Celebrating global companionship

On Wednesday, April 29, diocesan laity and clergy who are active in global partnerships gathered at St. James/Santiago, Oakland. Over a delicious meal, energetic conversation was shared about the history of DioCal’s Department of World Mission (DOWM), and the move within the diocese to embrace a new name and new direction reflecting today’s understanding of exchanges and work across the Anglican Communion. 

Bishop Marc introduced the thoughtful work led by Mary Louise Gotthold and members of DOWM, resulting in a proposed name change from DOWM to Global Companions Commission, by noting the move across the Episcopal church to seek language that no longer relies on the word “mission” to express international work and exchanges. For many, the word “mission” is a reminder of a history of wealthier dioceses/churches going forth to do, often, unilateral work abroad, rather than engagement of a “communion of communions” centered on mutuality and partnership. In addition to receiving enthusiastic responses to the new name, Mary Louise also circulated two ideas for new commission logos created by the Rev. Sam Dessordi Leite that were similarly well received.

DioCal is now at a moment of celebration and reflection. We celebrate the positive collaboration over six years with the Diocese of Curitiba, Brazil, which supported numbers of exchanges and the co-sponsoring of a Southern hemisphere workshop on climate change with action items carried forward to the House of Bishops, among other activities. And, the group paused to reflect on how best to organize for the future as the companion diocese charter ends. 

In the ensuing conversation, all participants shared briefly the focus of their current global interests, ranging from longstanding collaborative work trips, more recent fundraising to benefit the Diocese of Haiti, advocacy work for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel, and well developed programs such as GAIA in Malawi. It was pointed out that global companionship includes collaborative work with underserved and marginalized people locally and nationally as well as internationally. The diverse and impressive range of activities are only a portion of those across the diocese, and everyone was eager to extend the process of conversation and planning, welcoming others who were not able to make the April 29 meeting.

Specific next steps were named for Global Companions Commission planning, including updating the diocesan survey of global activities, developing an electronic newsletter, increasing awareness of the upcoming Global Episcopal Mission network Annual Conference, and seeking new ways to support DioCal’s networking for global action.

Meetings for the rest of 2014 will be announced in DioBytes shortly. For more information, please contact Mary Louise Gotthold at globetrottinglady@sbcglobal.net.