Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hui Post 3: Day Two in Wellington

Peace continues to prevail at the hui. Someone asked me how I was finding it compared to the previous hui. I said it was more enjoyable and less exciting. (There was a bit of edgy tension at the last hui which created a frisson of excitement, and even some sharp debate). There is disagreement and debate occurring here, especially in our small group discussions (which took up the best part of the afternoon), but it is civil, polite discourse as far as I can tell.

Jenny Te Paa got us off to a good start today, sharing her views on what it means to be Anglican, with special reference to the Three Tikanga (i.e. cultural streams) life of our church. For not the first time she raised the question whether it is time to revisit our arrangements. In some groups this call was picked up. In our group I think we accept and support our arrangements, since they are helpful and necessary for development of church life, while simultaneously wishing to have more fellowship between our tikanga.

Fereimi Cama (Dean of Suva Cathedral, Fiji) and Tim Harris (Dean of Bishopdale Theological College, Nelson) also spoke on being Anglican. Both spoke from the heart - a reminder that being Anglican is not just a matter of a well worked out rationale for being so. (Though Tim provided an excellent power point with headings and citations from Cranmer and co which set out a particularly good rationale)!

Others contributed to a lovely panel (Bishop Victoria Matthews, Hone Kaa, Amy Chambers, and Tom Innes) and Sue Burns chaired them and us gently through proceedings, all according to the method known as Respectful Conversation.

The tie in with hermeneutics? Our group work in the afternoon began with 1 Corinthians 12 and, for those who ran out of things to say on that great chapter, continued with Ephesians 4:1-16. After afternoon tea a variety of other NT passages on the church were dispersed to the groups. Engaging with such passages was intended to provoke discussion. I suspect the extent of engagement varied from group to group: Christians do not need the Bible to start a discussion!

But what we found is that we are open to Scripture being at the centre of our discussion, that we can respectfully converse with each other, and that even when we disagree we can eat together in table fellowship.

All this is excellent practice for the third hui on the delicate subject of human sexuality.

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