Monday, December 22, 2008

From sales to sacraments

Today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Business section has "the latest in a monthly feature on people changing jobs in a dynamic economy." Joel Dresang interviews Father Dennis Wieland who had a career in retail management. He then attended Sacred Heart School of Theology (here in Franklin) and was ordained a priest at age 37. Now about 20 years later he's pastor of St. Anthony Church in Menomonee Falls.
What is your role in the parish?

"My primary responsibility is to shepherd this local community, to lead them in worship, to be like the chief teacher in the parish. Other things that go along with it are like chief financial officer. ..."


How does your retail experience play into what you do?

"I can use a lot of the skills that I learned in retail management in the parish - how to run a parish effectively. They don't teach you in seminary how to deal with finances. ..."

Last I heard, priests lack seminary training not just in parish finance but in parish administration generally. They might need at least enough training to avoid either micro-managing or failing in oversight of subordinates.

A sidebar gives Wisconsin's average clergy compensation at about $45,000 a year. Through 2016 the demand for clergy is projected to grow faster that the average for all occupations. These figures are not broken down by denomination.

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