Tuesday, May 11, 2010

General Synod (Tuesday)

4am alarm. 4.45am shuttle pick up. 5.20 am new (he tells me) driver struggles to sort visa payment. Will not name the company. Grace.

Redeye to Auckland takes off, 5.40 am; lands 7.00 am. Just before time to board plane to Gisborne, told delay due to fog. About 8.30 am plane takes off. Pilot tells us we may not be able to land. Is that responsible? Why not wait in Auckland. Will not name company. Grace.

Beautiful view of Rotorua, lakes around it, top of Tarawera, bushclad Ureweras, and fog covering the bush and farmland near Gisborne like cotton wool. Not a good sign. Wheels come down. Plane flies on downwards angle towards tarmac. Plane flies in upwards angle towards sky. Circle round. And round. Then down again towards tarmac. Repeat above sequence, but this time fly to Napier instead of circling. Land safely. Wander round airport. Plane refuels. Back on plane around 11.20 am. Told that if we cannot land in Gisborne we will return to Auckland. Groan. Cross-fingers.

Landed. Arrive at GS in the Emerald Hotel. Debate on resource sharing between Maori and Pakeha. Maori want to establish twelve stipendiary ministry positions. Can it be done? Probably. With careful and creative accountancy. Cost factor: Pakeha share of trust funds remain stable or even reduce? Time will tell, during which a commission will meet and come back with recommendations.

Have missed motions on liturgical matters. Seems like most if not all things have gone through. Need to check the minutes.

What to say about what else I heard from the floor of synod? How honest can I be? That’s the thing, the honesty of General Synod, its willingness to say the truth, to confront error, and poor performance, is in doubt. On one matter the media were asked to leave. I cannot report on that. Grace.

So let’s take another tack. Here are some table talk questions about our life together as Anglicans in these fair islands: if funding came from our parishes and not from our trust funds, what things would survive the scrutiny of parishioners? If they asked questions like, Is this helpful for our mission and ministry in this local community? What would survive? Would what our theological colleges and ministry educators offer [YES, that includes me and my work]? TORU (a three tikanga youth initiative)? Social Justice Commission? Various other commissions on things such as “Treaty and Partnership”?

It is not that our church and its parishes/rohe are not interested in these things. It is just that how they might want to do training or youth work or social justice might lead to different ways of funding such work it they were in the driving seat.

Should General Synod be a place where sharp questions are asked with more persistency, and more honesty?

But as it stands our GS has the amazing opportunity to say, "We have X million dollars for which we not accountable to parishioners (though we are to trust deeds, and trust boards), how shall we determine policy and priorities in spending it?"

But it is good to meet people, old friends and making new ones. Grace.

The new Archbishop of Polynesia will be announced tomorrow. Timely. The Diocese of Polynesia seems very quiet without its helmsman.

This time tomorrow night should be able to report on major debate of Wednesday: restructuring the governance and management of St John’s College.


Brother David said...

Are you flying back and forth daily?

That would not help my fear of flying. I prefer luxury bus line (trust me they are not that luxurious here) or train.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David
Definitely not daily!
The mountainous geography of NZ in general, and Gisborne in particular means that we tend to fly when in other countries one might take the bus or train.

Still Looking said...

actually, the request was not for 12 stipends. that was an example, and reveals the need to ask the big question of "what do you really want? what are you seeking here?

And yes all the liturgy stuff got through unscathed.