What a great meeting we had in Rome, the representatives of Community for a Better World (CBW): Spanish and Portuguese speaking from Latin America, French and English speaking from Africa, Italian, Spanish, Polish, German, French, Portuguese speaking from Europe, English speaking from Asia and Oceania.
Our gathering, which is held every four years, took place over three weeks from 7-26 October 2007, with a general theme of "Shaping the Future, Faithful to God’s Gift". Our aim was to share our life and experience, and look to how to act for the future.
And so we listened, we read, we visited the ‘expo’ of each country, we questioned, and gradually the whole panorama of our life and activities was laid out before the assembly, together with our hopes, dreams and convictions, our joys and sufferings, our challenges, failures and achievements.
Two highlights were when members of the media and a large group of our friends joined with us in celebration one afternoon, and when a well-known theologian gave a conference on the crucial challenges of the situation today in church and society.
Of course, there was a great deal of organization done before and during our time together, including the translation system serving in our three official languages – Spanish, English and French, with the occasional inclusion of Italian. Among ourselves, non-verbal replaced verbal many times.
We are proud to say that Jill, from our Australian Group, was one of the moderators of the whole meeting. She also assisted with tranlations. Jill retired from sixteen years on the international leadership team in Rome and has returned to work with us in Australia.
And then, having achieved our purpose and elected our new leadership team, it was time for farewells and for carrying out what we decided together.
Those of us from Oceania who were there – Joan, Michael, Mary, Gilles, Roger and Jill remember the experience and those with whom we shared it with gratitude.