Exciting times ahead by Aaro Rytkonen

Facebook is reminding you always about different anniversaries. This spring I have been reminded many times about my and my family’s time in the US in spring 2017. Four years ago I was in a deep learning curve to get to know supporting churches in the US as well as the work of Al Amana Centre. I was full of energy and enthusiasm about the organization I was appointed to lead as I felt it is my dream job. And it has been over the last years. I have been asked many times how it has been possible for Al Amana Centre to grow and have more impact in the field of peace and reconciliation; in the field of interfaith encounters and intercultural immersion. I have always answered that it has been simple. Our mission is clear and very much needed in today’s world full of division, misunderstanding and mistrust. Over the past years we have increased the number of our staff, the number of our partners and the number of our collaboration contexts. And simultaneously we have kept our strong connections with the Reformed Church in America as well as many new strategic partners around the globe.

Even the pandemic has been an opportunity for us to learn more and develop new approaches. We have introduced “Al Amana State of Mind”. While the legacy of the American Mission in the Sultanate of Oman is guiding us and making us unique, not all of our staff needs to be in Oman. We have consultants, volunteers and interns working for us and with us around the globe. This is also behind my decision to transit back to Finland. I am currently in the process of settling down in Finland but continuing to work with Al Amana Centre as well as with FELM Finland. I am grateful for the Board of Al Amana Centre for their visionary leadership here. As it is not possible for me to take care of the day-to-day leadership and management of the Centre, we have created a position where I can be of more help for the Center and its mission. As Al Amana Centre’s Director of Strategic Planning, Development and Partnerships I will concentrate on developing our programs, our partnerships with donors, partner organisations, supporting churches etc. I am very excited about this change and have already found myself in so many important discussions. I am thankful for all of your prayers accompanying me in this transition and grateful for God that we can continue our path together towards peace and reconciliation. I am also thankful for my colleague and friend Justin taking over the overall leadership of Al Amana Centre. 

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