Friday, July 31, 2009

The difference leadership makes

Our national, three tikanga seminary is the College of St John the Evangelist, situated in Meadowbank, Auckland. Commonly it's known as 'St John's College' or just 'the College'. Confusingly, because of its three tikanga character, it contains within it three constituent colleges, Te Rau Kahikatea (Maori), the College of Polynesia, and the College of the Southern Cross (Pakeha). The last-named has recently installed a new dean, Jim White.

During this year Jim has been working from his position of leadership to introduce some changes to the College. Back on the menu (so to speak) are community lunches (with good hot food). Re-timed is the College weekly eucharist, 11 am on Wednesday's to flow contiguously into lunch. Thus much restored are aspects of student and staff community life whose loss (for various reasons over the past years, mainly due to the complexities of lecture timetables at Auckland university) has been much lamented.

I have been at a meeting at the College these past few days and have been the recipient not only of the new lunch blessings, but also of a brand new approach to hospitality, with the group I was part of treated to a College dinner with staff on Wednesday night. Never has this group been so welcomed and so royally treated in the nine years I have been part of it!

There is more ... the eucharist on Wednesday morning (the second I have attended this year) shows small but significant signs of attention to detail leading to a new standard of consistency with the rubrics of our prayer book. Personally I take much heart from the faithfulness of these services to the contents of our prayer book. (Theological colleges sometimes work on an 'experimental' or 'cutting edge' approach to liturgy which may have its place in the overall scheme of things, but which can confuse ordinands as to what the liturgical standards of their church actually expect of them when in parish ministry!)

These changes illustrate that leadership can make significant difference to an institution. Now, what else in our church needs changing ...?


Anonymous said...

I think you can tell a lot straight away about somebody's theology and approach to ministry from whether he or she habitually prays 'Father ...' or 'God ....'

What about the food in the lectures and classes?


Peter Carrell said...

Hello Anon 1
I think the only food in the lectures and classes is the Word of God, sandwiches not permitted etc ... as for prayers, the service was thoroughly Trinitarian in its prayers!

Anonymous said...

Well, I do hope the Bread of Life is being broken and shared in the lectures. It hasn't always been that way. If it's returning to greater orthodoxy, laus Deo. The test of nutrition is whether one is, well, nourished.

The avoidance (or attentuation of mention) of 'Father' in prayer is one of the hallmarks of contemporary liberalism, and a chilling effect of theological feminism and its critique of 'patriarchy'. It leads to prayers of the most bloodless moralizing kind, essentially an exercise in 'self-improvement' rathere than true intercession - which is exactly what theological liberalism has always been, since the time of Kant.

Jim White said...


I was sent a link to your site. Kind words, thank you.

To your number one Anonymous contributer I can only respond: Christian Praxis and Faith are linked - and not just in the Epistle of James! We are working on being more Christian in our Community praxis and more diligent in our Doctrine ( Religio Dotrina Diligenta). We aren't without error, unfortuntely. Nor would I claim that we are more faithful than those who have gone before.

Still, we find joy ...

Come back soon.

Pax et bonum

Anonymous said...

One does wonder about the level of expectation – that hospitality at a lunch and a reasonable standard of a once-a-week communion service gets you so excited about your national theological college whose purpose is to train ordained ministers! You do not specify what was missing previously from the communion service, but one would have thought that a church-financed theological college would have set the standard of the church’s expectations as a bare minimum.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous
The College of St John the Evangelist has been subject for many years to intense criticism, some of it well informed, some of it relying on dimmed memories of the way things were 20 or 30 years previously.

One of the well informed criticisms has been that "community life" at the College had diminished to a point of impoverishment (largely, it needs to be said, for reasons beyond the College's control re the University of Auckland's timetable). The quality AND quantity of lunches now constitutes signs not only that the College has a renewed determination to enhance community life, but is offering the always welcome inducement of top nosh to draw students and teachers together!

Communion at the College (in my experience) has been of a very good quality, but I think it now of a better quality, of an excellence standard, and I want to offer praise for that, against the background of knowing that the College receives much criticism.

Anonymous said...

Jacobe - gratias tibi ago propter tuum responsum, sed nescio cur verba Latina quasi terminos technicos usus es. Nonne Hebraice Graeceque Spiritus Sanctus locutus est! doctrinam tamen beati Cranmeri sequamur, scilicet modo linguam a populo intellectum semper uti! si tamen hoc significat vos nunc litteras classicas alumnis Collegii discere, magno cum gaudio hunc nuntium accipio!
gratia fortitudoque tecum.
sine nomine1

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anon1
This blog as you have realised is bilingual.
Thank you for the commendation of teaching Latin at our College.
It will be the language that binds our three tikanga together in unity!
Pace vobiscum

Jim White said...

Peter, I should explain that the motto of the College is 'Religio Doctrina Dilegenta.' I did not mean to be obscure.
Oh, what a simple meal can do - when words can only confuse!

Anonymous said...

"Thank you for the commendation of teaching Latin at our College.
It will be the language that binds our three tikanga together in unity!"

Ausgezeichnet! Mein geheime Plaene gelingen! Naechstes Jahr wird das Missale Romanum wiedergeholt werden...

Benedikt XVI

Peter Carrell said...

The introduction of the Missale Romanum to any part of our church would require a revision of our constitution.

That is unlikely to happen by next year :)

liturgy said...

Dear Your Holiness

Guten Morgen. Ich entschuldige mich ich spreche nur ein bischen Deutsch.

On this occasion Peter has not got his canons quite lined up.

Everything from the Missale Romanum may legitimately be used in our church without requiring a revision of our constitution. This is because it satisfies A Form for Ordering the Eucharist which is a formulary of our church.

In the case of the Eucharistic Prayers a slight amendment is required to conform the institution narrative, anamnesis, and epiclesis to NZ wording. If, however, any of your Eucharistic Prayers are authorised in another Anglican province (and I think most essentially are) it can be used as is. Our General Synod deemed our Form for Ordering the Eucharist not flexible enough, so authorised an even more flexible formulary called "An Alternative Form for Ordering the Eucharist."

Prayers for your Year for Priests
on the Feast Day of St John Vianney (you will be pleased to know celebrated throughout our church today)

Fr Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Fr Bosco
How embarrassing not to get my canonical ducks lined up! What will the Pope think of me? No point now in applying for that post of Vicar-General for Canon Law at the Vatican :)

Anonymous said...

"What will the Pope think of me? No point now in applying for that post of Vicar-General for Canon Law at the Vatican :)"

Hab' kein' Angst! 'Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo meam alteram ecclesiam' - in partibus infidelium.

Lieber Bosco! Ach, schoener, schoener Name - ich dachte zuerst, du musstest Salesianer sein! Ein Herz fuer Kinder, nicht wahr? Ich habe leider deine fruehere Blogposts um eine bestimmte Ordination (in partibus infidelium Scotorum australium), und bin zum Schluss gekommen, du seist Mitglied der 'Societas Jesu'!
Jean Vianney? Guter Mensch - fuer ein Franzose - auch ein Kriegsfluechtling. Hmmm...

Paeptsliche Segnungen fuer den Festtag Christi Verherrlichung!

Benedikt XVI
- ausrottend Ketzerei seit 1978!