Earlier this month, I had an opportunity to speak about Empowering Learners when I attended a meeting at ELCA Churchwide. A group of colleagues had been invited to gather to discuss our mutual interest in Namibia. Formally this was a meeting of the four companion synods of the ELCA who have direct ties to the Lutheran Church in Namibia -- others of us were invited to join in on the conversation by our friends in the Global Mission Unit. It was a terrific two days in so many ways.
Much of the conversation around the table focused on the words accompaniment, mutuality, inclusivity, vulnerability, empowerment, and sustainability. Those words seemed to fit so well with me and where I am in living into this Empowering Learners project. I think maybe I have been seeking some words to help me frame my thoughts on where we’re headed.
I especially like the way these six words twine together. Each word seems better and stronger because it links with the next. Each word could stand alone, but doesn’t.
So these words matter to me. They help me look forward in a fuller way.
Because where we're headed (especially in light of where we’ve been) is not about “us” being of assistance to “them.” Empowering Learners is really about being side by side. It’s about us being with our brothers and sisters in the ELCIN and in doing what we can to provide what might be needed on a journey of learning.
Somewhere along the line Ethan and I decided we were in this project for the long haul. We knew one shipment of books and computers would do some good -- but staying with this effort and walking along side our Namibian friends was much more suited to what we value and believe in.
Thank you all for joining us in our efforts and for encouraging us on this journey.