Friday, July 13, 2012

Does St John's College Have A Good Future?


Bishop Kelvin Wright gives a very helpful insight into the paths the last day and its major motions took. I comment there. My comment here is we should expect change - real change will take place upon the institution of tino rangatiratanga (sovereignty) over 50% of the SJC Trust Board funds.

Original Post

The answer to the question is definitely "Yes" if we want it to be so. But what do we want as a whole church? What does Tikanga Pakeha want of the College?

I suggest that everyone in our church who cares for the future of St John's College read the following two Taonga reports very, very carefully. This article on the continuing suspension of the St John's College canon. Then this article (with text of motion) on the possibility of dividing the St John's College Trust Board assets in half in order that Maori may exercise tino rangatiratanga (sovereignty) over them.

Here is one scenario about how the future might work out:

at the 2014 General Synod,  it is agreed that Maori exercise that sovereignty signalled in the report/motion linked to above;

that leaves 50% of the resources of the Trust Board for Pakeha and Polynesia to utilise towards their own educational needs, but

from that 50%, St John's College will need to be funded, 

and logically (tino rangatiratanga winning over the concept of the college led by a single principal) Maori will have walked away from the College (it no longer being a key element in their educational planning).

Such a scenario would raise some significant and likely very urgent questions:

what shape and size of College would be wanted? 
what would the cost of the revised College be, and what would the effect of that cost be after it is set aside from the 50%?

It could be that dioceses (i.e. the seven New Zealand dioceses and the Diocese of Polynesia) relinquish some of their sovereignty as regards local education through ministry educators and diocesan programmes of training and commit to utilising the resources of St John's College and send more students there than is currently the case. That would be a good future for the College.

But the questions I ask at the beginning of the post remain. What do we want as a church?

In the meantime, once again as a church, we have made the College something of a political football.

I realise now that while the GS has done some good thinking this past week about various matters, it has been good thinking in terms of the matters immediately before it. Has it done good thinking about the big picture and the long-term future of our life together? Or, has the GS taken further steps towards the dissolution of our life together, both as a three tikanga church and as a comprehensive church?

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