The $100,000 dreams
Pragmatically our parish hall, and our diocesan meeting facility in a rural locale, are both lacking air conditioning. They would both get far more use if they were air-conditioned. $100,000 would go a long way to getting both properties done. The parish hall already has the infrastructure for air-conditioning, it only needs the machines to be installed.
Get a StrengthsFinder based enterprise up and running. At least for a year's trial. $20,000 for office space rent, $40,000 to get 4 counsellors trained up ($8000 each plus airfares and accommodation), $30,000 for computers (6) and software, $5,000 for office fit-out (tables, chairs etc), $5,000 for StrengthsFinder books and questionnaires. However it really should be more like $55,000 for this last one to be able to offer the StrengthsFinder information free. So that's a $150,000 budget. Three pronged approach, business leadership, job placement and help for parishioners to find where God has gifted them and which teams they would be best suited to. Business leadership would be helping small business owners understand their natural leadership style and what gifts and talents they need on their teams. First consult free, second and third consults by donation, fourth consult negotiate a regular fee. Job placement, having worked out what is needed, if we know a person with those talents we ask the business owners to give them a go. Build up using the same free, donation, negotiate regular fee process. All parishioner consults for free, for both individuals and groups.
The parishioner based StrengthsFinder work could morph into a Monday-Friday training hub. Day 1 a modified Life in the Spirit Seminar, Day 2 doing the StrengthsFinder questionnaire and learning how the themes and talents fit together. Day 3 a silent retreat and writing in a journal; sorting it all out and praying day. Day 4 sharing the fruits of the retreat day with counsellors and in the group, with lots of brainstorming. Day 5 writing out a plan of action, sharing it, group prayer, celebration and sending time. Then 4-5 weeks later a single day of follow up, maybe on a weekend, with the group, to share experiences, to pray and plan some more.
Making 100 grants of $1000 available for young adults in our diocese to be able to go on week long silent retreats where they could take time away from the world to be with God and with the help of good holy experienced spiritual directors to be able to listen to what God is calling them to be, and work out how to discern that further and act upon it. Most young adults are unemployed and without the funds (personal or family) to be able to afford what such retreats normally cost. Do the legwork to find out where the most Holy Spirit led silent retreats are happening, and book regular places for the grants to be used at that place.
The $1 million dreams
Put an extension on our diocesan meeting facility in a rural locale: add a proper dining room with tables and chairs, add at least 2 additional smaller meeting rooms, upgrade the internet access, add on a full bank of easily accessed toilets (4 women's, 3 gent's, 1 disabled/baby change table). (To access the current toilet facilities you either have to negotiate a flight of stairs or take a walk to another building on the property).
Purchase a commercial property in one of the business hubs within the parish, and transform it into an interdenominational chapel, and invite faith communities from within the parish to man prayer for our parish and region on a 24/7 basis. We could keep the lights on and the rates paid with a small piety shop / information desk at the front and a donations box.
The $10 million dreams
Purchase several run-down properties in the same area, within the parish boundaries, and build a 12-20 bed Catholic hospice with a chapel and quarters for a live-in priest-chaplain. Currently you have to drive at least an hour away from our parish to get any form of Catholic aged care.
Back to that diocesan meeting facility in a rural locale: it has extensive grounds. Build a new accommodation block, with comfortable quarters for singles, married couples and families. By comfortable I mean pleasant, roomy, more home-like than motel-style, with air-conditioning, stable internet access, undercover parking, ensuites, and 2 or 3 communal laundry rooms. Set it up as retreat accommodation that is attractive, and set up an associated trust fund so that donations can keep the cost of accessing the retreat facilities possible to people and families on low incomes/pensions. Each parish in the diocese would then be allocated a number of rooms and days each year that were free, so that the parish priest could send those in need of retreat time as needs arose (to pray and seek God about a new project, to write new books or songs/music, to take time to pray about a big life decision, to find solace after a traumatic event, etc)
Purchase property, either to rebuild or to renovate, in order to establish a Study Centre for Christian Art. Run courses in Christian Art history (art, music, vestments, tapestry/embroidery, metalwork, sculpture, architecture etc). Have studio space. Have Gallery spaces. Have a coffee shop and book shop. Have accommodation for artists in residence and/or visiting national/international artists/experts. Run courses in developing Christian Art careers. Develop a reference library on Christian Art, where people can come and research (but not borrow). Have facilities for hands-on workshop spaces. It also needs to contain a Chapel, because true Christian art is founded on prayer, and leads back to prayer. Host and encourage travelling exhibitions. Once a year run a conference on Christian Art, with an associated Modern Christian Art exhibition with decent prize money. (Modern as is art made by living artists whose art practice helps people connect more deeply with God through the depiction of Christian images and themes). Have a minibus to assist transporting people to and from transport hubs to the Study Centre. Now what are the chances such a property could be sourced close to the diocesan meeting facility?
Do I have more ideas? Of course I have. It is just that these ones are front and centre in my mind just now. Find the blog category 'Ideas', and read through the blog-posts associated with that category to locate more of them.
May the Holy Spirit blow and bring into being those ideas that are inspired by Him, and let all the others wither and decay. Amen.