Lay Missionaries are an Integral Part of the Irish Church

“Lay Missionaries are An Integral Part of the Irish Church” says statement of identity from main Lay Missionary Groups at a recent Think In ahead of the upcoming international conference on ‘Mission Today & Tomorrow’

Irish Lay Missionary groups come together to create a statement of identity on their future and position within the Irish Church

Saturday 18th May saw a very interesting gathering of lay and religious missionaries, faith based development workers, pastoral workers and other stakeholders in Mission. They came together, ahead of the All Hallows Conference on ‘Mission Today and Tomorrow’ which takes place in early June, to start a conversation on the future direction and position of lay mission within the Irish Church.

Ronan Barry, Mission Alive Co-Ordinator at the Irish Missionary Union facilitated the event and directed the attendees in a very deep, wide-ranging discussion, which went to the heart of what mission is about in general as well as exploring lay mission. A statement of identity was then agreed about the involvement of lay people serving mission and it has been agreed by the main protagonists at this event, Viatores Christi (VC) and Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM) who are both lay member organisations of the Irish Missionary Union (IMU) and Misean Cara. The event took place at Viatores Christi HQ in Dublin.

Both groups see this statement as an expression of their intent to commit to and develop a missionary movement in Ireland into the future.

The statement reads as follows:

Who are we as Lay People serving Mission?

· We are an integral part of the Irish Church, called and sent to live Gospel values by the witness of our life and our service in areas of need.

• We express these values through our work and our lives.

• We are invited to live lives of global solidarity.

• We share the earth with all its inhabitants and we respect the integrity of creation.

Both organisations are now highlighting this statement of identity before the international conference ‘Mission Today and Tomorrow’ which takes place on 5th – 6th June.

“The aim of this event apart from creating this shared statement of identity, is to draw attention to the long term commitment and contribution of lay people serving on mission today and into the future” says Sally Roddy, Projects Officer with Viatores Christi who herself has served on mission in Ethiopia and Thailand.” “We hope that this statement will highlight the changing realities of mission and faith based development today and highlight the need for structures to support the integral role of laity in the work of Irish mission into the future”, says Sally

Dr. Vincent Kenny, CEO, Volunteer Missionary Movement, feels that there is much work to be done in order to bring together lay people involved in mission under a united banner for the future. “Regarding the upcoming conference on Mission Today and Tomorrow”, says Vincent, “whatever about the ‘today’, the ‘tomorrow’ must lie with the laity.”

ABOUT

Viatores Christi, founded in 1960, aims to respond to needs overseas by giving people an opportunity to share their lives and skills with those in need and to give witness to their faith in a practical way in another culture.

The VMM (Volunteer Missionary Movement) began working in 1969 in Uganda. Since then VMM has worked in nearly 40 countries, with the principle: that authentic human development must foster the development of each person and of the whole person.

Mission Alive is the official promotional office of the Irish Missionary Union. It develops educational resources promoting mission and missionary themes. It also works with faith based volunteering programme.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

Think In on the Position and Future of Lay Mission

18th May 2013

Agreed Statement of Identity

Who are we as Lay People serving Mission?

· We are an integral part of the Irish Church, called and sent to live Gospel values by the witness of our life and our service in areas of need.

• We express these values through our work and our lives.

• We are invited to live lives of global solidarity.

• We share the earth with all its inhabitants and we respect the integrity of creation.

“We are called to be agents of change. We are not here to conquer the world but to illuminate it – new sight, salt of the earth, light of the world.” – Br. Philip Pinto CFC

 


 


 

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