Editorial by Erica Pegorer, Executive Director
Where has the year gone? I am sure I say that every year as I face the realisation that yet another year has ticked past signalled by preparations for the last meeting, the last newsletter and as the last batch of Board papers received at the KM Office. And then come the inevitable questions that allow reflection and goal setting for the following year. Has it been a good year? Have we achieved all that we had hoped for and are we in a better place now than we were last year because of the fruits of our labour?
Not unlike the Advent, the end of the year is an opportunity for us to look back on what has been while at the same time it offers an opportunity to look forward in eager anticipation to what might be next year.
As members of the Kildare Ministries community you are of course the best judge of our growth and development because you are the ones who receive our work but from our perspective we believe that we have consolidated many of the initiatives that we began only a few years ago and that we have now entered an establishment phase of our journey. We welcomed Andrea Grant as the Mission Leader in May just in time for our inaugural Conference held in August, which brought together 75 delegates from all our ministries with various levels of experience in leadership and governance. Apart from pilgrim acquaintances reuniting and friendships starting, the conference offered unique and prophetic insights into the work of all our ministries as well as providing our community an opportunity to articulate some aspirational goals that will guide our work over the next few years. The Conference Committee has completed its work of analysing the data collected and providing a working framework as a result of this valuable dialogue and discernment. We will publish the findings of the conference early next year. Look out for it on our website and in hard copy via your Principal or Manager.
In addition, there were about 120 staff members who attended the various formation and network meetings; 50+ students committed to our Educating for Justice Seminar; the Mission and Ministry team visited each Stewardship Council at least three times and consulted with most Leadership Teams of our schools. The Trustees conducted three Ministry visits, attended the AGMs of each Board and as contacts for each Ministry, attended numerous school and community work functions and anniversary celebrations.
It is an interesting statistic that over these last three years and the first term of Office for the Trustees, they have met together over 20 times; with the exception of two schools and the community works, they have visited every ministry and have called two significant meetings of the Charis of Boards, Principals and Managers. In their first term of office, the Trustees developed a now well-recognised Vision, Mission and Values Statement including a strategic intent each year; they have launched our formation framework all the while attending to compliance and governance responsibilities as well as delivering in person the first major written report for Rome. As a community we have embraced the Kildare Ministries prayer and introduced to the community a new light – the flame of Kildare Ministries and the Kildare Ministries cross. These are important symbols and huge pieces of work that have contributed to laying the foundations of who we are becoming as Kildare Ministries.
Annette Schmiede as Co-Chair has had a significant part to play in this development and it is with some sadness but great appreciation that we farewell her at the end of the year. Annette has resigned her position as Co-Chair after eight years of intense involvement in Kildare Ministries. From its inception, Annette brought to the table her extensive corporate experience, her tremendous leadership skills and her courageous attitude and sharp sense of humour. Dr Rose Marie Prosser’s profound theological understanding and her ability to offer a fresh and new perspective will also be greatly missed. Dr Prosser’s enquiring mind, her friendly nature (always being amongst the first to talk with staff and Board Directors) and her understanding of the intricate workings of ‘church’ added a vibrant dimension to the discussions around the Trustee table. Both these dedicated women of faith, generously offered their gifts and talents for the benefit of the broader Kildare Ministries community. We offer each our personal thanks and best wishes for their future endeavours.
In the same breath, we offer our sincere congratulations to Rosemary Copeland as the new Co-Chair and Anne Astin as a newly appointed Trustee. Each will commence their duties in January 2017 and we look forward to see how their special gifts will bring witness to our Gospel values through their work with Kildare Ministries.
Our thanks and appreciation are also extended to Rosemary Copeland (Trustee) and Linda Kiernan (Director of Religious Education, Faith Development and Ministry at Clonard College, Geelong) who generously stepped in to ensure the Educating for Justice programme and the Faith Leaders Network maintained momentum while we were searching for a new Mission Leader. Because of their leadership and dedication, the transition to Andrea Grant was seamless. The Mission and Ministry Team also wish to thank Kate Kelsey and Monica Lang who are often the face of the Kildare Ministries office. They are the friendly voice on the other end of the telephone, offer a warm welcome and nourishing hospitality to all who come through the door and they take great pride in their work.
Lastly, the biggest thanks goes to each of you in our Ministries. You offer hope, love and faith to the members of your community and our work would be truly insignificant if it was not for your everyday attention, dedication and commitment to them. We are sure that you are looking forward to a well-earned rest over the Christmas and New Year period. While Advent is certainly a time of celebration and anticipation of Christ’s birth, it is more than that. It is only in the shadow of Advent that the miracle of Christmas can be fully understood and appreciated; and it is only in the light of Christmas that the Christian life makes any sense.
May this be a time to recharge your batteries and enjoy the company of family and friends. May each of you have a blessed and graced Christmas and we look forward, in anticipation, to our work together in 2017.