Bishop Clyde Harvey of St George’s-in-Grenada urged Catholics to think of mission not as people coming to the region or sent overseas but “something we become”.
“Mission is who we are before God and unless we understand that, we have a deficient understanding of our own baptism,” he said.
Bishop Harvey gave a presentation on ‘Envisioning the Church of the 21st Century and Pointing the way through Mission’ Saturday, September 21, at the Antilles Episcopal Conference Mission Congress 2019, Centre of Excellence, Macoya.
The theme for the September 17–22 Congress was Baptised and Sent.
Thinking of the topic he asked whether mission was pointing the way “to” or pointing the way “for” mission. What is mission? Bishop Harvey said the response could be the establishment of the Kingdom, the conversion of sinners, and the sanctification of the Word.
His presentation sought to give a “framework” for thinking of mission. He said Jesus Christ, the incarnate One, the Word made flesh gave the “pattern” for mission through His Crucifixion, death and Resurrection. “We have to be open to that same pattern in our own lives—incarnational,” he added.
Though His state was divine, Jesus did not cling to His equality with God but emptied Himself. “A God who becomes little and dwells in the littleness of life; God takes our poverty and lives it…. So the way of God is impoverishment, that is the way of salvation that is the way of redemption God had to come down because God is love,” Bishop Harvey said.
He highlighted a few critical areas for consideration: youth, education and relationality and sexuality. The challenge of responding to youth was known and Bishop Harvey said dioceses must be ready to spend more money.
He stated, “You cannot ask people to serve the cause of youth and leave them empty-handed in the process.” There was applause for this but he interjected that people should not think all the funding should come from Archbishop Jason Gordon.
It must come also from parishes and parish councils, which must be willing to provide money to young leaders. Bishop Harvey said, “Too many of our parishes spending money on gas and all kind of things but money on people is not being spent.” He appealed for more funding on “people” if the Church is to grow.
Touching briefly on education, he thanked the educators who stayed and contended with the struggle. He said their work was not in vain; the “bottom line” was young people needed teachers who cared.
Of “grave concern” to him was relationality and sexuality. Bishop Harvey suggested telling people to obey the Sixth and Ninth Commandments and they will be alright was not enough.
He said there was understanding of the “spectrum in our humanity”. Citing a document on gender put out by the Vatican and the negative secular media reports about the Church’s stance on homosexuality, he stated, “That document was not a definitive statement. It was a document put out for discussion. Are we discussing it?”
He shared a decision he made in his diocese to have an institute of human relations instead of a Family Life Commission. He hoped there would be openness in exploring issues in relationships. Bishop Harvey gave the example of marriage not being on the agenda of most Grenadian men.
“The Church if it is to be a Church of the Caribbean, we cannot simply attend to those who obey the rules. We must reach out to those who, for whatever reason, find the rules hard to obey,” he said.