As we prepare this Annual Report, Washington, DC is near the end of its magnificent season of spring. It had an early start this year, spurred on by late winter warmth. Once the buds began to open, there was no stopping them! Magnolias led the way, with forsythia, cherries, dogwood, and azaleas following along in overlapping succession. Each morning’s commute revealed new colors and beauty.
Spring is a universal sign of hope and new life. It brings us out of our winter hibernating chill and prods us to see with new eyes the magnificence of creation in the most ordinary of places. It has its own time each year and is often marked by starts and stops as winter, spring, and even summer take turns changing places.
A side effect of the blossoms and blooms of spring is a perpetual coating of pollen that clings to our cars, our furniture, and our mucous membranes as well! The substance that is vital to the life cycle of plants is often a disruptive foreign substance for humans.
2015 has been a season of spring and new life for the Religious Formation Conference. It has brought new people and places into our life as an organization. In April Ellen Dauwer, SC was hired as the new Executive Director. Shortly thereafter the Board made the decision to move the National Office to CTU in Chicago. New life in abundance!
Like its earthly counterpart, spring for RFC has also been marked by starts and stops and sprinklings of pollen. In December we bade a fond farewell to Yvonne DeBruin, who served the Conference for seven years as Program Director with much competence and dedication. We continue the search process for a new Program Director at the present time.
We are most grateful to Carol Regan, SUSC who served as Interim Executive Director from September 2014 through December 2015 with much generosity of spirit. This time was marked not by mere maintenance but by promotion of the RFC mission and goals in countless ways. She ably prepared the organization and office for the new direction.
Special thanks, too, to the RFC Board who have ushered in these changes large and small through their dedication and faithfulness to the mission and vision of the Conference. Katherine Kandefer, BVM, is most deserving of our gratitude as well. She brings life and energy to the National Office each day and competently handles the finances of RFC as well as the many other administrative responsibilities, including the details of our move to Chicago.
The year has had its own rhythms of cycles and seasons: webinars, ForMission, Orientation to Formation, Life Commitment Program, and the 2015 Congress, entitled “Rejoice! God’s Tomorrow Beckons!” How prescient a theme in this time of new life for the Conference, for the Church, and for religious life!
Chicago awaits us. New offices as well as meeting and work space have been constructed according to the needs of our mission. There are opportunities galore for collaboration and cooperation. We look forward to the cross-fertilization that awaits, even its accompanying pollen! Rejoice! God’s tomorrow beckons!