Mission practitioners from across the United States and around the world gathered this past week in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA for the Christian Community Development Association’s (CCDA) national conference. The theme for this year was “Flourish,” and speakers and workshop leaders guided conference participants in ways to faithfully follow God’s call in Jeremiah 29 to “seek the peace and welfare of the city.” Among the plenary speakers, INFEMIT’s own Ruth Padilla DeBorst spoke on the need for community development practitioners to look beyond their own neighborhoods in order to understand and take responsibility for the ways in which the local and the global are interconnected.
Though CCDA is located in the United States and is primarily focused on neighborhoods, issues, and policies directly related to North America, there has long been a vibrant group engaged in community development beyond U.S. borders. Ruth and INFEMIT assistant, Chris Wilson, met with community development representatives from around the world and CCDA’s Global Connections Committee.
The Global Connections Committee of CCDA exists “to build relationships, network with existing work around the world, learn from Christian community development (CCD) practices in other contexts, and give input into how CCDA can most practically engage overseas.” CCDA representatives in the meeting acknowledged that while the strengths of their association lie in North America, there is much that their member individuals and organizations can learn from the community development work that is taking place in communities in the rest of the world. INFEMIT, as a network of regional fellowships of theologian practitioners, has the opportunity to contribute to future CCDA events the robust theological reflection necessary to sustain their ministry.
Ultimately, INFEMIT’s presence at the national CCDA conference took place through the distribution of theological materials (particularly FTL journals and PRISM magazines), through meeting with strategic leaders on the Global Connections Committee, and especially through Ruth’s reflection on what Jeremiah 29’s call to seek the welfare of the city means in a global context.
INFEMIT looks forward to future collaboration with CCDA members in the United States and globally. Thank you to the organizers and the Global Connections Committee for making international theological engagement a priority for your conference, and for your gracious invitation to INFEMIT!