Structures, institutions, have been instrumental in preventing the building up of the church of the poor. Oppressive, sinful structures. At times they have been carelessly set up because leaders do not know any better. Most of the times they have been set up in order to perpetuate the hold on power by the privileged few.
There have been attempts to remove these structures. More often these were bloody. These were met with resistance. Or tragically, the old structures were removed only to give way to more oppressive structures having disguised themselves in the name of good intentions. Power really corrupts.
There is an alternative way. The way that Christ has lived with his apostles. A way of life that has forsaken the lure of power. A way of life open to the will of the Father. A way of life that is poor in order to be free. Free to love, free to serve, free to do the bidding of God.
This is the way of the small caring group, the basic ecclesial communities. It is not a structure but a way of life from the underbelly of society. It is about the little children, the least, the last and the lost, who have given themselves the power and the dignity to be themselves, creatures of God, loved by God, no matter what.
In order for a way of life to flourish, there should be a common understanding of the foundations, pillars and directions to be taken by the members of the community. The Basic Ecclesial Community is built on the solid foundation of Christ crucified, Christ who is poor, and we who have chosen to enter into a loving relationship with Him. The 5 pillars are Koinonia, Leitourgia, Kerygma, Diakonia, Church of the Poor. The directions or stages of growth of each member and the whole BEC as well are Members, Disciples, Ministers, Missionaries, Prayer Leaders and Servant Leaders. These are taken from church documents and scriptures. These have been reflected upon in order for the church to be continually built up.
What about the input of the community? There is reciprocity. Spiral growth as it were. These concepts are enfleshed by the members through prayers, reflections, activities. They are deepened and given new realities as the community journeys and reflects with Christ who is poor.
We will be starting with 16 Basic Ecclesial Communities. This will be the main priority of the parish. All the activities, all the ministries and organisations will be in support of the creation, formation, strengthening of the base communities. All the formation programs, the liturgical celebrations will be geared towards the training and empowerment of the leaders of the base communities. Structures exist and will be made to exist in order to support these base communities. In short, structures are there to support a way of life. A life of justice, service and love.