NEW! Message from Our Board of Directors

In Word and Witness: The Work Continues

 

Greetings of peace in this New Year,

As we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord this past Sunday, our psalm proclaimed both the majesty and faithfulness of God: “O bless the Lord, my soul!” (Ps 104) The psalmist reminds us that all of creation is a result of God’s goodness and that as God sends forth the Holy Spirit, renewal occurs. As your board, we continue to keep these promises at the center of the work we are undertaking as we grapple with the realities of In Word and Witness and prayerfully discern how to best move forward.

In our last communication, we disclosed the untenable financial position of In Word and Witness. These circumstances were identified after careful review of our operations over the course of several months after the board’s installation. It is important to know that the state of the organization is not due to negligence or malfeasance, but due to the global challenges currently facing Catholic ministries across the nation including a pandemic, general disaffiliation, declining memberships, and competition for limited resources. Our task, in the spirit of Gaudium et Spes, has been to scrutinize the signs of the times and understand the dramatic and dynamic characteristics of the world in which we minister.

The decision to disestablish In Word and Witness has not come without deep and difficult conversations centered in prayer. It was unanimously discerned by the board that this final step of disestablishment is necessary in the life of the organization. During our last meeting, we reflected upon how those of us in lay ecclesial ministry are often simultaneously called to be Hospice workers and midwives. As Hospice workers, we accompany to honorable closure and a “good death.” As midwives, we accompany through labor as new things are brought to life. This is where we, as a board, feel our work now lies for In Word and Witness. We will continue to meet regularly and accompany the organization as we labor to both honor the legacy of over eighty-eight years of work in the vineyard and to witness to God doing something new in this time and space.

We want to share with you the following updates that are a result of our ongoing commitment to the organization:

  • Although In Word and Witness will disestablish its operations over the course of the year, we are actively seeking a Catholic partner to carry on the legacy of the organization. The Executive Committee of the Board is currently speaking with leaders in Catholic ministries, organizations, and institutions. We are committed to finding a new home for the mission and ministry of catechesis in the United States. Please pray for this endeavor.
  • All memberships for In Word and Witness are extended and will remain active until June 30, 2022. This will allow members to access our website resources for the next six months.
  • Board members Heidi Witte and Sr. Teresa Maya have resigned their positions on the Board of Directors, not in protest of this decision but because the task ahead requires more time and effort than life circumstances allow. We are profoundly thankful for their grace and wisdom in journeying with us to this point.
  • Gustavo Rodriguez has been added to the Board. Formerly a high school theology teacher and campus minister, Gustavo serves as the Director for Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Austin, Texas
  • During our December Board meeting, we discerned the status of the Federation of Catholic Hispanics (FCH) in our organization. In order to allow FCH more autonomy without being tied to In Word and Witness through the disestablishment process, we will not grant official status to the organization. This will give FCH more control of their mission in the changing landscape of the Catholic Church.

Despite the unexpected loss and deep sorrow that we are experiencing, our faith gives us hope that this story ends well. Throughout this process, we invite you to continue to “bless the Lord” with us, focusing on the goodness and majesty of God and the multitude of blessings that have been bestowed upon In Word and Witness, as God continues to renew all things. We continue to hold all of you and the good work that you do in prayer and ask that you do the same for us.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us by email at: boardchair@inwordandwitness.org

Sincerely yours in Christ,
In Word and Witness Board of Directors