“I experienced love and care, and felt supported by the pastoral team when I fell ill at the assembly. They gave me the same attention I could get at home,” said Koni Bugu Patrick of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, expressing contentment with accompaniment given to her by the pastoral care and the solidarity team.
Added one assembly delegate. “I am impressed by the team. After having a challenging meeting with some of my brothers and sisters to discuss some issues affecting our network, I felt worn out. I walked to their office. They greeted me with smiles and listened to me. That did it. I left feeling better.”
The assembly pastoral care and solidarity team, made up of 65 men and women from diverse professional, cultural, and different regions and ages had been constituted to give pastoral accompaniment—physical, mental, or spiritual—to the assembly delegates, participants and staff. Their tasks included promoting a helpful, enabling environment that was a safe, welcoming, and nurturing space for all—one that facilitates a sense of belonging.
Explaining some of the issues that the pastoral care and solidarity team had to deal with during the assembly, Katlego Mohuba, one of the young members in the team said, “Some participants have come to us and said they just needed prayers; some were ill and needed to be accompanied to the hospital, with some homesick or lost because of being in a big gathering.”
Describing what had aided the work of the team, Rev. Jyoti Singh of the Church of North India and a member of the pastoral and solidarity team said, “Having the assembly Code of Conduct was of great help. It acted as a deterrent from misbehavior and reminded all of us on the need to take care for each other.”
The assembly Code of Conduct had been prepared to prevent not only gender and sexual-based violence but all forms of violence, discrimination, corruption, and fraud, and assist in a helpful and timely response. The Code of Conduct had been sent to the assembly delegates and participants, who were required to comply with it during the assembly.
Added Singh, “Good liaison with the local assembly organizing committee was of great importance. They linked well with the security, provided us with volunteers who came in handy in so many aspects. Many of the local community members were very supportive. This should be carried forward even as we seek to pastoral care and solidarity from one assembly to the other."