“At all times the Church carries the responsibility of reading the signs of the time and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel, …” It is the mission of the whole Church of the Diocese of Charlotte “… to discern in the events, the needs, and the longings which it shares with other [people] of our time, what may be genuine signs of the presence or the purpose of God.” It is the role of the Office of Planning in particular to assist the Bishop, Clergy, and Laity by facilitating the identification of major issues that confront the people of Western North Carolina and assisting the Church in developing plans to respond to the needs of the community..
The Office of Planning and Research was established in 1983. At that time the Bishop assigned to the Office specific tasks to be carried out in the mission of the Church in the Diocese of Charlotte which included:
- keeping the Bishop and Vicar General/Chancellor informed on the state of pastoral planning and development in parishes, vicariates and the diocese, in general;
- suggesting to the Bishop and Vicar General/Chancellor programs and policies which will aid the planning process;
- informing the Bishop and Vicar General/Chancellor of obstacles to the planning process and suggest solutions;
- offering assistance in planning and development on the parish, vicariate and diocesan levels;
- undertaking specific research projects for the diocese, vicariates and parishes.
promoting on all levels and in every area of the diocesan structure the principles of collegiality, subsidiarity and shared responsibility;
- providing information and assistance in the theory and practice of pastoral planning and development;
- assisting pastors and parish councils in the clarification and implementation of diocesan guidelines for parish councils;
- researching and developing a plan for conducting a Diocesan Synod and to coordinate the Synod process through to its conclusions; and,
- coordinating the implementation of the Synod documents according to the Bishop’s direction.