Over the past two and a half years I have been part of the Congregational Chapter Planning Committee in Rome. We were a group of 18 women coming from 14 different countries. Along with representatives from the Congregational Leadership Team we included a lay Mission Partner, Theresa Symons from Malaysia, and our two facilitators, Jill McCorquodale and Patty Fawkner from Australia. When we first met in June 2012 we began a journey together which will culminate with the Congregational Chapter in June 2015.
Like all journeys there were times of energy, risk, uncertainty, reflection, stillness and hope as we moved towards our goals of planning for the ICAs, CACS and the Chapter. As we came together for our 6 monthly meetings there was a growing sense that we were energised by the spirit to risk together for mission.
Our facilitators enabled a space for dialogue where different viewpoints were respectfully explored. At times courage was needed to go ahead in directions where the outcomes were unclear.
Also over the course of the journey we changed. As in life, members coped with personal loss with the deaths of family members, unexpected illnesses and changes in apostolic ministries.
We celebrated together many times such as when the chapter logo evolved, when the preparation booklet came together and as we evaluated the ICAs and CACS. In the process of completing our tasks we were enriched by each other and the unity of the Good Shepherd spirit found in the group.
When I look back over the ministries I have been involved with in recent years I find an echo of what I experienced in the Chapter planning group. There has been uncertainty, risk taking, obstacles and always a sense of hope and communion.
I found this in various provinces of Asia as I worked as a facilitator. It began in 2007 when I was invited to the East Asia province to facilitate their chapter. It was new for me and I imagine a challenge for many of our sisters. However we went forward together and the Good Shepherd energetic spirit found new paths of expression. I have had similar experiences as I worked in other provinces as well as with the Asia Pacific Partnership Team and the Asia Pacific Circle.
In our province of Australia/New Zealand we are involved with a different expression of risk taking and hope as we develop structures with our lay Mission Partners to enable Good Shepherd ministries and mission to continue into the future.
I think of St Mary Euphrasia and her intent to establish an international congregation where Good Shepherd mission could grow in the richness of diversity. I am optimistic as I see developments in our region and I remain curious and delighted to be part of the energising spirit of God in these challenging world times.
In organizing a session, workshop or meeting, who do you look for to facilitate the event? This article may give you some good ideas....
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