This morning we welcomed Sr. Rekha Chennattu, RA, a Scripture scholar and Mother General of her congregation, Religious of the Assumption. Her compelling presentation used Johannine theology to reveal the leadership model in the community of disciples founded by Jesus. She was firm: it is not a “servant leadership” model. Rather, it is a “covenantal friendship” model, where we are invited to work together as friends, to be attentive to one another, serve one another, love one another.
She guided us through the Good Shepherd, Washing of the Feet, and Risen Jesus at the Lake narratives to bring this model to the foreground. She then made links with the synodal approach to church leadership. We spent time in silent reflection, caught our breath and then sent our questions in—dozens of them—electronically. As one would expect, they addressed the practical nature of how leadership is practiced in the Institute, community, formation, educational center and so on. One could tell from the tone of her responses that she has schooled herself in this model. Her final words were, “Leadership is all about the power of love, it’s all about friendship, it’s all about sacrifice.”
Interesting to note, this afternoon the General Bursar presented the financial condition of the Generalate and Institute, and the Solidarity and Development office described its work over the past eight years and proposed the creation of a global solidarity fund. As soon as money enters into the church, a community or an organization, the radicality of Jesus’ covenantal friendship model is thrown into sharp relief. So the capitulants find themselves holding several pieces of a very large puzzle: covenantal friendship, solidarity, co-responsibility, self-sufficiency, sustainability, authority and leadership among them. It’s day six and we are still in the discovery phase of the Chapter process—no doubt there are more pieces of the puzzle to come.
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 >
Photos courtesy Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools Communications Service