“Through Dialogue, We Change…”

SCM Canterbury’s Jessie Robinson reflects on her trip to SELF in Cambodia late last year.

From the 24th of October until the 5th of November, I had the privilege to be in Siem Reap, Cambodia for WSCF’s School for Ecumenical Leadership Formation (SELF) programme. Identity, Diversity and Dialogue were the key themes of the programme. Representatives from all around the Asia – Pacific region were brought together to participate in SELF. We were based at a reflection centre so as such, each day we were encouraged to reflect on parts of the programme that spoke to us. The following is what really stood out to me. 

The Bishop of Sri Lanka was amongst the speakers and he spoke very well on the subjects of contemporary issues and challenges, and also on the subject of the LGBT+ Community. We have multiple identities. Bishop encouraged us to dialogue. Discuss, to dig deep and not accept things at a superficial level. The group was spoken to, to have courage to be non-conformist. To practice sensitive leadership by listening and keeping an ear to the ground. The solution to challenges should come from the people within which will lead to unity and truth being established. 

Through dialogue we change. Our faith becomes deeper. A tool that we were shown to practice reflection is that of zoegraphy. It is centred in our personal life. It is the story of one’s life in relation to society. In zoegraphy we are encouraged to have an open imagination and to ultimately serve God. If we are able to dialogue with others about commonalities in our own lives, this is a way to solve challenges in society. The World can be made peaceful if we bring a vision of common peace. 

Talking to other representatives from around Asia – Pacific was a fantastic way to share experiences from our own contexts. The programme provided a new context to practice dialogue in and enabled myself and the other participants to gain more insight into the contemporary issues and challenges that were brought forth to discuss. These things are called The Signs of the Times. We can look at the nature, the process and the outcome. From there we dialogue. We can talk openly. We can talk openly. We can educate. We can advocate. We are encouraged to show peace and love. A challenge I put forth to you is to be a spirit filled community and to identify someone who is different and dialogue with them. 

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