The theme of the retreat was: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” Mark6:31 NIV. Bishop Romen Boiragi of Catholic Church spoke on the theme. He mentioned that retreat is very essential to get closer and connected with Christ. It assists us to talk to Him with a stronger intimation and in unbound tranquillity. He mentioned retreat recharges us to work with fresh spirit and do more to fulfil the God’s wishes and mission.
As an additional paper on the theme Deputy Moderator Bishop Samuel Sunil Mankhin invited the participants to think on three perspectives that why did Jesus Himself fell the necessity to go into retreat to seek advice from God, why did the disciples use to stay with Jesus in retreat and took directives and suggestions from Him, and now we being Bishop, clergies and wives of clergies, whether we should find out the necessity to seek His words of guidance in retreat. He quoted Mother Teresa on retreat that the day she thought had to be busier, that day she gave more time in prayer in quite place.
Moderator of COB, Bishop Paul S Sarker commented on the essence of retreat refereeing it as a very active and essential process to empower the soul to act precisely to achieve the desired goal with assistance of God.
On other topic “Self-reliance and the roles of clergy” Revd John P Hira highlighted the necessity of the self-reliance and he clarified the individual and institutional roles for that. He emphasized the need of savings and austerity. He mentioned Church should be skill enough to use it resources efficiently and productively. He stressed on the need to enrich our morality and enhance our gratitude to God for His mercy and gifts and that we have to return through serving our Church. He added it may then work to make our church self-sustained.
Upon the above discussion, participants put a few recommendations to achieve sustainability.
In the seminar two more core topics were discussed, one on pastoral Ministry in Urban and Rural Churches and second one on Pastoral Counselling for sick and Mentally Troubled by Father Bablu Sarker and father Noren Baidya respectively. The first one highlighted the socio-economic crisis and its impacts on rural and urban lives and the roles of the churches, particularly the clergies, to address those. He mentioned, the clergies have some roles to deal all the crises and assist the victims to overcome that and put the efforts to build the society with Christian faith and aspiration. The second paper encouraged the pastoral counselling to relive the sick and mentally retarded.
Another paper on UMOJA, means ‘working together’ – presented in the seminar by Mr John Tarun Mondol of CBSDP highlighting the values, objectives, benefits, stages of the implementation process of UMOJA. It is to be mentioned, COB is taking much interest to introduce similar approach like UMOJA across the province particularly in rural areas, and for that a comprehensive programme is under process to develop based on recently prepared concept note and log-frame.
Besides all the academic discussion, a session was arranged for the clergies and their wives for sharing the day to day issues with Moderator and Deputy Moderator of COB. It was a very open discussion with all the problems and possibilities for better management of the parish activities to achieve the marks of the mission of COB.
The participants as part of the exposure visited the local parishes of Khulna deanery and the mangrove forest, Sunderban, which is now significantly exposed to climate change.