Regional Meeting rescheduled via Zoom

by Emma Darling

Due to the coronavirus outbreak and since we were unable to meet as a large group together indoors, our regional meeting in March was cancelled. Earlier this week the region's meeting was instead hosted on Zoom and participants invited to share their experiences of the pandemic and to discuss the possibilities for the Columbans in Britain going forward.

Unable to meet earlier this year as intended, the region of Britain, using the power of technology, came together via Zoom webinar on Monday 26th October. It was great for the region to unite and to have the opportunity to express how the pandemic has affected each and every one of us personally.

After an introductory prayer led by Sister Anna O’Connor, of the Sisters of Charity of St. Paul a, regular facilitator of Columban meetings in the region, participants were split into break-out groups of three or four and invited to discuss the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, how it’s has affected them personally and how they’ve coped and managed with lockdown restrictions and confinement.

After some more general group reflection, the team was split again into their breakout groups and asked to discuss what adaptations have been made by individuals in order to continue their Columban ministry or their work. Besides these adaptations and changes some of them obvious, some of them not so obvious, the groups chatted about what the future looks like for their specific ministries and how, as a region, we can best move forward.

Emma Darling, Communications Officer for the Columbans in Britain explains, “Monday’s meeting was extremely worthwhile. The majority of us have been, or are again, confined to our homes in local lockdowns. It’s a very stressful and uncertain time and it’s important we check in on each other and have opportunities like this to talk about how we’re managing.” She adds, “I found it very interesting to see how my colleagues are adapting to the new regulations, and how various ministries across Britain have been affected. For example it was interesting to hear about how the lay missionaries have been called upon to volunteer at local foodbanks, many of whom have seen an increase in the numbers using the services during this unprecedented time due to loss of employment.”

After a short plenary and summary, Sister Anna closed the meeting with a lovely poem written by Suzanne C. Cole that inspired hope and courage.
The region, represented by ordained, lay missionaries and co-workers, seek to evangelise in Britain by raising awareness of, and eliciting support for, Columban missions throughout the world and working in solidarity with the poor and the exploited earth for justice, peace and the integrity of creation whilst promoting life-giving relationships between peoples of different cultures and religions.

The region would like to especially thank Sister Anna for her time and energy facilitating the group meeting on Monday.

The region's members.