The Refounding and Pastoral Development ministry was established in 1990 as a flexible, international research and consultancy unit, under the sponsorship of the three provincials of New Zealand, Australia and Oceania. The ministry is based in Australia.
To collaborate with leadership groups and those in leadership positions within the Church, so that they engage more effectively in their ministry to a postmodern world.
To enlarge the capacity of individuals and groups within the Church in order to exercise leadership for Mission.
The first aim stresses the development of skills in clients so that they may more effectively take up their role of ministry within the Church. The second emphasizes the need for clients individuals and groups to enter into a conversion process with Christ, the Servant Leader. One without the other is ineffective. When the two are operative, then a truly evangelising experience occurs at the individual and group levels.
Ministerial responsibility for the “RPD Unit” is given to Father’s Michael Mullins and Gerald Arbuckle
The insights of the social sciences, especially social anthropology and applied psychology, are utilized within a faith context to help clients develop the skills necessary for their specific tasks. Relevant to this process is the concept of ‘refounding’ as applied to individuals, cultures, groups and other human systems in the Church.
Refounding is the process of returning in faith to the original founding experience and energy of a group in order to respond creatively to contemporary pastoral issues.
The co-founders and co-directors are Michael Mullins, an Australian Marist and a clinical psychologist, and Gerald Arbuckle, a New Zealand Marist and a social anthropologist. Two associates are: Ms Patricia Moroney, a management consultant with wide international experience in the commercial and Church agencies; Ms Kerry Brettell, a consultant of twenty five years experience working in a range of health, welfare, statutory and academic organisations.
Examples of RPD’s Ministry
- General Consultancies e.g. strategic planning, formation processes, field analysis, team building with leadership teams (congregational and diocesan), senior lay executives (e.g. healthcare facilities), Boards of Management (e.g. hospitals and aged care facilities), general chapters of religious congregations, development of multicultural communities.
- Role Consultancy: this is a process whereby the client, e.g. major superiors, bishops, lay leaders, engages with the consultant in a mutual exploration of the client’s role in their organization or system. The client is encouraged to examine how he/she takes up their role, how they define the appropriate boundaries and how they can focus more effectively on the task of the organisation as whole.
- Refounding of Ecclesial Communities: RPD has responded to requests from all Major Superiors Conferences of the English-speaking world, as well as from many religious congregations in a wide variety of countries.
- Refounding Catholic Healthcare Ministry: The Catholic Healthcare Associations of the United States, Canada and Australia (which together oversee several thousand hospitals and other healthcare facilities), as well as individual systems, have sought (since 1993), and continue to request, RPD’s assistance in refounding the healing mission of Christ in a postmodern world and under lay leadership.
- L’Arche International: At the request of Jean Vanier and L’Arche’s International Leadership Team RPD is helping to initiate and co-ordinate a three-year refounding process of L’Arche’s communities throughout the world.
- Research/Publications (Books and Articles): Seven books have been published on aspects of refounding, four of which have received international awards. The most recent book is: Healthcare Ministry: Refounding the Mission in Tumultuous Times. Two further books are to be published in early 2004: Violence, Society and Church: A Cultural Approach and Adult Bullying Social Disease: A Gospel Response.