SEDOS Annual Report 2019

  1. Activities of SEDOS in 2019

We started the year 2019 with a two-day Workshop, February 12-13, on the theme of “Appreciative Inquiry” adapted to the context of religious Congregations. Fr. William Nordenbrock, Superior General of the CPPS, introduced us to his method of Appreciative Discernment. The workshop was open to leadership teams, and a total of 14 leadership teams joined. It answered a great need to find alternative ways to the problem-solving approach. The Marist Brothers were so kind as to open their place for this gathering free of charge.

The next great event was the Annual five-day SEDOS Residential Seminar. This year the theme of “Interreligious Dialogue” was chosen and the title was: Mission in a Pluralistic World. About 100 participants took part in the seminar. The speakers came from three religious traditions, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism, as well as religious who are in dialogue with those religions. We had also five candidates with a full scholarship from MISSIO AACHEN, four with a full scholarship paid by SEDOS from the surplus of last year, and three with a half scholarship from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception. A nice moment was the Interfaith Chanting on Wednesday evening  in the Chapel.

The third important event of this year has been the two-day SEDOS Autumn Seminar on the theme of Discovering Mission in a Lay context, 8-9 November 2019. There were not many participants at this seminar, but those who joined were very happy with the content. We have placed Fr. Lazar Stanislaus’ talk online for those who would like to know more about the way to cooperate in mission with our lay brothers and sisters.

The six issues yearly of the SEDOS Bulletin are going on as usual. The presentation of the Bulletin has much improved in the last years, and has now stabilized.

The SEDOS Website is being worked on further to make it a real tool for missionaries all over the world to find info on Studies and on Documentation concerning global mission. Sr. Celine was able to complete the long list of the SEDOS Bulletin articles over the last 50 years with their titles and authors: more than 2,500 entries. Our webmaster Fabio has since made this available online with all the files, so the articles can be read the directly, and students and missionaries can quickly access a lot of valuable information. We have published these articles so there should be no problem of copyright. We have to be more attentive though concerning the copyright of pictures. A new development is that we offer interesting documents from different Congregations online for other Congregations as a kind of inter-Congregational support.

In preparation for the SEDOS Residential Seminar on interreligious dialogue a special website “Fountain of Dialogue was created in cooperation with Sr. Monique Tarabeh, RGS, based on the results of one group from the workshop on Appreciative Inquiry of two years ago. It is an online free workshop of three months with subscription possibility for a daily reminder.

The director of SEDOS was asked to give several talks during the year: at the meeting of Asian Ambassadors to the Holy See about Interreligious Dialogue in Asia, at the weekly meeting of SCD in Malta about stimulating the missionary spirit, and at the Belgian Embassy about the Church in Japan, and a Webinar on Buddhist-Christian Dialogue at UISG. The talks can be found in the SEDOS Bulletins of this year and on the SEDOS Website.

  1. Administration of SEDOS in 2020

As there was no longer enough work for two part-time helpers for the Director after the restructuration of SEDOS, we asked Sr. Celine Kokkat, CJMJ, to take over the work of Leila. Leila, the secretary, found a full-time job at the municipal, and so she stopped working for us before the summer holidays. Sr. Celine had done this work before while Leila was on maternity leave and she will be able little by little to do most of the former secretary’s work. A better organization of the secretary work is needed to make it easier and more effective (less time consuming).

Sr. Christina Arokiya Mary M., CJMJ, has been helping us since a few months one a half day per week to update the website. Thanks to her, the communication with the webmaster is better and the result can be seen. She will give a presentation of the website later on.

Cooperation with Fr. Biju Thomas, SVD, concerning the finances is going well, and this is because we see each other regularly at table. As we will no longer have a lay person at SEDOS we do not need the legal support of a business consultant. The Congregations to which Sr. Celine, Sr. Christy and I belong are receiving a donation for our contribution. We now know with the help of a lawyer from USG that this is legally correct, but it has to be made clearer. The idea behind the donation is that the person who works at SEDOS, works for his or her own Congregation but at the same time for other Congregations. The agreement stipulates also that the person does it freely and gratuity in order to avoid possible future complications.

Miss Philippa Wooldridge will go on helping us with the translation of articles.

  1. Activities of SEDOS in 2020

We shall start with a new initiative: the SEDOS Spring Session. It is a one-day seminar with lectures on a specific theme. The first Spring Session will be on the theme of Mission in China Today. It will be held at the big aula of the Jesuit Generalate, on 6th of March 2020, with four specialists in the field. It is open to the public.

The Residential Seminar will be on the theme of Living Green Mission. It will take place at the Centro Ad Gentes, Nemi, from 4 to 8 May 2020. We were able to engage a very good speaker from America, Sr. Ilia Delio. All the speakers have agreed so far, except for Cardinal Peter Turkson.

For the Autumn Seminar a possible theme is Mission in a Wounded World, based on the world conference of missiologists, AIMS, that will take place in Sydney in July of next year. However, nothing has yet been decided. Also not the themes of the next Residential Seminar of 2021, or for possible workshops before the summer holidays. At the end of this Annual Report some time will be allowed to reflect in small group to come up with themes. Maybe an issue your Congregation is struggling with and for which it would be good if SEDOS could find a way to help.

Conclusion

The effect of the reduction in personnel in the office will have to be evaluated in the coming year. What will it mean for the work load? What will it mean for the finances? But for the moment SEDOS is fulfilling its purpose by offering all kind of studies and documentations to its members through its activities and its website. The Members are contributing faithfully every year, and the surplus at the end of the year can be used to finance some of our projects (self-financing).

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