Sunday, February 24, 2013
Small Basic Christian Communities
In January of this year, an Intercontinental Symposium was organized by Adveniat, Missio and the University of Tubingen. The general manager of the Bishops' Committee for Small Christian Communities, who attended as a representative from Asia, reported in the Catholic Times on the 3-day meeting.
In attendance were about 240 pastoral workers, theologians and students of theology, ranging in age from 20 to 80. The theme of the symposium was taken from I John 1:3, "What we have seen and heard we proclaim," which was to be an overview of how the teaching of Vatican II was implemented, a preview of the possible direction the Church would take in the future, how the different continents have fostered the small basic Christian community movement, and what they have learned over the years. Europe is having great difficulty in continuing the ways of the past. Old and in crisis, it is searching for new ways of being church.The lack of priests and vocations, the closing of churches, and the aging population of Christians were the reasons given for the increased interest in moving toward Small Basic Christian Communities.
A Sister from South America talked about their small communities which were working for justice and peace in order to establish God's kingdom of love. They passed through difficulties and opposition, she said, but because of the laity's enthusiasm and creativity, they were able to persevere, and the communities have thrived. A professor from the Philippines said there is a tendency to see the small community movement as a special program or organization rather than, more accurately, seeing it more as a vision for the future Church.
A professor from Germany told about the help that was given to Germany by the LUMKO Research Institute so that the Scriptures could more easily be shared with one another. Since 2000, the German Church has been looking for ways to make the Basic Christian Community fit into their culture.
Each continent will have to find ways in which the movement will best find a home in their culture. The effort is to meet Jesus in the word that he has left us and to experience the fellowship of being together with others, especially the poor and those alienated from society; our efforts will thus be channeled in the direction that Jesus wants us to take in these difficult times. The Korean Church has put much effort into developing the movement. There has been problems but they continue to see the importance of educating the participants for greater understanding and efforts made to increase the numbers participating in these basic communities.