In doing my summer homework for a Bible course on Paul, I can't help but hear a reading assignment--The Journeys of Paul--in light of next week's conference on "Mission and Ministry in the 21st Century." My professor, Laurie Brink, writes, "We are the heirs of Paul's willingness to be blinded by God's insight, totally turned around and sent in a new direction."
I trust that the conference next weekend will be grace-filled and hopefully a source of deepening insight for all of us inattendance. It's not news that religious life is shifting and the Giving Voice generation(s) will experience this shift most profoundly. These shifts will affect all areas of religious life, including mission and ministry. Smaller numbers of women religious in the United States and fewer institutions means a new direction for religious life already coming to be. Through his conviction and faithfulness to the mission, Paul and others spread the good news of the risen Jesus and had enormous impact. Openness to conversion rather than resistance made it all possible. I trust spending a long weekend reflecting on our call to mission and ministry with other younger Sisters will lead us to blinding insights we cannot yet imagine.
While I do not know the precise ways we might be asked to enter into conversion, next week's conference contains a number of "new directions." This year we have increased our efforts in making this a bilingual conference. Two of our speakers will speak in Spanish and the English speakers will experience the need for translation. This is a huge and exciting step for Giving Voice. Also, this is the first time a GV conference is being held on the west coast. Finally, lots of new people to GV are coming this year. Each of these new directions contributes to the potential for God's blinding light to shine through. I'm eager to discover what new insights the new voices will bring.