A bonus post as I’ve managed to get to breakfast! I sat next to Kenneth Chan from the Philippines who suddenly did a double-take and said ‘Is that a teapot?!’ I explained that I can’t drink coffee and while water throughout the day is OK, at breakfast… I am glad I am making people smile 😊.
At one meal yesterday I sat next to Tinna, also from the Philippines, and told her a tale I repeated this morning to Kenneth. It’s probably worth sharing here as I suspect it has been lost in the mists of time. My first World Assembly was Providence (in the USA) when I was 24. John Clifford, Dermot McConnor and I went with a problem. David Townsend sj had been our National Chaplain for a while, taking over from Ralph Eastwell sj who had been very happy to edit and produce Focus by himself. David was clear that this shouldn’t be part of the role of a National Chaplain! So he spent a long time trying to rid himself of the task, first talking about it and asking for volunteers, then reducing Focus to every two months, with an A4 sheet in the middle month, then doing it very badly in the hope that someone would come to the rescue! Finally, in desperation, he announced that he would do the January 1991 issue and stop after that. What to do?! 🤔
Our inspiration came from the Philippines. The Jesuits wanted to support them with an office, money and goodness knows what else. CLC felt it was too much and asked for just some of it. All or nothing, they were told. So they chose nothing. Each local CLC took responsibility for some aspect of CLC life and so far, we were told, it was working. That was our eureka moment. Instead of looking for one person to edit Focus, why didn’t we find four editors, one for each page? That worked extremely well for ages and we had an editorial meeting every three months, chaired by John Ruming.
I also went into breakfast with Maureen McKillop from New Zealand (left in the photo). They are a small national community of about 70 or so members and there are no Jesuits in NZ. Their community was started by Pat Kane who met CLC in England and then in France. Maureen said how much they appreciate using our meeting plans, something which her fellow-delegate, Sarah Dench (right in the photo), who is in my Harbour group and in my Spiritual Conversation group, had also said.
And on my way back to my room I bumped into Christine Holden from South Africa who was astonished and envious as she looked at my (now empty) teapot. I assured her that I had brought extra tea bags. Christine was in CLC in Oxford before going back to South Africa.