Russ Feldmeier, MM - Affiliate Board Member
I first got to know the Affiliates when I was doing formation work in Chicago (1990-94) and was asked to join the founding Affiliate Board to help with the beginnings of the Affiliate Movement. It was a time of great excitement as this new Expression of Maryknoll came into being.
To share a bit about my background, I was born in Boston, raised in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and spent many of my early years in St. Paul, Minnesota. I joined the Peace Corps after college and graduate school, and as a volunteer and staff member in Korea, I got to know Maryknoll Missioners there. I joined Maryknoll in 1975 and after ordination in 1980, I was sent back to Korea on mission.
I am now a member of several Affiliate Chapters. Presently I live in Chicago and attend the Chicago Affiliate meetings. I also attend the meetings of the Contemplative Affiliate Group and the Kenya Affiliate Chapter, both of which meet virtually using Skype. And I have been connected with the Korea Affiliate Chapter for years, so that when I visit Korea, I attend their chapter meetings. In addition, I am the Society General Council member who relates to the Affiliates, and therefore I am again on the Affiliate Board.
Last November at the Guatemala MAC Conference, I once again felt excitement as I experienced the breadth and depth of the Affiliate Movement at this time in our history. My hope for the Affiliates is that chapters will be able to engage new members (especially younger persons) in the Maryknoll Movement and be leaders in the emerging role of laity as Missionary Disciples with a Global Vision.
At our April Board Meeting:
Among other items, we heard from the ad hoc committee established last November to consider, “Where do we want to be in five years?” The committee, which has met several times via Zoom, continued their deliberations after the board meeting, on Sunday afternoon and Monday. We thank them for their energies and wisdom as they work to provide the background and a framework for the visioning process. The October Board meeting will devote a two-day retreat to discussion of this question.
Several chapters have asked themselves where we will be in five years and have provided input to the Board. If your chapter has not yet had this discussion, consider using the Easy Meeting, “Visioning the Affiliates,” in the Sept/Oct 2017 NSFA. We all will be facing the challenges presented by our evolving world.