Edition 19: May 2005 Holy Spirit Province
 

Six FAQs about the Province Formation Team

Mark McGlaughlin has provided these answers to familiarise you with the work
of the Province Formation Team.

   Question One: WHAT IT IS?

The Province Formation Team is appointed by the Province Leadership Team of Holy Spirit Province and commissioned to help further the understanding and appreciation of the Gospel of Jesus and the charism of Edmund Rice amongst those in the Edmund Rice Network. Since the launch of the Province document "Christian Brother schools: A vision for the future" in 1993 via all school conference gatherings, this task has been carried out by the Province Resource Team based at Westcourt in WA. Over the years a number of Christian Brothers have served as members of this Resource Team providing intellectual, spiritual and personal enrichment for staffs in schools and members of the wider network of ministries and groups. So in reality the Province Formation Team and its accompanying mandate have emerged from the foundational roots established by the Province Resource Team.

   Question Two: WHO IS IT?

A significant difference from the Resource Team is that the Formation Team is currently made up of both Christian Brothers and lay people. Brs Gerry Faulkner and Terry Casey, together with Richard Mavros, work out of the Westcourt offices in WA. There the Team's Administration Assistant Gay Jones keeps a careful eye on what these three get up to. Br John Webb, who divides his time between Formation and Vocations responsibilities, and Mark McGlaughlin are based in Adelaide and work from offices at Thebarton. Here is a brief personal profile on each of the team members...

The Formation Team: (from left) Richard Mavros, Gay Jones, Mark McGlaughlin, Br Terry Casey, Br Gerry Faulkner
[See photo of the sixth member of the team, Br John Webb, below]

RICHARD: Richard is a trained primary school teacher who, over the last fifteen years, has particularly focused on working with youth at risk. After a time with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd supporting women and children in need, Richard has spent the last six years full time with the Edmund Rice Camps for Kids WA Inc. developing supportive relationships with young adults and providing relevant opportunities for formative skill development, growth and reflection. He is passionate about issues of social justice and the role that Edmund Rice inspired ministries can play in our society.

BR. GERRY: Br Gerry's background lies in secondary education: teaching, adult religious education with parents, staff development and formation. He has a special interest in down-to-earth practical theology, the meaning of the Gospels for the world of today, and the overcoming of artificial distinctions between the spiritual and the secular. As a former Province Leader, Gerry brings to the team a great depth of understanding of the Edmund Rice spirit and vision and an appreciation that formation endeavours need to be situated within the context of peoples' own lives.

MARK: Mark has spent seventeen of his twenty five years in Catholic Education within Christian Brother schools. As a Religious Education Coordinator he gained experience facilitating Retreats and Faith Enrichment programs. His adult education experiences include work as a Diocesan Marriage Educator, Baptismal program facilitator and workshop presenter. Married to Krina and with a 12 year old son, Luke, Mark's passion for the vision of Edmund and the work of the Christian Brothers has been fuelled by his own formation experiences in Ireland in 1998 and Zambia in 2003.

Br TERRY: Terry has had much contact with youth on Edmund Rice Camps and other formation programs in the wider Edmund Rice Network. He has invested a strong interest in exploring how ecology and theology weave through our spirituality and can be deepened through retreats and other reflective practices. He is a keen bushwalker and ardent naturalist.


GAY: Gay is married (nearly 30 years) with two children, and has worked for the Province Resource Team (now Formation Team) since 2000. Having previously lived in a small country town, she moved to Perth to take up her current position. Half her work time is taken up by the Formation Team and the rest is with the Finance department. She is usually the first point of call for information about Formation programs and other communication matters

Br JOHN: John's work in the Adelaide office covers two areas. The first role is in the vocations area and in this he helps out on school camps and accompanies people who may be interested in joining religious life. Part of this work is with the Vocations Network of SA. In the second area, John contributes to running formation programs for the Edmund Rice Network: school staffs, the Edmund Rice Associates and Edmund Rice Camp volunteers.

   Question Three: WHAT IS IT FOR?

Sacred space at a formation program

The team describes its ministry as one of accompaniment. We believe that in this time of unprecedented change, all of us who make up the Edmund Rice Network need to take time to reflect on the meaning of Jesus and Edmund for our contemporary world. Our task as a team is to journey with Network members, but particularly those who are new or those who are unclear as to their role or place within the Network, toward an ever clearer discovery of our personal being and our sense of Christian purpose. We believe that a lack of clear vision results only in uncertainty, confusion and frustration. Ultimately our task is to try to give some sense of meaning to that vision.

   Question Four: HOW IS IT DONE?

SA participants of the first 2005 EIRWAYS program designed for staff new to ER ministries

We aim to highlight the Edmund story in the context of contemporary reflection on the Gospel of Jesus, and the challenge this presents for each individual to develop their gifts in the service of their world. Our services are available to any ministry or group within the Edmund Rice Network who wishes to spend some time developing their understanding of Edmund's interpretation of the Gospel challenge and what this means for us today. At the formal level we facilitate workshop programs, staff inservice training, retreat experiences, renewal opportunities and induction programs across a broad spectrum of the Edmund Rice Network.

We know that personal formation is most likely to happen when each individual senses that they are part of an environment where genuine care and respect is being demonstrated for the stage of faith and understanding that they are currently at.

Our work is very much in partnership with those who exercise leadership responsibilities within the different Edmund Rice ministries and groups. We cannot function without their support and their own commitment to the value of formation processes.

   Question Five: IS THERE ANYTHING FOR ME?

If you are an employee of an Edmund Rice ministry you should speak to your ministry Leader about the range and appropriateness of programs on offer. As well as the Province based experiences there are also national and international opportunities available throughout the year. Some significant programs which are scheduled for the coming months include:

 

May 19th and 20th (WA)
August 11th and 12th (WA)
November 17th and 18th (SA)

TOWARD A THEOLOGY OF RESPECT: a program designed for ministry personnel who have completed at least 6 years service

July 15th -17th (SA)
August 26th- 28th (WA)

EDMUND RICE NETWORK RETREAT:
a program available to all

July 25th (SA)
October 10th (WA)

EDMUND RICE JUSTICE FORUM:
A one day focus on Justice issues

August 2nd and 3rd
September 6th and 7th (SA)

JUSTICE AND PEACE EVENING WORKSHOPS FOR YOUNG ADULTS:
A series of sessions focusing on justice and peace issues

If you don't see any thing here that fits you or your ministries circumstances ring Gay and see if we can offer you something tailor made.

 

   Question Six: HOW ARE PEOPLE RESPONDING?

The team always likes to think that they are achieving their aims. However like a chef who prepares a gourmet feast the only judges that matter are the ones who taste the goodies on offer. So perhaps we should let the comments speak for themselves:

"I really liked the intimacy of working with the small group of Executive Team members. I have had some very affirming feedback about what we did from the Executive Team."
[Principal following a College Executive team workshop]

"I don't feel as daunted by a Secondary School Board now"

"I appreciate having a reading package to take away with me"

"Despite being apprehensive at start I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the day as personal, communal and enabling challenge and growth"

"Challenging without being overwhelming"

"Reminded me how important it is to know the why before worrying about the what and how"
[Induction workshop for new Board members of Edmund Rice Ministries]

"The highlight was the prayerful atmosphere created"

"Great to spend time focusing on leadership in the Edmund style"

"The chance to be with other leaders and share wisdom was invaluable"
[Feedback comments from Leadership Teams gathering at start of year]

"The induction had considerable impact and it made me realize how relevant Edmund's radical vision is within the current conservative educational setting"

"A great chance to re-affirm the things I value in education"

"Great to get some quiet reflection time — rarely available in professional development settings"

"The most rewarding professional development I've ever undertaken"

"Great to have the chance to focus on our spiritual side"

"Thank you for the chance to pause and ponder and appreciate the specialness and sacredness of our being"
[Feedback from EIRWAYS (new staff induction) program SA and WA]

A group from the Aquinas leadership team discuss matters at a workshop for members of the College Executive Team in March)

Mark McGlaughlin can be contacted on 0400 939 415 or m.mcglaughlin@bigpond.com.
Br John Webb can be contacted on 0415 196 835 or webbcfc@picknowl.com.au.
Br Gerry Faulkner, Br Terry Casey and Gay Jones can be contacted on 08 9365 2815 prt@westcourt.wa.edu.au

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