An editorial to the December edition of Leadership Post
The Holy Eve means the mid-term for ELP Fellows. They are mid-way: three of them already shifted to new jobs, while others are looking for options once their traineeship ends in February 2021. They have been living together in a community in one of the three ELP houses for almost three months. They know each other by now – especially that Brussels is in remote work mode and in quasi-confinement.
What does Christmas tell us about the current state of the European Leadership Programme? Let’s look at the noteworthy details. Clearly, ELP is in its infancy. The Programme is running its 4th Cohort, each of them staying for five months in Brussels. It means ELP has started two years ago. It is yet small but got a truly supportive family around it which nurtures its growth. With the help of our friends, partners and alumni, this current Cohort is running with 14 Fellows. Actually, if we add together the number of mentors, coaches and religious accompanying them, it is almost double in numbers than the Fellows themselves! What a ratio of two educators for a single student, probably Ivy League institutions would envy us!
Not the only thing to envy. In the Advent period, the Fellows had the chance to talk and exchange with Timothy Radcliffe OP, Dominican friar of the English Province, and former Master of the Order of Preachers from 1992 to 2001. He discussed the moral challenges of the Church: “Clearly a big challenge for Christianity is how to remain in contact with the millions of people who look for God but do not come to Church.” Later in the month, John Dardis SJ offered from the Jesuit Curia in Rome a short online exercise for the Fellows. P. Dardis has been a major source of inspiration for the start of ELP, he has launched another great leadership program in Rome, which has also grown tremendously.
As our ELP numbers grow, as the alumni and friends of ELP increase, more and more work needs to be done. The dynamic can take on its own life. 2021 will be also about the sustainability of ELP: how can we ensure for the long term that young professionals can always come and join this Ignatian formation? Not only to have a job, but to discern, to serve and to navigate through the temptations of power in the institutions that can trap so many.
Therefore, ELP and JESC is reinventing in each semester how exactly we walk with the youth, as the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society suggests. It is indeed not as easy as it seems. It does some good to for each to be reminded: ELP is a story of mutual learning. The staff and contributors may learn as much from the life of the Fellows as we try to offer them from our experience to savour. We grow both in discernment and must seek mutual understanding to better navigate the future together.
I am grateful that You – the readers of the Leadership post, the friends of ELP and the supporters of our mission – have been following us this year. I am hopeful that 2021 will give us the chance to change gear for ELP with your presence and help. Brussels Brussels Brussels Brussels Brussels
JESC ELP Manager & Secretary for Leadership
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