Diarmuid continued his workshop today by focusing on what he called the companionship of empowerment. This term he prefers to the usual idea of the Kingdom of God as it moves beyond the idea of hierarchy to a sense of mutuality. It involves moving away from a sense of following an ecclesiastical Christ as a docile child to a sense of friendship between adults or co-disciples serving and earthing the companionship of empowerment.
This shift requires a change in the level of awareness where I move from being autonomous, self-reliant, separate, rational and individual. Instead I come to realise that I am the sum of my relationships and that these relationships help me move from power to empowerment. As this move occurs, we are called to actively engage in eradicating poverty as we see that people made poor are the very focus of the companionship of empowerment. It is a movement that prioritizes a ministry of justice and involves a four-fold movement:
- Serve first the new companionship
- Criticize the status quo in order to energize
- Solidarity with the marginalized
- Discerning empowering networks.
Diarmuid identified some of the critical dimensions for eradicating poverty from the work of Stephen Smith: i). Basic Health care; ii) Basic Education; iii). A quantity of money necessary to live with dignity; iv). Feeling like a useful citizen; v). Access to information via internet/Phones; vi). A healthy environment for healthy people; vii). Personal Empowerment to realize one’s God-given potential; viii). Community Empowerment for meaningful participation in society.