The October 14th-20th EAP Provincial Council Meeting in Nairobi was preceded by a two-days workshop. The workshop was about Process Oriented Leadership and Organisational Transformation. It was animated by Fr. Yago Abeledo, M. Afr. from Lavigerie Formation House – Jinja. The participants were the twelve provincial council members.
We began the workshop reflecting on the following challenging invitation of Pope Francis: “Pastoral Ministry in a Missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way.’ I invite every one to be bold and creative in this task of re-thinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelisation in their respective communities.” [Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, No. 33]
The themes of the workshop included; the meaning of process, process thinking, process oriented attitudes [such as; looking at reality with a beginner’s mind, readiness for unpredicability, non-judgemental attitude, concerned with the overall process, non-dualistic thinking, meaning not “either-or” but “both-and”!, etc.], emotional intelligence [the ability to process meaningfully the emotional information that comes from our bodies all the time!] and the introduction of a holistic model for conflict transformation called ‘the Butterfly Model’. This model invites us to explore the relationship between different levels of conflict (personal, communitarian, organizational and social), how is connected with the past and the strategy to reach a desired future. We worked together look ing at our EAP reality through this holistic framework. We could name hot issues and motivational forces present at EAP. We payed special attention to repressed emotional forces that drive our behaviour if kept unnoticed and unnamed. The goal was to access information that often stays marginalised.
We also explored another process-oriented group dynamic called “Group Process”, the members of the Provincial Council got involved in a spontaneous debate where role flexibility was encouraged. The debriefing of the experience was revealing. An inspirational video of Sister Joan Chittester, OSB, on “God and the evolutionary mind” invited us to reflect on questions such as: What are the current Failures in the EAP? How are we dealing with them? How are we Co-creating with God in the EAP? What are some of Process Oriented Attitudes in the EAP? What is Preventing us for having Process Attitudes?
In sum, the workshop was interactive and readily enaging. And – M. Afr. being “faster learners”, some of the workshops group dynamics and analysis and discussion tools were employed during the PC meeting that followed the workshop. A word of gratitude to Fr. Yago for introducing the participants to all these different ways of analysis and group dynamics.
One could arguably say that this workshop was a “training of trainers” exercise. The participants did not only use the insights during the PC meeting. They will carry them along to be utilised in their communities and pastoral places.
Paddy Nuwe-Agabah, M.Afr.