My wife and I have been to Jeremie twice, in 2011 and just last spring, where I taught Introduction to Agribusiness, and Paula taught ESL. The classroom where I taught lost its roof and was flooded, and the guest house where we lived was completely leveled. While not there to experience the terror of such a destructive force, I still feel a great loss after so many contributed to making UNOGA (University of Nouville Grande’Anse) happen.
MAC2017—At our Board meeting, I was heartened by the presence of Rosa Beatriz Castañeda and Claudia Samayoa who came from Guatemala to report on MAC2017. This is the first truly international MAC conference—that is, taking place outside the US. The program presented to us by Rosa and Claudia wowed us. It is based on the Affiliate four pillars: Action: an opportunity to visit mission projects in conjunction with the conference; Global Vision: applying indigenous people’s ethos to our mission perspective; Community: sharing activities and socials to get to know our fellow Affiliates from around the world; and Spirituality: a particular emphasis on seeing God in all creation and in all peoples.
The Board has approved a Travel Grant program to encourage the broadest possible representation of the Affiliate Movement. Conference registration and information on the travel grant application process will be available after the first of the year. This MAC is going to be very special and I hope you will give serious and prayerful consideration to attending. MAC2017 happens Thursday, November 9th through Sunday, the 12th, at the beautiful Casa de Retiros Verbo Encarnado (http://www.verboencarnado.com.gt/home) in the mountains not far from Guatemala City. Post-conference opportunities to visit mission projects will be offered.
Other Board actions were reported in the Monday email sent on November 7th. They include a continued focus on the three committees that were established to act on your responses to the Affiliate Survey of 2015: Communication, Sustainability and Growth, and Connection. These committees will be reporting to you in the NSFA.
The Board attended to other organizational tasks that may seem pedestrian to an outsider but are vital to an organization: providing for replacement of members rotating off the board, updating our Roles & Responsibilities statements, revising the Board Member Manual, reviewing our finances, and approval of budgets and expenditures. Did I mention that the Affiliates will be 25 years old next year?
In my short time as Board chair, it is clear to me that it takes a small village to keep the Affiliate Movement moving. I thank my fellow Affiliates on the Board and our Regional Coordinators; and in particular our Board members from the other three Maryknoll expressions: Sisters Norie Mojado and Teruko Ito – the Congregration, Marj Humphrey – the Maryknoll Lay Missioners, and Russ Feldmeier – the Society. Executive Coordinator Bob Short provides not only coordination, but wisdom and leadership. Eleanor Swanson serves as our recording secretary. And our major communication efforts, Not So Far Afield and No Tan Lejos del Horizonte, would not happen without Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss, Paula Schaffner, Rosa Beatriz Castañeda, and their editorial staffs. Of course the Affiliates would not be the Affiliates without the energy and spirit that all of you bring to all your missions.