This article first appeared in the July/August Focus. The publication date of this page has been edited so that it lists with the other news articles about the National Assembly

The members of Inigo Zoom give their reflections on their first attendance at a National Assembly

We were formed as a CLC group during the Covid lockdown of 2021 and have remained a geographically dispersed “virtual” group ever since. In our responses our first reaction was our delight at meeting together physically for the first time, despite a couple of unsuccessful attempts. The following are extracts from the various assessments of five very different people.

We need ecological radical action

GT: Meeting the Inigo Zoom friends was a very happy and restful experience. Every one of them inspired me to reflect on the right style, the right emotion and approach to move on in my search for mission, with their calm and light-hearted spirit. The whole CLC Assembly was great and I learned many things from all the new people I spoke to. In particular I really liked the ‘Discern, Send, Support, Evaluate’ talk and I believe it’s a very powerful tool for producing change as a community of disciples in action. In this respect, I felt that we need a much stronger awareness and sense of urgency about our need for ecological radical action, as time is running out for a human-friendly climate on the planet, and groups such as CLC should lead this change in these turbulent times.

Let God take charge

JM: I enjoyed the sharing most of all in the small group I was in. The instant love and friendship present is palpable and enables us to be totally honest. I found the large room we met in very claustrophobic and felt in need of air. I would have liked more prayer together as a whole assembly or singing with joy like the Harvesters next door! My personal message to take away was “Letting God take charge”. What a relief…. I loved seeing all the other members young and old and not so old and felt guided by God to the people I connected with. I felt joy again. Thank you for a wonderful Assembly.

Many hands working together

MH: It was additionally blessed by conversations with members from around the country and hearing how they lived their call through Ignatian Spirituality to be fully God’s daughters and sons in so many ways. I was particularly inspired by Eddie Langton’s talk on Discern, Send, Support, Evaluate. However the image that stays with me was the many hands from Inigo Zoom who willingly unpinned, disassembled supports and folded cloths when we took down the visual prayer focus on the stage. We had never physically collaborated before in even a simple task. It was worth attending the assembly for that rare blessed moment.

Sowing seeds in fertile ground

DB: I was inspired to learn, in short individual input sessions, about some of the different ‘missions’ which members had developed. In particular, Brian Austin’s ‘zero waste’ parish project and Tony O’Neill‘s one-stop job seekers’ centre. It was also heartening to have an online meeting with CLC European representatives from France, Malta and Poland, simultaneously explaining various shared projects including one on ecology. Here is hope indeed to connect with Europe post-Brexit. Full marks also to the large Bournemouth CLC contingent who drove for 7 hours in the driving rain to attend, providing both music and a ‘Family Clock’ input. Last but not least was the excellent Saturday night entertainment provided by Eddie Langton who told shaggy dog stories and played a virtuoso spoons solo, followed by a hilarious Beetle Drive organized by Peter and Margaret Dimambro. So good to build in some downtime and humour to leaven the spiritual feast. All in all, this was a very varied and wide- ranging two-day celebration of all that CLC offers, sowing seeds in fertile ground.

Christ’s mission overcomes frontiers

JH: I also experienced many of these reactions and left my small sharing group with a strong sense of hope that Christ’s mission was overcoming all the frontiers. I was heartened by the youthful energy of many of the CLC members there, and by meeting and chatting to people, including hearing the Hong Kong experience. I was extremely glad that all of our group could share the Assembly experience.

Jonathan Holden