WORKING ON THE BUSINESS PLAN WITH FIONA GALLAGHER

IMG_20150829_180126The TST had four days planning with Fiona Gallagher, an organisational consultant from Ireland. During these four days, we reviewed the planning goals that we had drawn up, and worked at a way of ensuring that all elements of the plan were being attended to in a systematic and efficient manner. These days with Fiona proved very useful as we come to the point of establishing the first cluster of communities.

Reviewing the work of the last sixteen months shows that we have not been idle! There has been a tremendous amount of work done to bring the first cluster into being. This has been both a challenging and exciting time. In many ways, we are at the cusp of a new way of being Brother, and this can be an inspiring moment for all!

CLT TO JOIN THE OPENING CEREMONY

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The news has just come in that Br Hugh O’Neill and John Casey have confirmed that they will attend the opening ceremony of the Orientation Program, and will remain in Lusaka for a week or so. Originally, they were to be on a training session, but they decided that their presence at the beginning of the Orientation Program was top priority.

They arrive in Lusaka on 5th September and will be interested in meeting all the Brothers who have opted for the Orientation Program. Brothers from all the communities in Zambia are warmly invited to come to the opening ceremony where they will have the opportunity to meet with two members of the CLT. We on the TST are delighted to welcome Hugh and John, and hope that their stay in Zambia is both relaxing and stimulating at the same time.

DRAWN BY MYSTERY, DESTINED FOR LIFE

The N airobi Chapter Calls - Part 1

 

Some very rich and inspiring articles are beginning to arrive on the editor’s desk in preparation for the publication of a second book on the spirituality of OWITF. Leadership Teams have begun inviting Brothers to write on the calls of the Nairobi Chapter, and what is emerging will prove to be a significant development in this regard.

The original book – Our Way into the Future – continues to offer rich material for personal and community discussion. Our hope is that when the new book – Drawn by Mystery, Destined for Life – appears, it will provide for a further source for personal and communal reflection. Should there be Brothers out there who have yet to put pen to paper, we encourage you to begin today to reflect deeply on the Chapter calls, and share your thoughts on the implications of these invitations to live the life of brotherhood in a vibrant and coherent manner by sending them into the editor (David Gibson)

WORK IN WESTERN PROVINCE

Donal and Ruvan are in Western Province, meeting with the local leaders in the chosen sites for the hub and frontline communities: Mongu, Limulunga, Moyo, Senanga and Luampa. This present visit also entails a meeting with people from each of the locations. Such meetings give notice of the arrival of the Brothers, and offer the opportunity for the people to express their response. In addition, Ruvan and Donal are looking to find accommodation for the various communities. Once the accommodation is found, there will be need to renovate these houses. This work will take place over the next four months so that by December the houses will be ready to receive the five communities. Already, the Brothers’ house in Mongu has been kindly made available by South Central District and the Bishop of Mongu for the Hub community. 

PREPARATION FOR IMMERSION

One of the elements of the program will involve Brothers living with a Zambian family for a week. The aim of this aspect of the OP is to offer Brothers a brief glimpse of what life in a Zambian family is like. Even Brothers from Zambia will participate in this exercise for it will afford them the opportunity to see what it is like to live with a family as a religious Brother.
By way of preparation for this element of the program, David, Declan, Francis and Sunil made visits to three places: Kabwe, Mazabuka and a village called ‘Ten Mile’. They met with either the parish priest, the local Christian communities or the families themselves. It was both inspiring and moving to experience the openhearted welcome from the families who saw our request as a privilege. They were most gracious in the way they agreed to host a Brother for a week. Such a warm response from the families augurs well for this immersion experience, which is also a prelude to the movement of the Brothers to the frontline communities in Western Province.
We want to thank Brs Jackson Mubela and Tatenda Matonga for the work they did in contacting the various hosting families.

THE TIME IS NOW!

The time is fast approaching for the beginning of the Orientation Program (OP). The opening ceremony of welcome will take place on Sunday, 6th September. As well as the Brothers from Zambia and both Michael deKlerk and the SC DLT, religious from the Lusaka are being invited to take part in this paraliturgy that will also have a local choir to animate the proceedings.
We want to thank all those Brothers and friends who have been so supportive to us in planning and preparing for the Orientation Program. In a real sense, this is an exercise in co-creativity with many people being involved in the process.

We wish to thank the Brothers in ISC who have been working hard to prepare the venue for the Orientation Program. There was much to do to make the centre ready for the arrival of the Brothers. This preparation is still on-going with various renovations being made to ensure that the OP participants are made as comfortable as possible. The centre provides a simple but beautiful setting for the OP, and once the work on the centre is completed, we hope that the participants will find ISC a place of peace, and tranquillity.

TST AT THE CLG MEETING

From 1st – 8th June, Donal and Sunil joined the Congregation Leadership Group (CLG) meeting in Rome. The gathering, which took as its focus “Leadership on Shifting Ground”, highlighted the challenge facing the Congregation to discover ways of responding to the Call of the Chapter in a rapidly evolving world. Br. Michael Burke acted as facilitator.

During the meeting the CLG affirmed the mandate given to the TST to establish twenty new communities in the developing world. The group expressed the belief that, at its heart, this is a new way of living consecrated life authentically and with passion. The vital partnership being created between the CLT and the TST was emphasised in this period of transition. Also stressed was the importance of creating for the young men entering the novitiate a formation programme that embodies Our Way into the Future. In addition, it was stressed that Province, District and Region leaders are expected to encourage suitable Brothers to join the new communities. Moreover, there is an expectation that all communities are to embrace the spirit and practice of OWITF.

A key element in the CLG meeting was the issue of sustainability. Provinces with more resources were invited again to consider how they might help emerging ministries to be sustainable.

 

LIFE ON THE TST

As a team, we are very conscious of the importance of our life as a community as well as the work we have on hand. We have, therefore, created a healthy rhythm of prayer and relaxation to support us in meeting the challenges of our community living and ministry. Morning prayer and a session of shared centering prayer in the evening provide the sacred space for each of us to grow in awareness of God in our lives. Our regular check-ins are also valuable in enabling each of us to explore and share our personal and interpersonal experiences of what it’s like to be part of the TST. Overall, we are attempting to live the Chapter call to create a joyful community characterised by gentleness, intimacy, compassion and love.

 

READY….GET SET… GO WEST

Monday 6th April saw Donal, David and Ruvan set out from Lusaka heading to Western Province, Zambia.

It was an exciting moment for the whole team and another milestone on the journey to set up the first Cluster of new OWITF communities. The search team’s fourth member, Br Nsamu Moonga, arrived later in the week. Being Zambian, Nsamu was able to pick up levels of communication not apparent to the others, and helped the whole team interpret more clearly what was being said (or not said). His energy and enthusiasm proved a great gift to the team.

The base for the first two weeks was Kaoma, a small town on the main road west. The search team was warmly welcomed by Presentation Sisters Inez, Virginia, Molly and Terry. The Sisters are well established there, with a wide variety of projects and proved to be wonderful hosts, willing to introduce the team to their many local contacts.

With Kaoma as a base, the team visited three villages: Kabanga, Mangango and Luampa. After two weeks in Kaoma, the search team moved to Mongu, a somewhat larger town than Kaoma, where the team was welcomed into the Presentation Sisters community house to stay while the Sisters were away. While in the Mongu area, the team visited three more villages: Limulunga, Muoyo and Senanga.

In each of these places the team met with either the local traditional leader and/or the people already working on the ground.

The criteria that we had drawn up to assess the suitability of the sites were as follows:

  • Sites where people are socially excluded, economically marginalised and deprived of their basic human rights.
  • Sites that are relatively under serviced by the Church or religious orders.
  • Sites situated within 6 to 8 hours travel distance by public transport from the hub community.
  • Sites where we would be welcomed by the local community.
  • Sites where there is adequate accommodation and basic services are made available. (Public transport, communication, water, electricity, etc.)
  • Sites where there is potential for collaboration with other religious and NGO’s.

In each of the villages mentioned above, we found that they fulfilled most of the criteria. The one criteria that challenged the team was that of adequate accommodation, of which there was very little available. However, the welcome the team received from the people, and their assurance that they would find adequate temporary accommodation relieved some of their anxiety. In addition, the promise of land for constructing more permanent accommodation was reassuring.

In Mongu the team visited the Bishop of Mongu, Rev. Evans Chinyemba OMI and the Vicar for the Diocese, Fr. James Connolly, OFM Cap. The Bishop was very gracious and recalled the various teachers who had taught him at St. Columba’s, the Brothers’ school in Lukulu. He was very supportive of the Brothers’ presence in the diocese, and expressed real interest in the idea of the Brothers establishing five communities in his diocese.

CONVERSATIONS WITH THE ZAMBIAN BROTHERS

Declan, Francis and Sunil in Lusaka have had many significant conversations with the Brothers in Zambia about the new communities. The South Central District has bravely opened itself to hosting the first Cluster of new communities in the Congregation. A significant number of Brothers from the District have volunteered. This is presenting great challenges and blessings to Brothers and Leadership alike.

TST and the South Central DLT are working in partnership to create a spirit of openness among the Brothers, and engagement with the new direction for the District and Congregation. TST members facilitated an OWITF workshop at the “under 40s Brothers” weekend. There were many searching questions about ministry in the new communities, study opportunities, future governance structures and the process of choosing the Western Province. TST is most grateful to the Brothers who participated for their honesty and engagement in the sessions.