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The Mutual Exchange and Encounter for Transformation (MEET) Programme offers a variety of exciting opportunities for students at Queen’s to gain experiences in understanding our place in a Global Church. The following principles undergird all the opportunities offered:
- Mutuality or reciprocity. The MEET programme is about more than theological tourism. It is about partnership. This requires all concerned to share the experiences as both hosts and guests.
- Learning and formation. The primary purpose for any visit offered under the MEET programme is to learn and be formed. Encounter is where what is unfamiliar and strange becomes the means for deep reflection. Such reflection can expose deep vulnerabilities, demanding resilience, and therefore requires both preparation, support and ongoing reflection after the encounter.
- Learning for transformation. Bringing the learning home, discovering what we have to learn for our setting, brings the demanding and difficult task of cross-cultural learning, contextualisation, along with humility and openness to receive from the other. The profound experience of encountering oneself as ‘other’ can open new vistas for formation, one that cannot remain individual, or ‘private’ to the group that has shared it.
MEET opportunities available:
- Theological College of Lanka, Pilimathalawa, Sri Lanka
Theological College of Lanka, Pilimathalawa, Sri Lanka is a small college of about thirty students set in the hills around Kandy, the spiritual capital of Sri Lanka. The opportunity for students to live, study and engage with theological education in the Global South offers a rich experience for reflection. The TCL exchange would particularly appeal to students preparing for formal ministry in the Centre for Ministerial Formation. It will involve a small group of students from Queen’s, living and studying with students preparing from ministry for all the mainline Churches in Sri Lanka. We anticipate the group will be accompanied by staff.
- Ecumenical experiences in Rome
This programme is arranged and coordinated through the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome in collaboration with the Anglican Centre and the Waldensian Faculty. It offers a wide range of experiences in a short period, including attendance at a Papal Audience and engagement with the church’s work among migrants and refugees in the city.
- Jerusalem and the West Bank
Working with Volunteers in Mission based in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Volunteers in Mission is a well-established programme aimed primarily at US Christians and provides an excellent framework for serious engagement with the issues faced by the residents in the region. Most of the time will be spent with Palestinians and it will include a period of work and residence in a West Bank community. This real-life encounter will be supported by theological reflection on the wider context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is arranged and coordinated through the Methodist Liaison Office, based in south Jerusalem in collaboration with ecumenical partners.
- Corrymeela Community, Co Antrim
The Corrymeela Community was founded in 1965 to be an open Christian community committed to living out reconciliation. It draws people to work and engage in programmes from across the world and has developed a range of models of conflict transformation. Students can arrange to volunteer at any time of year, or may wish to go in pairs. The Community asks for a commitment of at least two weeks – and preferably three – to allow relationships to develop sufficiently. Volunteers are involved in all aspects of the work of the Centre at Ballycastle, including helping to host and facilitate group work.