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Team and Board come together at CESE’s annual evaluation meeting

 

2022 was the year that CESE officially returned to in-person activities.  After two years of online working, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team returned to the office and, little by little, revived its in-person and direct exchange of experiences with the groups the organization supports, with churches and with many other partners in the struggle.

A lot of activities were undertaken over the year and CESE was present on many fronts.  To analyse the year’s results and challenges, and set out expectations for 2023, on 12 December, the CESE team and its Board met for the organization’s annual evaluation.

As she welcomed the entire team to the evaluation, CESE’s Executive Director, Sônia Mota, noted the presence of the institution’s board.  “We have always relied on the participation of our board, which has supported us with its attentive eye and its readings, comments and prayers, as well as providing spiritual support, which serves us in our daily lives,” she declared.

The last four years have been notable for the number of attacks on the social movements, on the structures of democracy and on any and every person or institution connected to the defence of rights.  Given this, the day began with an analysis of the political situation, where everyone discussed the impacts of these events on the organization and the churches.

One of the first activities was a video containing a retrospective of facts that marked the year in Brazil and, particularly, the organization’s daily activities.  This exhibition of the year’s activities culminated in a presentation of the organization’s main lines of action: Dialogue and Networking; Training; Mobilizing Support; Projects; Communications; Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue; and Management.

A total of 372 initiatives were helped through Support to Small Projects, benefitting tens of thousands of families.  Training has become an increasingly important tool aligned to the projects service and we counted a total of 19 Training Sessions, which took the team and some of the groups to Manaus and Brasilia, as well as Salvador.

Training for the urban, rural, black, indigenous, quilombola, extractivist, youth and other sector movements, involved 200 organizations and ensured majority participation by women and the black population.

CESE’s presence was also felt in the areas of Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue.  A number of mobilizing support activities took place, in response to the troubled political situation that has taken over the country in the last four years, with highlights being the Ecumenical and Inter-religious Tapiri and the Act for the Martyrs of the Amazon Rainforest, both of which took place at the 10th Pan-Amazonian Social Forum (Fórum Social Pan-Amazônico: FOSPA) in Belém (Pará).

In addition to this, CESE ran the Ecumenical Caravan in solidarity with the Guarani and Kaiowá, in Mato Grosso do Sul; the Spring for Life Campaign, with participation from black female activist Benild Brito, journalist Magali Cunha and theologian Leonardo Boff; the Living Memorial, an inter-religious act paying homage to victims of COVID-19; and Ubuntu Day, a symbolic act of solidarity with the African-origin worship house Terreito Ilê Axé Toalegi in Salvador.

The meeting closed with an invitation for all present to participate in a devotional moment, an ecumenical advent – the liturgical period of the arrival of Jesus.  In the midst of the celebration, as the whole team gave good wishes – of health, peace, joy, knowledge, faith and resistance – for next year, CESE’s Vice President Eleni Rangel led a prayer of hope and resistance for the time of Advent, written by Cecilia Castillo Nanjarí.

“May God, in his immense mercy, lovingly embrace and sustain us.

May Jesus, in his boundless fraternity, accompany us each day in our commitment to life.

May the Holy Spirit, with its divine breath, inspire us with determination and wisdom, as we seek dignity for every living being.

We go forward in hope lovingly.

We go forward in hope fraternally.

We go forward in hope persistently.

We go forward in hope wisely.

WE GO FORWARD!”

We go forward strong, firm and resistant. We go forward in hope!

Until 2023!