New certificate program helps Paterson leaders hone skills

A new webinar program promises to help clergy, religious, and lay leaders better meet the pastoral and spiritual needs of the faithful by giving them the best tools to manage their faith communities on administrative and organizational levels, which include technology, finances, facilities, personnel — and spirituality.

Both new and experienced leaders of the Paterson Diocese are invited to enroll in the new Certificate in Church Management program, offered by the Center for Church Management (CCM) at Villanova University near Philadelphia. It’s a non-credit program for leaders of any Christian denomination in pastoral or administrative roles. The program consists of 12 90-minute webinars, starting Sept. 4. Participants access each webinar through its online platform. They also ask questions, share insights with the instructor, and then complete reflection papers.

From Sept. 4, 2024, to April 14, 2025, the program will offer 12 webinars. They will be on the following subjects: Church Management in Mission-Dirven Churches, Leading Councils and Teams, Civil Law, Virtual Presence and Communications, Financial Reporting, Spirituality of Administration, HR and People Management, Budgeting and Allocating Resources, Leadership Development, Security and Facilities Management, Taking the Pulse of Your People, and Strategic Planning.

The webinar program is a condensed version of an existing Master of Science in Church Management program — developed years ago in partnership between Paterson and CCM, part of Villanova’s School of Business. A few diocesan staff have graduated from the two-year, 30-credit program.

One graduate is Mirian Tanis, cemetery manager of Calvary Cemetery in Paterson and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa.

“The master’s program was phenomenal. I learned new practices in applying business skills in a Church environment,” said Tanis. For example, the Stewardship and Development course gave her effective ways to generate donations. “People want to help. We have to ask them, planting a seed in their minds in hopes that it takes root.”

Matthew Manion, CCM’s faculty director, said, “Our distinguished team of presenters is excited to offer participants the most current church management practices designed uniquely for faith-based organizations.”

The CCM schedule starts with the opening of scholarship applications on June 1. A Lilly Foundation scholarship reduces the cost from $899 to $229. Program registration starts July 1. Webinars start Sept. 4.

“The benefits of the Certificate in Church Management program will accrue primarily to leaders of diocesan staff as well as leaders and aspiring leaders in our parishes and schools,” said Patrick Brennan, Paterson’s chief financial officer. “Villanova is providing an important service to the Church by partnering with Paterson and offering this program at a more than 50 percent discount. The university recognizes that parish and school employees typically don’t have the time and money to attend this type of high-quality educational program.”

To apply for the Lilly scholarship and certificate program, email Matthew Davis at

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