Presentation Ministries Handbook

Compiled, November 21, 1992
Reissued November 21, 2009

Presentation Ministries & Communities: The Name

"Let us profess the truth in love and grow to the full maturity of Christ the Head." —Ephesians 4:15

Our Lady of Presentation Communities and Ministries is a network of covenanted "home-based communities" and ministries of God's word. Presentation is named after Our Lady of Presentation Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, which is now closed. Many of the ministries trace their roots to this parish and its ministry during the late 70s and early 80s.

To understand how the Holy Spirit has led Presentation, it may be helpful to picture the little girl Mary being presented by her parents to the priests in the Temple. Here she grew in age, wisdom, and grace (Lk 2:52) into the woman who became the mother of Jesus. The growth of this little girl into the mother of God was among the most important events in history. Presentation Ministries has also grown in age, wisdom and grace.

God the Father desires the growth of His children. By proclaiming God's word in person and through mass media, Presentation feeds and disciples Christians (see Mt 4:4; Jn 21:15) so that they may grow in holiness, evangelization, and ministry.

The Purpose of PM

From the The Statutes of our Lady of Presentation Communities and Ministries.

1.1 Our Lady of Presentation Communities and Ministries (hereafter referred to as PM) is a network of small covenanted communities and of ministries of God's word. PM is called to share in evangelizing the world by helping Christians grow in discipleship (Mt 28:19), that is, by leading them to imitate Christ in His character and ministry.

1.2 PM's principles of discipleship are primarily based on Acts 2:42: "They devoted themselves to the apostles' instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." Our approach to discipleship is:

  1. rooted in God's word
  2. in the context of communal life (marriage, family, parenting, parish, and home-based communities)
  3. celebrating the Sacraments (especially Baptism, the Eucharist, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation)
  4. faithful in prayer (including Marian prayer)
  5. led by the Holy Spirit
  6. patterned on the RCIA (see Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People, 61)
  7. living a simple life-style
  8. in submission to the Pope and the Archbishop, as defined in Church teaching and canon law
  9. with a strong emphasis on evangelization

Note: For further information about lay groups, see Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People, Sections 29 and 30.

The Leadership of PM

There are five groups of leaders in PM:

  1. Leaders of home-based communities networked in PM
  2. Leaders of ministries networked in PM
  3. Networkers
  4. Directors
  5. Spiritual chaplains

The leaders of home-based communities or of ministries make all the decisions for their communities and ministries.

The networkers make decisions that, as judged by the networkers, affect more than one home-based community.

The directors make decisions that, as judged by the directors, affect more than one HBC or ministry. They are responsible to lead the co-workers.

The spiritual chaplains don't make decisions but give spiritual direction and leadership to communities, ministries, and co-workers in PM.

The Organizational Principles of PM

Some organization principles of PM include:

  1. We believe we are called to a de-centralized organization, encouraging the leaders of the communities or ministries to make most of the decisions, after receiving input from the members of their communities or ministries.
  2. Especially at the early stages of community or ministry, we make decisions through consensus. This promotes unity and the use of spiritual gifts. We don't believe in voting but in sharing what we believe God is saying to the community.
  3. We network communities with other communities and ministries with other ministries. This guards against isolation and mistakes in leadership.
  4. We put checks and balances on the decision-making of our leaders.
  5. We believe in covenants and commitments. We define covenants to be basic agreements among members of a small community by which they grow in Christian brotherhood or sisterhood with each other. We define commitments to be basic agreements with co-workers, with ministries in PM, or with the network of PM communities.
  6. PM is called to reach out internationally (see Is 2:2-4).

Ministry Leaders' Commitment to Presentation Ministries

As leader of ___________________________, I pledge my commitment to Presentation Ministries and ask God to bless my efforts to grow in love and evangelization.

I promise to accept Presentation Ministries' order of leadership; that is, I recognize the directors of Presentation Ministries and ask them to ratify my decisions.

I agree to accept their assistance in choosing new leaders as the need arises.

I will prepare an annual report to the directors.

I promise:

  • to attend community Masses on the last Friday of each month
  • to attend the leadership meetings on the last Saturday of every month whenever possible

The directors of Presentation Ministries invite and encourage leaders to consider the establishment of a home-based covenant community as part of their ministry.

Signed: _______________________________
Beginning date: _______________________________
Ending date: _______________________________

The Membership of PM

There are two ways to be a member of PM:

  1. As a member of a home-based community
  2. As a co-worker

A person becomes a member of a home-based community by visiting a community, being accepted into the community, and making the community's covenant. The members of community try to share daily communal life with some other community members. (Acts 2:42-47)

"Sharing daily life" includes sharing:

  1. God's Word
  2. Time
  3. The Eucharist
  4. Prayer
  5. Gifts
  6. Possessions
  7. Meals

A person becomes a co-worker by agreeing to live the prerequisites and the commitments of co-workers and being accepted into the community by the directors. For more information, see the co-worker brochure.

A person can become a life-long member of PM. See the Statutes of PM, article 4.4, for more information.

Networking Commitment for Presentation Ministries Home-Based Communities

As members of the ___________________________ Home-based community, we pledge our commitment to membership in the Presentation Ministries Network of Home-based communities, and ask God to bless our joint efforts to grow in love and evangelization.

We promise:

  1. PRAYER. All covenanted members of our HBC will pray each day for all covenanted members of all HBC's in the network, and all the work of Presentation Ministries.
  2. MONTHLY MASS. All covenanted members of our HBC will attend each monthly Mass of the total Community, unless excused by our HBC Leader(s).
  3. ANNUAL RETREAT. All covenanted members of our HBC will attend the scheduled annual retreat of the total Community, unless excused by our HBC Leader(s).
  4. LEADERSHIP TRAINING. All in leadership roles in our HBC will attend all scheduled training meetings for leaders of HBC's, unless excused by the Networking Team.
  5. OUTREACH. Our HBC will develop or participate in an outreach ministry of your choice.
  6. EVANGELIZATION. Our HBC will establish an ongoing evangelization effort, and be committed to growth in membership and intentional subsequent branching off into new HBC's.
  7. ANNUAL REPORT. We will prepare an annual report to the Networking Team.

For the ________________________________________ Home-based community:

_______________________________      _______________________________
(Name) (Date)

Networking Team

The Networking Team of Presentation Ministries will assist this HBC by providing.

  1. Leadership training to the established and potential future leaders.
  2. Shepherding of all our leaders.
  3. Occasional visits, to offer support, advice, and communication linkage with other HBCs.
  4. Assistance in choosing our leaders.
  5. Ratification of leaders' decisions, if and when appropriate.

For Presentation Ministries:

_______________________________      _______________________________
(Name) (Date)

The Financial Policy of PM

Some of the main financial principles of PM include:

  1. PM pays no salaries.
  2. PM pays all bills when due. If we would ever be late in paying a bill, we will immediately cut expenses in order to pay the bill as soon as possible. We will not have any debts.
  3. PM does not take out loans, receive interest, or have insurance.
  4. PM is supported by voluntary contributions. Our only approaches to funding are prayer and making our needs known.
  5. PM gives 15% of total contributions to charities to be determined by the directors.
  6. PM publishes an annual financial report.
  7. A finance committee is responsible for monitoring PM's financial affairs.