The new director of pastoral services for the Archdiocese of Regina has a good understanding of servant leadership.
Lisa Polk began her 11-year church career rather humbly, as a part-time custodian at Resurrection Parish.
“My interview consisted of, ‘Hey, she can clean toilets, let’s hire her,’” she says with a laugh.
After 18 months, the pastor asked her to take on the role of sacraments coordinator for the parish, which has the largest population of any in the archdiocese. She served in that role for seven years before becoming pastoral assistant in 2016.
Effective August 1, Polk will be starting a new and challenging leg of the journey, directing pastoral services for Regina’s entire archdiocese. The position is currently responsible for nine offices, including the permanent diaconate program, health care (hospital chaplains), lay formation and evangelization program, youth, social justice, resource centre, responsible parish ministry, communications, and archives.
“It’s like looking forward to the unknown,” says Polk. “I am, however, looking forward to providing servant leadership for the archdiocese.”
She believes her love of the Church and an urge to share Christ’s message are the biggest assets she brings to the position.
“I think the place where my heart really lies is helping to bring Christ to people.”
Polk succeeds Robert Kowalchuk in the pastoral services position. Before him, it was traditionally filled by sisters of a religious order.
In addition to her parish service, she brings an eclectic work experience to the position, and knows more than a bit about teamwork. After high school she trained as a legal secretary and worked at a law firm in Parksville, B.C. She was also a cheerleader for the BC Lions football club, an experience that led her to form her own cheerleading and stunt club while owning a cheerleading gym. “I had three competitive teams.”
After marriage she did some babysitting and ran a day care to boost the family income. She and husband Arron moved to Regina in 2007, when Arron was posted to RCMP Depot division as an instructor. They are parents to two daughters, 17 and 22, and will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on August 21.
Both had been active in their Parksville parish, and they expected to do the same when they moved to Regina. They chose a house close to both St. Gabriel School and Resurrection Parish. Polk volunteered at the school, and then noticed that the parish was looking for a part-time custodian, and began her career with the Church.
She expects to do a lot of listening in the first few months.
“I want to be part of a team,’ she stresses. “I’m not going to come in and give a lot of direction. I want to make sure we are all using our gifts and powers in the right way, and I can’t do that without getting to know people and letting them know who I am.”