In Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, 80 Good Shepherd Mission Partners (sisters and lay) gathered from 6 – 17 October 2014. They represented the 10 Units of Asia Pacific: Singapore/Malaysia, Sri Lanka/Pakistan, Central East India/Nepal, South West India, Philippines, North East Asia, Japan, East Asia, Indonesia, Australia/Aotearoa New Zealand.
Assemblies are held every six years in preparation for the Congregational Chapter.
Intercontinental Assemblies are regional gatherings of sisters and lay Mission Partners:
Americas Intercontinental Assembly was held in Quito, Ecuador from 25 August – 5 September 2014 - ICA Americas
6 – 17 October 2014. Asia Pacific Intercontinental Assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - ICA Asia Pacific
Europe-RIMOA (Middle East, The Isles, Africa) Intercontinental Assembly will take place in Angers, France from 4 – 15 November 2014 - ICA Europe-RIMOA
Congregational Assembly of Contemplative Sisters was held in Quito, Ecuador from 8 – 21 August 2014 - Assembly of Contemplative Sisters
Read more about each day’s programme and view photos and videos - Asia Pacific ICA 2014
Participants were warmly welcomed by Mission Partners of Singapore/Malaysia who hosted the assembly.
Formal welcome from Sister Josita Corera, the Chairperson of Organizing Committee:
At this APICA, I am experiencing the joy expressed by Mother Foundress when she said ‘How happy am I to have you all around me’. This gathering of joy is significant as it also speaks of the great hope, courage and zeal which we hold together as we progress in shaping Good Shepherd mission here in Asia Pacific. The active participation of the lay partners here is also significant as they bring with them new dimensions that challenge and broaden our perspectives of missioning. The co-learning experience and support in organizing this gathering has been truly beneficial in strengthening our partnership. I am very hopeful that God’s empowering love will reveal to us a new and exciting phase of interconnectedness as we strengthen our networking to deepen our mission here in Asia Pacific.
Welcome extended to Sister Brigid Lawlor and members of the Congregational Leadership Team.
Welcome to the Assembly Facilitator, Ms Jill McCorquodale.
Opening Ritual and Dance may be viewed on Video in this link - Asia Pacific ICA 2014
Sister Rekha Chenattu, a Religious of the Assumption from Mumbai India and International biblical scholar led the Assembly in three days of presentation and reflection. In her introduction, Rekha reminded the group that the reading of biblical texts should not remain an intellectual exercise but a real experience of encountering God in life. She spoke about the context of the world today and the call within that context to be partners in the mission of God.
Rekha shared dynamic presentations over three days:
Story of Moses - Exodus 3-4. The foundational experience of Moses. In response to the call of God, leading his people from slavery to freedom.
Story of Shiprah and Puah – Exodus 1. Midwives who dared to disobey the royal order to slaughter all the male babies of Hebrew women, in order to save the lives of their children. They feared God rather than Pharaoh.
Story of the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus – John 4, 1-42. The Samaritan woman represents Samaritan disciples in general and women disciples in particular.
Story of the Good Shepherd - John 10. Good Shepherd discourse and Leadership.
Story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples – John 13. The model of leadership emerging from this text is a friendship/covenant model of leadership.
Click here to read Rekha's material in more detail - Asia Pacific ICA 2014
Rekha concluded: ‘Don’t be pushed by your failures and difficulties but be led by your dream and your passion for mission. Let your dream be your guide.
In this way, Rekha used Biblical texts to open and deepen the personal and communal understanding of the Chapter Theme:
Bernie Quah from Malaysia captured with images the significant points of Rekha's address. Nonverbal images can help to deepen the experience of participants. Bernie also captured in images the significant points of the participants’ sharing.
Click here to see Bernie’s graphic images - Asia Pacific ICA 2014
Issues which impact upon millions of people in the Asia Pacific region were highlighted in presentations by two Mission Partners from Malaysia:
Mrs Gloria Bon – People on the Move.
In her paper Gloria presents an overview of the movement of peoples within the Asia Pacific region, including the Development of Asian Migration, Labour Migration within Asia, Feminization of Migration, Illegal Migration and Refugees.
Click here to read this paper – People on the Move.pdf
Ms Theresa Symons – Good Shepherd Beyond Borders.
Theresa presents a snapshot of the 19 countries in which Good Shepherd is active, within the themes of: Population and Economic Indicators, Political Stability and Corruption Index, Net Migration flows, Trafficking in Persons, Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
Click here to view Theresa’s presentation - Good Shepherd Beyond Borders
These presentations brought the Assembly face to face with the shocking realities within the Asia Pacific region, and included these themes:
The movement of peoples in Asia Pacific
The population / economic indicators
Net migration 2012
Refugees and Asylum seekers.
The international conventions
A group of actors showed the real life stories of three people overwhelmed by issues of migration and trafficking. This presentation represented the millions of people in these situations.
Portraits of people were placed on tables.
Using a reflective process, participants were invited to be chosen by one person.
Led in an experiential encounter.
Invited to pray with and for the cry of each person.
‘Whichever way you look, there is a face of God.’
In the final session of the day, the whole assembly sat in a large circle to share and discuss and brainstorm possibilities as the ‘Council of Good Shepherd Beyond Borders’. This process led towards identification of the Priorities of Good Shepherd in Asia Pacific – priorities to be forwarded to the Congregational Chapter.
Participants worked on Priorities of Asia Pacific to the Congregational Chapter. Reminder from the facilitator that the Assembly needed to work at Asia Pacific and International levels and keep in mind the overall perspective. Participants were invited to observe, to see deeply, sharply and collectively.
They reflected in groups according to themes which had emerged from the previous day’s work:
Mission and Networking
Formation for mission
Partnership for Good Shepherd Mission
Integrated approach to Mission
Restructuring governance for Mission
Regional Mission and Vocation Promotion
In the afternoon Sister Pamela Molony gave a presentation on the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific website. She described the process of building the website and presented a summary of its purpose and content. It is a work in progress and needs to continue to be built and developed. All were invited to send articles and material to be posted on the site.
Sister Joan Lopez province leader of Singapore/Malaysia announced to the Assembly the two partners who were chosen to represent the region in the Congregational Chapter: Ms Rhonda Cumberland from the Province of Australia/New Zealand and Ms Nisansala Perera from the Province of Sri Lanka/Pakistan. Rhonda and Nisansala will join Ms Theresa Symons from the Province of Singapore /Malaysia, previously named by the Congregational Leadership Team as a Congregational representative at the Chapter.
From 10 – 12 October 2014 fifty-six Good Shepherd mission partners, comprising sisters and lay partners, from the Province of Singapore/Malaysia arrived for their annual weekend gathering organized by their province Mission Link Committee. This year the gathering had the theme based on Micah 6:8 ‘To act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with our God’.
The Mission Link Committee was set up in 2007 by the Province Leadership Team (PLT) to promote partnership as well as formation for mission development. The committee comprises representatives from the PLT and key lay leaders with significant responsibilities in mission development in the province.
The Committee invited APICA participants to join them for a dinner on the Saturday night, celebrating ‘Good Shepherd Beyond Borders’. The coming together as one big Good Shepherd Asia Pacific family was an occasion of joy and togetherness as mission partners beyond borders.
On Sunday, the group held a ritual to deepen and reaffirm their commitment to justice in Good Shepherd mission.
Lay Mission Partners left after six days of rich sharing and co learning.
Click here to see the group photo, and to read their personal reflections upon the experience - Lay Mission Partners speak
Free day for other participants.
Members of the CLT (Apostolic and Contemplative) spoke about their experiences in fulfilling their roles as Councillors, from their initial experience to the present.
Assembly participants thanked the CLT for their service and support over the years by a song followed by a vote of thanks given by Sister Francine Muthugala, province leader of Sri Lanka/Pakistan. A gift was offered to each one - a beautiful book in which every APICA participant had written words of gratitude.
Proposed amendments were presented to the participants for review and further propositions.
The Contemplative sisters led a sharing from their Assembly held in Quito, Ecuador in August 2014.
Jude Ellen Golumbieski, Reina Escobar and Teresa Pomar from the Congregational Leadership Team and the two delegates Elena Jalop and Bridget Kanhirakattu gave a creative presentation on their experience at Quito Assembly.
Jude Ellen, Reina and Teresa shared about their experiences on the CLT - their challenges, hope and joys. They presented a powerpoint showing their visits to Contemplative Communities around the world.
The Listening Group presented a final draft of the Priorities to be forwarded from Asia Pacific Intercontinental Assembly to the Congregational Chapter in 2015.
These were accepted by the Assembly.
Click here to read the Asia Pacific Priorities, to be forwarded to the Congregational Chapter 2015 -
Evaluation was conducted – personal reflection and sharing in groups.
We have journeyed together – sisters and lay Mission Partners – as one.
Over these days, we have been challenged to go beyond borders, to risk for mission.
We have been called to work in a co-responsible / partnership model of inclusion and equality, to grow our capacity for mission.
We have seen the need to restructure, to maximize our resources and potential for mission.
We have reflected, discerned and shared on “what is this time” calling us to as a region and congregation.
And we have already stepped into our future by naming priorities for the region and congregation.
And now we are ready to journey back to our countries, units and into the mission.
Reflection after Luke 4:16 -21
When Jesus preached hope for the poor for the captive, for the blind and the oppressed he had in view all who were marginalized, outcast and abused in society.
When we hear Jesus speak to them, such phrases as good news, release, recovery and let go free, they are promises of social change – breaking down structures that are oppressive. Jesus also reminds us that he has received God’s Spirit in order to bring about a new society as well as a new humanity.
It encourages and inspires us to understand that the gifting of the Holy Spirit is of great consequence for our lives implying we too have made a fundamental choice of following in the footsteps of Jesus, going beyond borders, becoming agents of social change.
We too are called to be energized by the same Spirit to create covenant community and to risk together to respond to the needs of society.
The Assembly concluded with a Ritual:
Read details of the daily programme and view photos and videos - Asia Pacific ICA 2014