ACTA groups are involved in a number of projects which are valuable in their own right, but when viewed alongside others are not only impressive, but also allow members in different parts to see how their talks / projects are combining with other ACTA voices to make our case for, and contribution to, frank and open dialogue within the Church louder, better informed and offering constructive ways forward in the changing church. March 2016 Newsletter
I begin the summary by saying it is a snapshot – and that’s all it is. The co-ordinators who have reported on activities happen to have had events, or have them planned in the near future, at the time I asked. Other ACTA groups' activities are planned at other times. There are also, of course, groups which are at an emerging phase, or in a period of discernment / changing membership as well as individuals who may not yet have a group near them, but who are active in their area: I hope these reports are helpful not only in providing possible ideas for meetings / projects, but also that work which is at an initial phase, or in a phase of discernment, is an important part of a developing picture.
Writing up the co-ordinators reports gave me a real boost, and a genuine feeling of joyful hope to be part of this group of people. Hopefully, reading them has left you with the same feeling.
In the delegates’ conference on May 28th, (Birmingham), time will be provided for members to talk to each other, to share experiences and pool resources where groups are working on similar areas, and to spark fresh ideas by sharing stories.
You will have noticed the references to ‘report on the website’. Part of the May conference will be led by Alex Walker on more effective use of the website. In the meantime, if you have news or reports on activities, or would like to broaden conversations you have had at local level, please do add them to the website: our secretary Peter Farrell is contactable via the website and is happy to collate material / work on drafts.
The range and depth of our activities mean that people of good will (at all levels of the church) looking for renewal in the Church, will be energised and reassured by ACTA; those who are reluctant to allow different voices to speak, or legitimate questions to be raised will not be able to dismiss us as a group of disloyal Catholics. We won’t convince everybody – I have been told I need to see an exorcist! – but we are able to engage openly, constructively (and perhaps even joyfully) with people locally and nationally.
Looking further forward, planning is proceeding for the ACTA national conference in London on 26 November. Fr Timothy Radcliffe and Professor Tina Beattie will be speaking on “The Evolving Church – where are we going with Pope Francis?” After the talks and in the afternoon the audience will have their say. Expect a gripping day.
The venue is the church hall of Holy Apostles, Pimlico, near Victoria station. The planning team led by Jordan Pullicino will be meeting together on site at the beginning of April. More details in due course after that.
We still (urgently) need a treasurer. If anyone is able to take up this role, (or has any suggestions as to who might be suitable), or would like more details, please contact our secretary, Peter Farrell. The previous treasurer said that, as ACTA is not a fundraising organisation, the role is not particularly time consuming.
Media We have been indebted to Michael Phelan for his excellent services. He will continue to offer support in an advisory role, but we need to build up our media team. Would anyone be interested in working with John Wilkins as his ‘second’? A good knowledge of working with the various media would be a great help, but, as with all ACTA involvement, a willingness to learn is essential! John will provide more details.
Social media is also an area to develop. This will be discussed in May, with a demonstration of a significant development which will improve communications, but if anyone is interested in offering their expertise and enthusiasm to develop our use of social media, please contact Peter Farrell. It would be a huge bonus if we could have these two positions developed before May’ s conference.
If anyone has suggestions for delegates conference, please do let me or Peter know.
A great deal is happening and the ACTA pipeline is pleasantly full and flowing. These words of Jean Vanier seem as good a way as any to sign off,
We can understand Peter’s reaction when Jesus wants to wash his feet. He cannot accept the fact that Jesus would kneel down before him and serve him. How can we understand a God who is so great that he can become little and vulnerable in order to touch people’s hearts and to live in a relationship of love with each one? God’s all-powerfulness is hidden in order to show that it is a power of love and in order to awaken the power of love in each one of us. If Jesus washes Peter’s feet, then Peter, too, will be called to become little and vulnerable, like a servant. But in order to do that, he must give up certain ideas and even holy customs and traditions that give him security. He will have to let God guide him in all things and to new things. By becoming flesh, the Word makes all things new; he brings a new vision of humanity, a new way of being. (Jean Vanier)with all good wishes and prayers,