St. John the Evangelist’s parish leadership team at The Amazing Parish conference in April 2017. Pictured from left to right: Fr. Chas Canoy, Andy Bihl, Angel Koerkel, Todd Gale, Fr. Brian Lenz.

Parish Spotlight: Parish Block Party
St. John the Evangelist, Jackson, MI

Fr. Chas Canoy, pastor at St. John the Evangelist in Jackson, Michigan, brought his leadership team to The Amazing Parish conference in Atlanta in April 2017. Since then, he has worked with his parish leaders and empowered them to implement some creative evangelization initiatives in the parish neighborhood.

With the help of some volunteers, the leadership team and staff worked together to put on a “parish block party” which welcomed 50 new faces onto the parish grounds.

A parish staff member, Diane Manor, came up with the concept for the block party, and Andy Bihl, Director of Parish Operations agreed that it was an outstanding idea and encouraged her to organize the event. Andy said, “We had staff, leadership team members and volunteers knock on the doors of homes in the neighborhood to personally invite families to the parish block party.” The families received a printed invitation as well and were encouraged to RSVP to the event.

Even though it was 95 degrees outside, neighbors enthusiastically gathered to enjoy a simple cookout with hot dogs, baked beans, chips and plenty of ice cream to cool off from the heat. The guests were greeted by members of the leadership team, finance council and staff, who worked together to host the event. The parish grounds offered plenty of space for bubbles and sidewalk chalk stations for the kids as well as cornhole for the adults.

Andy told us that the guests were grateful for the invitation and that most of them had never been to the parish before.

Andy also shared, “We are committed to serving not only parishioners in the pews, but also those who have never set foot on the parish campus before.”

The parish has plans to follow up with their new friends and invite them to engage further in some of the other parish offerings including ALPHA, a Bible study, a men’s group or even RCIA. The block party was such a success that there are already plans for another one in October.

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