Members of Shalom Community team leaders in London gathered 22nd to 23rd of November for the annual strategic planning retreat. The retreat is an occasion to stop, pray, to listen to God, to evaluate the Community’s activities throughout the year and plan for the next year.
On November 22nd a moment of prayer was followed by a video talk from Moyses Azevedo, the founder of Shalom Community, to all Shalom’s missions throughout the world. He shared important guidelines, practical and spiritual, on what the Lord has been speaking to the Community in prayer and through the voice of the Church. Saturday and Sunday were marked by moments of Eucharistic adoration, discussions on specific topics and the opportunity to have an overview on what the Community have been doing on the last few years in the city of London.
Some of the main subjects discussed during the retreat were: the constant need of evangelization, the “culture of encounter” frequently underlined by Pope Francis, the spirit of intercession, a new Marian season and the importance of a solid formation in the lives of people so that they can bear witness of God’s love in the world. One topic that was explored deeply during the retreat was God’s mercy and how it is manifested in their personal lives. The participants reflected on the experience of God’s mercy which allowed them to realize who they trully are and who the Lord is. Only then it was possible to understand that He is in charge of whatever they do.
A reflection was made by Fr Alexander Sherbrooke, parish priest of St Patrick’s Church, on the spiritual connection between adoration and street evangelization. He also spoke about how to establish Christ’s Kingdom with harmony and joy in opposition to the noisy and chaotic kingdom of this world. The priest highlighted the particular contribution that Shalom Community, founded in Brazil, can add to the evangelization of a secular and pagan city such as London. Joy, openness and a vivid spirit are part of Latin American’s culture which can be a very positive aspect in evangelization.
The retreat ended with the knowledge that in 2015 the Community must “go forward” in evangelization, in boldness, in prayer, in holiness and in a deeper experience with Divine mercy in order to reach each man and woman who weep and suffer.