The appreciative inquiry method was presented and explained, followed by comments and questions from the capitulants. We voted and the proposal outlined by the preparatory commission was overwhelmingly accepted.
We also approved the Manual of Rules and Procedures. Other than the specific details related to the process of appreciative inquiry, the manual hasn’t changed much from the last Chapter. However, there is something added, worth quoting in full: “Discernment needs space and time. For this reason, and following the intuitions suggested by Pope Francis in recent Synods, it is proposed that during the work, in the plenary assembly and in work groups, a moment of silence of about three minutes should be observed after every five interventions, to allow everyone to pay attention to the resonances in their hearts of what has been heard. The moderator will remind everyone of this suggestion” (1.5).
Discernment emerged as one of the key values we identified for the Chapter. Thousands of books, videos and conferences have been written on how to discern, but making space and time is a darn good start. The appreciative inquiry method by its nature requires a measured pace. Action-oriented and problem-solving methods seem to generate speed, which isn’t to say they’re to be avoided. Perhaps the difference can be illustrated by two do-it-yourself-ers who go to the hardware store on Saturday morning for some concrete to pour a foundation. One will buy bags of concrete mix, and the other will buy Quikrete. The former takes extended time to set and cure and the latter is, well, quicker.
Of course, our imaginative metaphor is “building paths,” not laying foundations, so we want to discern what “transforming lives” means before we start surveying the land.
We want to make space and time to first understand why before we start planning how.
Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC, is General Councilor for the Lasallian Region of North America. He is providing reflections throughout the 46th General Chapter, which are being shared on Lasallian.info and on Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about the General Chapter here and from the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Search #FSC46GC on social media for more highlights. Visit the General Councilor’s page for more reflections from Brother Tim >