What is the Jesuit Forum?
The Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice brings together small groups of people from similar fields of social responsibility to participate in a process of social discernment. The goal is to counteract the growing privatization of peoples’ faith and deepest convictions. The hope is that attentive conversation and deeper reflection will foster effective decision-making, influenced by the shared insights of a forum’s participants.
Tell me more about a small group forum
A forum is a gathering of six to eight people for sharing and reflection in an atmosphere of trust that fosters deep listening and thinking about the concerns, desires and hopes of the group. It starts with the experience of the participants and focuses on the common themes which emerge. It is a process of reading the signs of the times, based on the belief that the Spirit is very much at work in the world.
What’s the point?
The experience of a forum fosters trust, friendship, energy, enthusiasm, hope and deeper understanding of the world in which we live. It’s an attempt to find some meaning in our confused and uncertain times. Beginning with looking inward for a personal perspective, the basic direction of a forum is outward into the world – asking what one can do with others (especially peers) to build a better world.
How does a forum work?
A forum is a way of discovering hope, fostering listening and building good citizenship. It is not concerned with problem-solving; it is not a debate; and it is not a retreat. Following the example of our First Nations people, a talking stick will be used (we will use a microphone) to emphasize respect for each speaker. The simple process of a forum takes the data of personal experience seriously. It treats each one as a participant in life and aims to engage his/her social conscience, aware of the pressing issues of our time and together finding possibilities for change.
How much time will a forum take?
Usually a forum will take three hours, beginning with a light meal and refreshments. There is no preparation and no specific follow-up required. It is, however, an open process that may lead to further meetings.