A further reflection arising from our happy synod in Greymouth, but this time in digestible size sentences.
Our diocese feels very cohesive, and has done for a long time. What has contributed to this feeling? I imagine if I asked various people I would get different answers, but here are my list of contributions (in no particular order of importance):
- management and administration: for a long time we have had very sound management of our finances, good stewardship of all our resources, and a very happy administration staff in our Anglican Centre;
- communication: while acknowledging that we could do better in some aspects of communication, we communicate a lot of news and views through our website, bi-monthly magazine, monthly ad clerum, and ad hoc circulated emails - most of the time most people know what is going on, and why;
- team work: in my experience of two bishops, 1993-present, we have had episcopal leadership worked out via judicious appointments to the bishop's staff, and a series of relevant and effective permanent committees or ad hoc working groups, and, further, in most of our parishes good leadership has been expressed through staff teams and vestries;
- pastoral care: we have had pretty good pastoral care of our leaders - not perfect, for sure, but in ways which, necessarily, are sometimes hidden, our leaders have often found the diocese going the extra mile;
- shared goals: while differing in various ways over theology and worship styles, we all want our parishes to be healthy, dynamic expressions of the body of Christ, we all understand the importance of a missional approach to achieve these goals in this particular age, and we all understand the fact that change and adaptation may be necessary if we are to be effective in our mission.
Oh, and we have had some great bishops sowing vision and joy amongst us!