Why Belong to NCP
Most of us at some stage of our ministry have been involved with questions about the value of financially supporting some organisation. We all have heard questions like: “Why should I support the Parish? I don’t benefit from many of its services”. Or, “Why should I support the school? I don’t have any children in it!”
The answer to such questions lies in the fact that we ask people to support a good work for the common good of all and to share the mission. Parishes are based on this sense of common good and commitment to service others.
The same applies to the NCP.
Why belong? What do we get for our money?
The National Council of Priests was established for ALL clergy – Bishops, Priests and Deacons. We come together from all parts of the country with all kinds of vision of the Church and with the express aim of supporting one another.
Our initial insight continues today of what has been recognised for a long time, “We are priests best when we are priests together”.
The concerns we have as priests, about the enduring nature of priestly ministry, about the ever more diverse groups of people that we serve, about the restless nature of our society and about vocations and the aging and declining number of clergy, are concerns that stretch across the boundaries of our dioceses and religious orders.
The challenges of today are larger than our own capacity as individual clergy to respond to them. The NCP exists that we might bring our collective wisdom to bear on the collective challenges we face as Church in Australia.
In the years that the NCP has operated, clergy have come together to support one another across diocesan and religious order boundaries and to reflect together on our role within and as a vital part of the Church.
We live in such a dynamic, ever changing and sometimes hostile world to faith and traditional religious practice, and for priests particularly, a world where we are becoming more and more isolated and at times cut off from support and the fraternity of brothers in Christ; our fellow priests.
The NCP and The Swag particularly has allowed me to know the encouragement and the comradery of my brother priests. The last NCP conference was my first but it was such a positive, life giving and enjoyable experience, it will be the first of many more.
The NCP provides a network of information around current issues and is fuel for a more active and joy filled ministry; to be slightly corny ‘food for the journey’ with ‘brothers in arms’.
I have enjoyed my membership and look forward each season to The Swag arriving in the mail. I love listening to the wisdom of the priesthood lived in other places and seeing through the experiences of others what the Church is and can be.
Join the NCP and be part of this wonderful network!
Greg Barker, Forster-Tuncurry NSW
I became a member of the NCP in 1995 when I was ordained. I joined it and have been part of the rollercoaster ever since.
I have enjoyed being part of the NCP for a number of reasons. The first is the biennial gathering of the NCP at the various conventions. Only working for the ADF as a Navy chaplain has held me back from attending all the conventions. The conventions are an opportunity for mutual support, listening to interesting/engaging/relevant speakers as well as seeing other parts of this great Southland of Australia we call home. I also enjoy reading The Swagwhich I find stimulating.
Being part of the NCP is a time to remember that you are part of the big picture – the Universal church in Australia.
I give thanks for the opportunity given to us by the NCP to gather and support each other as brother priests.
Paddy Sykes, Wagga Wagga South NSW
As a newly ordained priest I was encouraged to join NCP by Bill Wauchope, a loved senior priest of the Port Pirie Diocese (whom I often had to remind to send in his own membership!) and have been a member for the last 21 years.
It is a great way to stay in touch with the Australian church and presbyterate, through the Convention and The Swag.
NCP provides a communal voice, rather than my lone voice from the bush, for issues that relate to me and the ministry I am called to exercise. As a support to members, a bursary is offered each year to assist with the cost of undertaking further study to improve overall effectiveness in ministry.
Do yourself a favour … join the NCP, and stay in touch.
Brian Mathews, Coober Pedy SA
I sometimes find that my world as a diocesan priest can become a bit of a “fishbowl” – whereby local ministry and local church issues become a bit all-consuming … especially as I live “way over in the West”!
Being a member of the NCP keeps me in touch with the “bigger picture” of church life and ministry in Australia. It connects me with brother priests from a diverse array of places and ministry experiences, which greatly enriches my own life and ministry. I am most grateful for the fraternity, support and encouragement I receive from participating in events like our biennial Conventions and from being a member of the NCP executive.
So … if you are not a member, I wholeheartedly encourage you to join up and get involved. You will be glad that you did!
Wayne Bendotti, Bunbury WA
The NCP provides a forum to give voice to the aspirations and concerns of priestly ministry in Australia. It is a privilege to be able to listen to our brother priests from across our land in diverse settings in parish and other ministries.
NCP helps connect religious and diocesan priests as well as those born here and those who come from distant shores to work as missionaries.
Our organisation also relates to the broader international church with our network of associations with priest groups from around the world.
I am committed to promoting these endeavours within our church and the benefit it brings to us all.
Ian McGinnity, Parramatta NSW
Since joining NCP in 2003, I have continued my association with the organisation and have been lucky enough to attend a few Conventions. In January 2014 I started to work as one of the NCP executive and I look forward to working closely with other members from different parishes, dioceses and cultural backgrounds.
One of the things I most enjoy as a member of NCP is reading The Swag magazine. The many different topics relate to my vocation and ministry in Australia. In particular, I love to read stories of fellow priests from around the country. Their stories, on some levels, are my story too. In solidarity with them, especially in reading their personal stories, I am in touch with my own story. I am in touch with my spiritual journey, my vocation struggles and also my joys in ministry in this country.
As a priest from Indonesia, I encourage other newly arrived priests from overseas to join NCP – the place to be and the home for sharing our stories.
Boni Buahendri SVD, Melbourne VIC
To support and to be supported; to encourage and to be encouraged by those with whom I share priestly life and ministry – this is why I am a member of the National Council of Priests.
Mark Freeman, Hobart TAS
I joined NCP because I believe in the camaraderie and solidarity of priesthood and as an NCP member I do feel connected to the wider presbyterate.
Belonging to NCP has given me opportunities to meet and socialise with priests from all over Australia which have been both enjoyable and affirming experiences.
The NCP provides a voice for priests. It is a means of expressing our concerns, our hopes and our vision for the Church in Australia.
Jim Clarke, Melbourne VIC