Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.
These words of the Irish writer, Brendan Kennelly, from the poem Begin ring true as we reflect on the experience and directions of the Congregational Forum of 2011. We are living at a time when our life patterns, our paradigms, our theologies, and our spiritualities are being stretched once again.
While we may prefer what is predictable, it is only in hope, and with the support of each other, that we can navigate the constant changes and transformations in society, in church, and in our own congregational and personal lives. What matters is knowing and believing, that in these twists and turns in the road, new spheres of possibility open before us. A seed that dies brings forth new life. From endings, a little disequilibrium and all kinds of changes, we can generate new answers, new solutions, and new life is given. If we trust!
The Congregational Forum Directions 2011 – 2016 challenge us to re-think our thrust in the following areas:
- Leadership and Governance
- Spirituality in an Evolving Consciousness
- Justice In A Global World
- Church : Rekindling Light And Life For The World
- Resources Into The Future
These Forum Directions ring out messages both old and new. The call to deepen our spirituality and life in God is a constant, and has a new imperative. We are challenged to extend our theological understandings and also to be bearers of light where we can in a fragile church. The call to be people of justice and compassion, extending the reign of God to places and situations where it is most lacking, is core to our identity – this is certainly one area where there is ‘no conclusion and we must forever begin’.
We are in another threshold moment in our Brigidine story – that of moving to some restructuring of the way in which we organise ourselves as a Congregation. In some ways this is a return to our roots and an acclamation that we strongly desire to be one Congregation. Perhaps an even more significant threshold moment in the longer term is our growing realisation of our place as humans in the larger story of the evolving universe and of the call to expand our spiritual understanding, and be converted in our patterns of living, as we face the challenges for the future. As Thomas Berry so starkly puts it: “Unless the human community and the natural community go into the
future together both will perish in the desert.” Thomas Berry.
May we weave together all the Forum Directions in such a way that they are life-giving and unifying for us all and for our mission in the world.
“Let us go forward on the road that has brought us to where we are.”