On Monday I participated in a hui of local Christians, called by our local ecumenical network Te Raranga. Our focus was on bicultural relations. It was an absorbing day through powhiri, mihi and korero (personal welcome, personal speeches introducing ourselves, discussion). (A highlight was the mihi of our local Destiny Church pastor, who powerfully reminded us that, whatever we think of the recent Brian Tamaki statement connecting quakes with God's judgment, Destiny is having a powerful impact on the lives of Maori men.)
Our witness to the world as a city was a powerful theme of the day in the context of Maori and Pakeha speaking about what has broken in our Treaty-founded relationships in the past and what can be repaired. Christians in Christchurch are relating well together. Churches are working together. (Not perfectly, room for improvement!) Unity between churches and across cultures is a witness to the gospel of reconciliation.
Is this our time to speak to the heart of Aotearoa NZ in order to foster unity over division? Is this our nation's time to speak to the Trump/Brexit world about human unity rather than division?
Someone observed that we are not in an era of change but in a time of change of era. Will our world divide and fracture or reunite and heal? The gospel drives us in only one of those directions!
As a group we do not know what our next step will be but we are listening to Wairua Tapu (Holy Spirit).
A plea, to local Anglicans reading this. There was only one Anglican present at this hui ... could we find a little bit more energy for ecumenical engagement?