Gathering at Baulkham Hills to begin the process of reimagining how we organise ourselves
I still have ringing in my mind the final hymn I am with you on the journey and I will never leave you … and we are on a journey that has truly begun but the process was part of a continuum and this gathering was another step in the process; it was obvious that it was so and there is still much work and reflection before decisions are made. Hints of spring in budding wattle and later sunrises and sunsets added a note of hopefulness.
Much of the time we worked at our tables in groups of 5 or so and these groupings changed frequently so we had the opportunity to work with many rather than a few. Each member of the ANZ Province received the booklet that was used at the gathering in which was included material for prayer. These were used at our tables at appropriate moments during the whole process. In each there was time for personal reflection, sharing, and finally prayers which were shared with the total gathering.
For me I think the most helpful moment was the reflection on discernment at the very beginning. Discernment is firstly an attitude that is inspired by the scriptures and results finally in a decision. For an experience of this we operated in groups, one person in each giving an experience of discernment in her life. The process involves ‘downloading’, that is the matter is presented, the story is told. Facts relating to discernment are given and an open mind is needed here. The listeners hear the story with empathy, open hearts, and finally the listeners share how the story impacted on them using metaphors or images to describe what they heard. This impacts on the person discerning a step or decision and helps towards letting go of control, and towards openness and freedom. In the case of the person telling her story in our group, the decision was ultimately not going to be hers. The scripture passage that was applied by one person in our group was “Not my will but yours be done”.
We looked at what is essential e.g. charism and mission, relationships, responsibilities, and structures, and were asked to respond to these beginning with the phrase “For the sake of mission and life we organise ourselves so that ….”. One example among many was “When our relationships are based on faith and love we can be fully present and joyful in our interactions whether they be with one another, with people in our ministry environments or in other situations, both formal and informal”. Following that a challenge to come up with some structures but this were simply a beginning to get us thinking – nothing concrete emerged.
And so we departed knowing that “the journey continues …”
Esmey Herscovitch, RSCJ