2017 May 29 – Strategy Team Meeting

Report on today’s call, follow-up call, and email reports:

Present on the call: Don (Philippines), Clyde (U.S.), Virginia (U.S.), Socorro (Mexico), Christina (New Zealand), Virginia (India), Rachael (India), Reena (India), Rene (U.S.)

Young Adult preparation for the Youth Synod

A meeting was held in Nairobi at the AMECEA office (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa) led by Fr. Emmanuel Chimombo. Our CCRI members, Peter Methu Buchi, Liz Ngami, and Alloys Nyakundi, were in attendance along with Fr. Joe and two other young adults.

Their discussions focused on how to have the official Church hear and listen to authentic questions from the youth during the 2018 Synod and beyond.  Reaching the youth through Youth Small Christian Communities as well as regular Small Christian Communities were also discussed. With regard to the questions contained in the Preparatory Document on the Synod, the meeting proposed that they consider responding to them even though they are not addressed to the youth. Their hope is that this will bring attention to the authentic perspectives of the youth (and not merely the perspectives of bishops) on the themes addressed by the synod. Fr. Emmanuel said that his office is working in collaboration with the Catholic University of Eastern Africa Research and Education Departments. He committed himself to sharing the matrix of data collection this initiative generated. His office aims to beat the deadline of presenting African Voices to the Synod Secretariat within the remaining months. The meeting briefly discussed how other regions/networking are organizing towards effective participation of the youth. An online meeting organized for tomorrow, Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 will provide a platform for sharing lessons of experiences and potential ways of working together at the global level without disregarding local ecclesial and cultural realities. (Reported by Peter)

On our call today, Rachael reported that she is concentrating on gathering young adults together in India and soliciting their views to send into the Synod office. Reena indicated that, if it is not necessary to gather others together, she could begin to write a paper or papers immediately sharing her perspective on issues based on her personal experience as well as awareness of how other young people in India feel. She could have them ready to send to the Synod office immediately. In addition to sending them to the official Synod email address, we could also send them directly to Msgr. John Abruzzese, our contact inside the Synod office.


A call the following day was organized by Peter with some of our team members and Fr. Emmanuel Chimambo. Here is Clyde’s report of that meeting: It was an excellent meeting, with very candid assessments of reality in the church and on the ground today.  That kind of openness and acuity is very heartening.

Fr. Emmanuel has a full grasp of all the aspects of the challenges presented by a gradual approach toward marriage.  He recounted efforts of the community to move in a practical direction to try this approach.  Although his account may be viewed as a cautionary tale, the detail, brevity and nuance of his presentation gave me a great deal of confidence in his ministry.   

Rachael spoke directly and accurately about the “masculinity” that continues to bias society against gender equality.  Reena was explicit about the growth that occurs during youth, and the general delay (if not omission) in thought given by many young people to many issues.  I look forward to her papers.

For me, the discussion confirms how much richer God’s creation is than our feeble idealizations.  There are too many of these feeble idealizations in Church teachings.

I wish we had a recording of this meeting.  It was a very impressive exchange, the particulars of which are fading from my memory because I am in Norfolk, Virginia, focused on a hearing tomorrow before a US District Court judge in a patent case.


Action needed: If you are involved in working with young people or have a contact of a young person – whether still active in the Church or, just as important, someone who was raised Catholic but has moved away from Church attendance – we encourage you or your contact(s) to send in to us a one or two-page paper on their views about the Church and, if it is from someone fallen away, why they left and what it would take to bring them back. We will forward this to the Synod office and to our direct contact there.

Film Production

We discussed Astrid’s concern about the film, namely, that people who have been hurt by the church or unjustly fired, would not be comfortable going public with their issue. Don said that he had a meeting with Margie and Kochurani and they felt that anonymity could be preserved. The focus of the film will be on contrasting the inappropriate aspects of the Church with small faith groups who are living the Gospel message that Jesus intended for his church.

Action needed: If you have a small faith community that would like to share your experience with the producers of the film, please contact Donald Pribor don@cta-usa.org. Almost all of us have had hurtful experiences with the Church but if you would be willing to share your story on film, also contact Don.

Connecting CEBs and IECs with the twinning group of SCCs

Actual plans came together for connecting Christina’s SCC (New Zealand) with that of Clyde’s IEC (U.S.) with a small faith group that Virginia is bringing in (Belgium) with a CEB that Socorro is bringing in (Mexico). This will take place on Saturday, June 10 (June 11 in New Zealand) via Zoom https://zoom.us/j/2429500175 based on the following times:

These are the corresponding times for your meeting:


Local Time

Time Zone

UTC Offset

Reno (USA – Nevada)

Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 12:00:00 noon


UTC-7 hours

New York (USA – New York)

Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 3:00:00 pm


UTC-4 hours

Mexico City (Mexico – Ciudad de México)

Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 2:00:00 pm


UTC-5 hours

Auckland (New Zealand)

Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 7:00:00 am


UTC+12 hours

Brussels (Belgium)

Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 9:00:00 pm


UTC+2 hours

Nairobi (Kenya)

Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 10:00:00 pm


UTC+3 hours

Corresponding UTC (GMT)

Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 19:00:00



We need to learn how to connect with the “twinning” groups already set up with the SCCs.

Action needed: If you are part of a small faith community or know someone who is, please invite them to join this meeting on June 10/11. I’ve included Nairobi in the above time chart in the event that one of you from there might be able to bring in an SCC from your region.


Thanks to all,



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