October E-News DOTAC: DOVE Update
DOTAC DOVE 2021 September 23-25, 2021
Wholeness through Compassion and Justice
DOVE 2021 invited us to recommit to overcoming violence where we practice ministry as we paid a virtual visit to Jamaica, blessed by the spirited leadership of our hosts, the Wesley Diaconal Community. While we were all disappointed not to meet in person as originally planned, our hosts ensured that we enjoyed significant opportunities to learn and worship together in the warm online community they created. Our Canadian diaconal community was represented by Vicki McPhee, Elaine Kellogg, Marlene Britton, Ted Dodd and Karen Tjaden. We were joined by representatives from a number of the 12 diaconal communities which make up DOTAC, including delegates from Jamaica and the Carribean islands, Guyana, Brasil and USA. Simultaneous Portugese translation reminded us to slow down and pay close attention to our rich cultural diversity as we learned with one another. In addition to the creative worship leadership and lively Biblical reflection offered by diaconal colleagues, our hosts convened an impressive series of presentations from Jamaican experts in the areas of gender based violence and social violence. We were inspired by their scholarship and their passion for creating and sustaining projects to overcome violence throughout their country. These guests reminded us again and again of the important role the church has to play in this critical work and every presentation highlighted the importance of partnerships if we are to overcome violence in our communities. While we might have simply become overwhelmed by the grim statistics on the incidence of violence in Jamaica that each presenter had to share, the faithful response to this violence demonstrated by our diaconal colleagues and these guests served to encourage and strengthen us to continue this work together. One guest challenged us to think of children at promise, rather than children at risk. We offered one another steady encouragement to attend to our own wellness and resiliency so that we will be able to continue to offer our ministries of justice and compassion. Morning and evening devotions reminded us to “take it to the Lord in prayer”, not as a way of avoiding tough issues but as a means for sustaining ourselves and our faith communities so that we can persist in the building of Jesus’ kin-dom vision of “wholeness through compassion and justice” (our DOVE 2021 theme). Isaiah 58 was just one of many Biblical texts offered to challenge and comfort us as we recommitted to overcoming violence.
In conversation with DOTAC partners from many countries we were forcefully reminded that the pandemic continues to impact the most vulnerable as much needed interventions programs cannot return to in person service until many more people have fair and equitable access to vaccines!
Every DOVE participant commits to continue the ministry of overcoming violence in their own context. Here are some resources to encourage us all in this ministry of transformation:
Visit DOTAC website to view sessions recorded during DOVE 2021
Participate in WCC Thursdays in Black – A global movement towards a world without rape and violence – and access excellent Bible Study Series, including prayers and actions
Join DOTAC’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Nov 25 – Dec 10 (see this e-newsletter for more details)
Every DOTAC or World DIakonia event and action reminds us that we can accomplish so much more when we work and pray together, and DOVE 2021 was no exception! Watch for the next DOVE learning and action opportunity in a few years!
DOVE 2021 closed with this powerful benediction:
May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half truths,
and superficial relationships,
so that we may live deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression
and exploitation of people,
so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer
from pain, rejection, starvation, and war,
so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
turn their pain to joy.
And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe
that we can make a difference in this world,
so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.