The weekend of 9-11 October 2015 saw some 80 mission partners from the various Good Shepherd ministries in Singapore and Malaysia come together for the 9thGood Shepherd Partnership Gathering in historical Malacca.
The gathering took its theme from that of the 30thCongregational Chapter – Energised by the Spirit, We Risk Together for Mission. This serves as a call to action, urging us out of our comfort zones to do our part for those who are marginalised and in need. For indeed, what resonated with many of us was the often-heard refrain throughout the weekend - If I do not do something, who will?
One of the main objectives of the gathering was to share the Directional Statement issued by the Congregational Leadership Team. Participants were urged to reflect on the statement, discuss their responses to it and personalise it to the work they do on a daily basis as part of their mission.
The gathering also remembered and celebrated the life of our former Province Leader, Sr Susan Chia, who recently passed on. It was a poignant moment as we paid tribute to her numerous achievements and contributions by giving her a minute’s standing ovation. It was a gesture that symbolised how she embodied the theme throughout her entire life. Energized by the Spirit, she indeed did risk much for the mission. As one participant in my group put it “We are here today because of the work of Sr Susan” and I learnt it was she who played an instrumental role in initiating the yearly Good Shepherd Partnership Gathering more than a decade ago.
Towards the close of the weekend, Province Leader, Sr Joan Lopez, convoked the Province’s next Chapter which willl be held in 2016.
For first-time participants at the gathering and newbies to the Good Shepherd organisation, the weekend proved to be an eye-opener, in terms of an increased awareness of the work and outreach done by the various ministries within the Good Shepherd Congregation. For those, like myself, who have been serving for a couple of years now, I came away with a clearer understanding of how the many parts fit into the bigger organisation and a deeper conviction in the work that I do in the mission. And of course, as always, the gathering served as a wonderful platform for networking and meeting our counterparts on both sides of the causeway, as well as connecting more deeply with the Good Shepherd charism and spirituality.
Contributed by: Lynette Fernandez, Vice Principal, Marymount Convent School, Singapore