Base Christian Communities and Team Enrichment
The weekly team enrichment program has the following components: studying scripture from a liberation perspective and studying tools for transformation. In addition, educating ourselves in the area of human rights issues and participating in actions resulting from this study.
The founders of LEFSA, Sr. Teresa Skehan and Sr. Dorothy Gallant, took inspiration for LEFSA from the grassroots movements of liberation theology that were taking place in South America, called Base Christian Communities. The first name of LEFSA was actually Life and Faith Sharing Movement in City Shelters.
The Elements of Base Christian Community consist of:
- The Reality of the People—the social, economic, religious and political context in which people find themselves;
- The Bible—life’s situations are reflected upon in the light of God’s Word;
- The Community—the agent that brings the reality of people’s lives and the Word of God together;
- Mission/Action—what actions can we take as a faith community so that God’s values can be realized in the Universe?
This has become the groundwork for how LEFSA thinks about the community, the importance of hearing people’s voices and opinions, the decision making process, and how gatherings are conducted.
Currently, Team Enrichment, which takes place every Wednesday afternoon, has grown into a community of its own. Every week, around 30 participants attend the group. That is in addition to our weekly shelter gatherings and monthly groups. We collect feedback from people on what a theme for the day means to them and how they practiced and experienced it in their lives. We also talk about some of the things that they would like to discuss and ask others to do presentations. For example, Mount St. Vincent nursing students have done health presentations for us, and we had someone come to talk about resources in the community and financial management.
But we also talk about things such as encouragement and forgiveness, for example. We ask why those things are important and how they manifest themselves in people’s lives. We also talk about how we can deal with obstacles and struggles. We then ask what some of the tools are that each of us uses so that we can share that knowledge with others in the group.
LEFSA is an empowerment ministry, and by hearing each other’s experiences and being heard, we all work on empowering each other.