Mercy Mission Formation Network
Ten years ago, in 2009, the Mercy Mission Formation Network of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Aotearoa New Zealand began. The purpose of the network is to:
1. build a community of common interest and mutual support amongst those involved in Mission Effectiveness activities,
2. facilitate the sharing of resources for Mercy ethos and
3. provide a centre for formation of those involved in delivering mission effectiveness programs across the many ministries in education, health care and social welfare.
The network is sponsored by the Mercy Congregational Leaderships in Australia and New Guinea and Aotearoa New Zealand and Mercy Partners. Meeting annually, the network has developed a framework to use when developing programs and has compiled a bank of resources which are shared.
This year the network made its first visit to Aotearoa New Zealand from March 27 to March 29 at the Mary Mackillop Centre Auckland. The theme this year was Mercy Mission for our Times. The welcome ceremony and ritual epitomised the collaborative work done across Aotearoa New Zealand to recognise and celebrate the gifts shared as cultures meet and learn from each other. The meeting proved to be an ongoing ‘feast’ of overwhelming Aotearoa New Zealand hospitality.
We heard from Richard Kerr-Bell, the Te Kaihautu Mission Administrator of the Sisters of Mercy, Aotearoa New Zealand on Whanau Mercy in Aotearoa New Zealand; from Bill Takerei and Cecily Manell about Mercy Mission Community Development in Aotearoa New Zealand and from Rangi Davis on on sustainable practices for earth health. All speakers brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the network, generously sharing their rich cultural approaches to Mercy mission in our world today.
One feature of the network is the wealth of expertise within the group and the sharing of this expertise. Margie Abbot rsm worked with the group in a process of approaching prayer and ritual inclusively, recognising we are ‘of God’s essence’ in one marvellous creation. Margaret Endicott rsm assisted the group in a practical exercise aimed at fine-tuning our facilitation skills.
There is always a session on the sharing of resources and ideas for successful formation sessions in Mission effectiveness. This time the viewing of the new film In God Alone: the Story of Catherine McAuley generated fruitful discussion on how it can be used in the workplace. A successful gauge of the value of the network is the quality of the conversations at meal times and at other casual times. This is a most important aspect of meeting together as there is a lot of sharing of resources and experiences and forming connections for future engagement.
Huge thanks go to the Aotearoa New Zealand organisers – Teresa Anderson rsm, Sanjay Theodore and Kay Ryan. Planning for the March 2020 meeting in Melbourne has begun.
Ailsa McKinnon rsm c/- John Rochester ISMAPNG Communications Manager