Handbook Feedback - Nowra

Sorry for such a delay in responding. As a fledgling group we are struggling to fly so have decided to crawl a bit through a time of formation for a while. We have diminished to five members, Katherine is moving interstate which will be such a loss. Others left early, maybe they were looking for something to “do” but most of us thought we should explore what is happening in our community first and see where we maybe effective rather than spread thinly across the many needs in the community.

We have found a group “Shoalhaven Anti-Poverty Committee” made up of a number of NGO’s, Council, TAFE and they have invited us to come to their next meeting to take a look. We are quietly confident that we might find a place here to start being active. We have identified a Community Store (Foodbank) which we will visit next week. They are always seeking donations of fresh produce so maybe our parishioners with their home gardens might like to contribute a bit of their surplus?

On the SJ Handbook we spent a lot of time discussing the draft. I am attaching a revised layout that one of our members put together for your consideration. We all struggled to work with the handbook in its current format as we found it not clear or easy to read. I am inserting the responses to our reading of the handbook.


“Rather I guess that the main things I was thinking about were:

•             Open with a bang not a box – the quote from Micah sets the theme for the document, it should be emphasised not boxed in.

•             Clearer headings and subheadings (I think that I changed styles somewhere along the line as I was playing with the document – of course in the finished product everything should be consistent)

•             Putting the pictures/quotes in the right place – ie match the place in the text or to be at the beginning of an explanation, not buried at the end.

•             More spacing in the document to make things easier to read

•             Indenting downloads and/or large quotes – or identifying them as a quote in some other way – can be a different colour, change of font, anything really.  If it is not important, why down load it?

•             Dating extracts from websites (as references and websites change)


I have just removed some pictures as my words took up more room than the dio draft document and I was trying to keep things to the same space.  It is very important to note that I am not saying anything about the pictures or whether they should be there or not.  The images that I have left in I think are necessary for this part of the text as they illustrate the issues, but the ones that have been removed (for space and no other reason) are also important to be included in the document as they show what people in our diocese are doing.

Also it would be a good idea to put the headings in the contents page into the document itself.


Oh and I included the missing paragraph from the download –it is in italics in the body of the text, where it is on the website.


If length of the document is important, then quality of presentation should not be compromised.  If it is, who will read it?


Just as an addition to the comments from Saturday – the last paragraph entitled “Summary” could be named better.  If it is meant to be a summary, then it could be worded differently (I think it should be called prayer and maybe left in)


In the contents there were specific topics missing eg Youth unemployment, Homelessness or are the topics pre-set. We had a strong view on replacing “should” to “we are called to” or something similar. Any statistics must be referenced. We are seeking more information on social doctrine/catholic social teaching.”


A mouthful but we hope there are some useful ideas you may be able to take on board. I will keep in touch as our group continues to journey forward.


Robyn Presdee