Raising awareness of the benefits diversity, to bring a team closer together.

Post 09-2 - Dragon Boat
On 1st September, I welcomed a team of 6 women and 4 men from the World Communion of Reformed Churches: a truly diverse group that represents six nationalities, experienced living in a few dozen countries, and advocates for environmental and economic justice around the globe.

I was very pleased to have had the opportunity to design and to conduct a one and a half-day workshop that shall strengthen team spirit, advance collaboration, and allows the group to further excel in their pursued for social justice.

In the afternoon of this beautiful late summer evening, we met the team at their offices in Hanover. After an introduction and short worship, to set the stage for what was there to come, we strolled over to Hanover’s Maschsee. What they found here was Helm, a professional paddler and the sweep (steerer) of one of Hanover’s dragon boat crews. Traditionally made in the Pearl River Delta region of China's southern Guangdong Province out of teak wood, the boats on the shore of the lake were made for competitive purposes out of carbon fiber.

Helm introduced us to 10 of his team mates, explained the history of dragon boats, before we ourselves had the honor to find a position in the vessel. Lined up between professional paddlers, we might have been slightly overwhelmed at first, but after a few words of caution, we managed to move the boat away from the landing stage and into the warm water of the Maschsee.

Much to our surprise, though with some initial hiccups, it felt as we were moving swift and sound through the waters. Not until we raced against another dragon boat and had to realize that there was much to learn. Blind trust and confidence in each other’s performance is inevitable to compete in dragon boats, where the goal is clear.

What if we were all to agree that striving for social justice is the wider goal? Would we also allow ourselves to have faith in one another?