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Global focus at Gartmore retreat

THE staff and students who are set to travel to Uganda this October as part of Missio Scotland’s Get Involved Globally initiative got their preparations underway recently with a weekend retreat at Gartmore Residential House.

The group comprised of: Martin Mann from Missio Scotland; Sister Stacey Cameron from the Sisters of St Peter Claver; Fr Philip Marsh from the Spiritan Fathers; pupils from the Hamilton High Schools of Holy Cross and St John Ogilvie; and Roisin Rea, Depute Headteacher at Holy Cross and Peter Galloway, Depute Headteacher at St John Ogilvie.

Over the course of the weekend, the group (above) explored the themes of poverty and mission, the increase in ‘voluntourism’ and also had time to self-reflect, learn new communication and team-building skills, devote time to prayer and meditation and celebrate Mass together.

“We learned about what mission is and how we need to work together to get the most out of our journey,” the pupils from St John Ogilvie High School wrote. “Sister Stacey read a short passage to us (Matthew 5:13-16) on the first night in Gartmore about how we are ‘the salt of the Earth.’ She explained how our goodness affects the world and that we are ‘the light of the world,’ highlighting that our youth creates a new light for the faith.

“We took part in some team activities as a way to introduce students from the two schools to one another and initiate the bond we will need to foster before we arrive in Uganda.

“Martin addressed the fact that we will have to witness some of the harsh realities of the living standards and struggles that the Ugandans face and how we will have to act as Pope Francis does with compassion and patience.

“Father Phil spoke of an African tapestry created by a local artist in Cameroon and throughout the drawings explored the beginning and the end of life. In the drawings, in each stage, the colour red shows that Jesus is present in all stages of our lives.

“We watched a film too called Queen of Katwe, based on the life of a young girl from the slums in Uganda, which gave an insight into some of the struggles she faced and the divide in society there between the rich and the poor.

“This weekend has given us a new perspective on what our mission will entail in Uganda and has filled us with optimism and hope for our journey, especially with regard to what we will learn from our brothers and sisters there.”

“The weekend went really well with all the pupils taking on leadership roles and enjoying each other’s company, “ Martin said. “They engaged well at all times, especially with the Lectio Divina led by Sr Stacey, where they were reflective and respectful throughout.

“At the request of the pupils and staff, we will meet up on another two occasions to share a meal and experiences of missionary work before we set off in October.”

The Get Involved Globally (GIG) mission experience programme aims to offer a small group of adults or students the opportunity to visit church and school communities in an overseas country for 10-14 days. Each Missio Scotland GIG experience comprises of a three phase process: preparation, the in-country experience and a debriefing and follow-up.

The purpose of these mission experiences is for our participants to experience life, faith and justice from a new perspective and return home inspired to live a personal sense of ‘mission’ in Scotland. A mission experience aims to touch the heart, engage the mind and nourish the spirit and sees participants spending time with the local community, sharing stories and being with people—including visiting those who care for the sick, look after orphans, teach children and many other initiatives through the programmes run by our mission partners. The GIG trips act as a powerful tool in helping us to understand and involve ourselves in Jesus’ mission.

To find out more about GIG visit: /get-involved-globally

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