Front row L to R - Theresa Symons, Magdalena Rini, Lucy Aung Sian Zam, Rebecca Kay Thi Oo, Niluka Perera, Taskila Nicholas
Back row L to R - Regina Kuizon, Arlene Manoharan, Mary Anne Perera, Joan Lopez, Maria Lourdes Fabia, Hyun Ae Sun, Caroline Price, Deanna Pereira, Virginia Kim, Theresa Mandakath, Paula Rainbow, Sabina Pathrose, Jane Ng, Therese Meera Mathew
Click here for more photos - 2017 Towards Integration for Mission
From the start the group was invited to enter into process of “contemplative listening and learning”- how we could listen to and learn from each other, learn from the past, and envision a new future.
The first day was devoted to getting to know each other and finding out what roles the groups play in Asia Pacific. The group had the opportunity to review existing role descriptions for unit link persons for justice and spirituality, and we reflected on whether these were appropriate for the times, and for the future. This was an important step because as the groups worked, a level of confusion about the role descriptions became clear.
An important question throughout was:
Our second day was devoted to identifying the reality we experience in the world around us, in our units and in the Asia Pacific region; part of this day’s work included identifying the response of Good Shepherd to these realities - at Congregational, regional and unit levels.
It was a sobering and reflective journey for all of us.
We were then invited to identify issues and problems in the work of both teams. We looked at the 'tree' of APJP Core Team, and the 'tree' of the Spirituality network. And, what was happening at the roots, and to the leaves and branches as a result. Again, a sobering reality emerged. We identified the Core Problems, and the root causes that hamper our effectiveness for mission.
Reflection and listening together was important. While similarities emerged, the Core Problems were different. This was how it was, up to now. Through the excellent facilitation of Theresa Symons, we were challenged to go deeper, to let go of whatever formed the past, and to be open to the new. How do we create a healthy 'tree' for Good Shepherd in Asia Pacific into the future?
On day three we plunged into the process of identifying what is emerging, the new, and a way forward - even though we may not know fully what it means. Our deliberations will be shared with the Temporary Working Group set up by the APC that will meet in Indonesia in January 2018. And from there the APC will discern and come to a decision.
Our deep hope is that whatever emerges will give birth to a clear knitting together of justice and peace with spirituality for the sake of mission, and that formation and working in partnership will enable Good Shepherd in Asia Pacific to be strong and risk together for mission!
The documentation was shared with all participants. This will be compiled by Sr Deanna Pereira (CE India/Nepal), who is on the Temporary Working Group, and who will present it to the group in 2018.
Our thanks to the Province of Singapore/Malaysia for hosting this meeting, and to the community at Madonna Heights for their wonderful welcome and hospitality!
Submitted by Caroline Price rgs (Australia/Aotearoa New Zealand)
7 November 2017