Mercy Global Action Members Online in Realtime for Theological Reflection (MIA)
The web based 'Connect' meeting held by Mercy Global Action at the end of November was a wonderful success.
The content was a theological reflection on the issue of the trafficking of women and girls and was led by Dr Elizabeth Dowling rsm (ISMAPNG) Lecturer in Theology at Australian Catholic University.
'Liz worked in a most inspiring way with the Parable of the Good Samaritan as the basis of the dialogue with the tradition of scripture in relation to this issue.
Using the support of the Adobe Connect Room technology platform, up to 12 participants, including the Assistant Director Mercy Global Action, Mary Purcell, were able to participate in the international meeting.
Participants were able to view each other simultaneously via video as well as listen to Liz's presentation, follow it on screen via a powerpoint presentation, hear each other and write notes throughout the meeting as necessary.
The focus of this meeting was the addressing of the issue of human trafficking which is a global problem which can only effectively be addressed by an internationally networked organisation (such as MIA) if policies and strategies for preventing it are going to be effective.
Many of the Mercy women at the meeting were able to speak from their experience of knowing and working with women in these appalling situations. Others were able to speak of what has already been achieved in taking local and regional actions for justice in this area.
Other dimensions of the meeting were mindful of Government policy shaping roles played by the various United Nation's commissions which can be influenced by Mercy International Association's interventions through our formal presence at the UN.
The Connect 'Room' for the meeting enabled participants to come together online from New York to Manila, Newfoundland to New Zealand, from London to Melbourne and from a number of locations in the US and several locations in Ireland, including, of course from the heart of MIA, in Mercy International Centre.
Great support for the setting up of the meeting was given to Liz in Melbourne, Australia, by Anne Walsh, the Mercy e-News Editor.
My privilege was to sit with Mary Purcell in Dublin and offer support from there. Witnessing the successful process of theological reflection amongst us as a global Mercy group supported by the technology available for any Mercy group to use, through the Network area of the www.mercyworld.org MIA website, was, for me, a great example of the vision of MIA in action.
The potential for effective outcomes in our efforts to address global social justice issues was evident at this meeting where the Mercy charism, the commitment to justice and the communications technology were brought together seamlessly.
The depth of scripture and theological scholarship we have available to us in Mercy is an outstanding gift to offer to those who want to deepen Mercy spirituality.
That a technical platform carrying the capacity for us to engage with these resources and with each other, wherever we are in the world, is so readily available to Mercy people is a significant enrichment offered to us by Mercy International Association.
Adele Howard rsm