love, the Heart of the Universe. Week Eight
This week, presented by Clare Nolan RGS focused on “Development of Mission in a Global Context.” Global trends presented were:
- The changing face of poverty
- Social mobility and migration
- Access to financial resources for ministry becoming more competitive
- A move toward policies that exclude which impact on economic and social realities
- A search for the Spiritual and a move away from institutional religion
- Commodification of human beings
- Human rights
- Increase in Grass Roots empowerment movements.
The participants, as members of our congregation, were asked to share on “What is required of me today” in light of these trends.
Clare shared the background history of justice as an integral part of our mission. She began with our constitutions, then the declaration of the 1971 Synod of Bishops and continued through congregational chapters. Justice is a spiritual journey searching for the deepest meaning of life and the sacred tenderness that God sees in each person. We looked at justice as inclusion which is seen in the elements of a human rights approach. All ministries are now challenged to include this approach.
The participants then reviewed the congregational position papers and chose two areas where they could outline a way to respond using the elements of a human rights approach.
A panel of four leaders told a story of a significant moment in their lives where they saw a new need and responded to it. Elaine shared a story of when she volunteered as a buddy to persons with AIDS in the early days of the disease. Josita’s story was around her experience as a formator and her efforts to introduce new learnings and new approaches to formation. Lilly shared her experience of community as a contemplative and how healing prayerful listening can be. Susanna told the story of her province when they made the decision to hand over the management of prison work and the impact this had on the community who had worked in these prisons for many years.
The participants spent the afternoon remembering great women in their lives who have had an impact on them. They presented their work in a creative and symbolic way.
A Mission Development Process was presented and worked on in unit groups. It is a framework which can be applied to all areas of mission/ministry. This process begins in expressing a Vision, Mission and corresponding Values. The framework includes a needs assessment, participative planning, building mission partnership, outlining a strategic and funding plan, includes a human rights approach, internal policy development, capacity building and training, advocacy, mission effectiveness, monitoring and evaluation. The day ending with the participants sharing and clarifying different aspects of the Mission Development Process.