Lundholm-Eades accepts national church management position

| July 20, 2011 | 0 Comments


After working in the archdiocese for 17 years, Jim Lundholm-Eades will leave his current position as parish services and planning director to take a similar position with the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, based in Washington, D.C.

Ever since the organization gave him an award in 2010, “they have been talking with me about the possibility of working for them,” said Lundholm-Eades. But, at that time, he was knee deep in the archdiocesan strategic planning process and wanted to help complete the implementation of Archbishop John Nienstedt’s vision of “communio” [gathering to celebrate Christ in Word and sacrament] and “missio” [bearing witness to the faith], as set forth in “Lumen Gentium.”

“More than anything, getting people in relationship around the mission of the church, that’s the plan and that’s what we did,” said Lundholm-Eades, who attends St. Mary of the Lake in White Bear Lake with his wife, Kim.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has had a long history of being decentralized, which is an organizational principle, he said, not a theological virtue like ‘communio in missio.’ With the strategic plan in place, the archdiocese will “never be as disconnected as we were,” he added.

The result is that it will make the mission of the church sustainable, and future planning and collaboration will be part of the ongoing life of the archdiocese.

Lessons learned

Lundholm-Eades said he learned a lot from the planning process that he will carry into his new position with the roundtable, which currently offers management tools and training in about 300 dioceses, parishes and institutions.

“I learned that when you are dealing with such a complex organism as the archdiocese at the scale we’re at, no one person can hold the picture and manage all the variables,” he said. “That has to be a team effort.”

More important, he said, planning decisions for the church are about people and by people.

“The plan is about the relationship between parishioners, between pastors and between the archbishop,” he said. “You can take all the complexity of factors and narrow it down to, ‘The archdiocese is gathered for one purpose.

It’s their common agreement among themselves to further the work of Jesus Christ.’”

He said the greatest achievement of the Strategic Plan was creating those relationships among priests, parish leaders and parishioners.

A native of Australia and former Christian Brother, Lundholm-Eades first traveled to the United States in 1990 to study post-traumatic stress disorder in a locked psychiatric ward for six months and then spent 14 months studying chemical dependency at Hazelden in Center City.

“My clinical background was in working with families with chemical dependency and I worked a lot with Aboriginal populations,” he said.

He then returned to the Diocese of Armidale, Australia, where he had co-created Catholic Social Services and served seven years as its director. He helped to train and implement spiritually-based recovery programs to serve Aboriginal families. But, two years later, he returned to the United States to marry, Kim, a student he met while studying here.

Today, the couple has two children and one grandchild; all of them are in Australia for three weeks to visit family members.

Remaining in Minnesota

Lundholm-Eades will return for one last week of work at the archdiocese before beginning his new job, which will allow him to continue to hone his skills in collaboration, management and faith. He will remain based in Minnesota, but will be working with Catholic groups throughout the nation.

“Strategic planning is the most exciting thing I’ve done since being in the archdiocese,” he said. “One of the real pluses was working with Archbishop Nienstedt. I’ve worked with six bishops and he is the most consultative of all.”

He also praised the leadership of Father Peter Laird and the skilled work of every member of the Parish Services Team as they handled many complex and difficult situations.

“I believe the church gets what it needs at the right time,” he said.

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