Officer for a Northwest investment firm. She is currently a partner in a consulting firm offering compliance and organization development assistance. Much of her focus in her work is on helping to provide a humanizing influence in a job and an industry that tends to be more interested in immediate financial results than long-term impact on people or the complexities of organizational dynamics. She works to integrate the needs of clients, complicated and often contradictory regulatory requirements, and the professional and personal needs of the firm’s employees and shareholders.
Bob Gallagher’s background includes extensive work in Organization Development beginning in the 1970’s when he received an M.A. in the field and professional recognition as a professional OD facilitator by the Association for Creative Change. Since then he has worked with hundred’s of organizations as a leader, consultant and trainer. He’s been part of the national professional organization since the 70’s.
Bob’s been an innovator in the Episcopal Church in the work of integrating the methods and theory of organization development with Anglican pastoral and ascetical theology. He’s been primary in creating training programs on how the parish church can do a more effective job at forming Christians in our tradition. This has included writing three books.
For many years his primary work was with non-profit organizations. The groups included those running the domestic abuse shelters in Trenton and Jersey City, a city theater group, a variety of affordable housing organizations, community development organizations, mental health centers, and legal service groups. This work has drawn him into a wide and diverse range of relationships. At one point he realized that all his clients at the time were African American, Latino, women, and gay or lesbian.
New expressions of the church - His experiencing has been largely with inner city parishes and seven years as the Congregational Development officer in Connecticut (at the time the largest diocese in the Episcopal Church). He was also the vicar of the Community of Julian of Norwich in Trenton with a combination of jazz masses, contemplative spirituality. shared homilies and dance as part of the liturgy. The “Soul of Trenton” was a program engaging the city’s political, cultural, and institutional leaders while assisting parishioners develop a stronger relationship between their spiritual life and the needs and issues of the city. Bob also has a background of working with the church’s industrial mission movement.
Bob and Michelle are both professed members of the Order of the Ascension and parishioners at St. Clement’s of Rome, Seattle. They are also very close friends who have reflected upon the place of friendship in their own lives and its important in a parish’s spiritual life. A book on friendship and spirituality is in their writing queue.