Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Wednesday Morning

The seats we sit in from 8.30 am until 9pm are good for about 45 minutes. After that they encourage getting up and moving about. Thankfully, every hour an a half there is tea and fruit and cake and a chance to stand around, but what with the constant air conditioning and the oversupply of calories I have needed to be disciplined. So it's up at six and a long walk before shower, breakfast and silence, which hasn't left much time for blogging.

In the couple of days since I was last here a lot has happened. Apart from all the usual stuff, the memorable debates have been:

The Tikanga Toru Youth Commission made their presentation, which was remarkable for containing, for the first time I can remember in an address from a national church youth body, a practicable plan for increasing the profile and presence of young people in the church. The strategy is aimed at those who actually hold gate keeping positions in churches - eg me - and is based around mentoring and permission giving presented under the headings of 3 t shirt sized slogans - Make The First Move; Every Moment is the Right Moment; Because it Matters - the plan struck me for its obviousness ( the mark of all truly great ideas ). I will post a link to the website when I have a sophisticated enough connection.

The report on St Johns College was presented with great thoroughness by Bishop Kito Pikaahu and discussed separately by each Tikanga. No decision has been reached yet on the future shape of the college. St Johns is the one place in our church where all the diverse streams meet in real community, but the diversity which is the college's greatest gift also provides a source of tension and misunderstanding. How do we maintain all that is good about the Meadowbank campus while ensuring the integrity of Maori, Pakeha and Pasifika perspectives? My own hope is that we won't rush into a decision and allow another couple of years for the present commissioner to complete the excellent work she has begun.

Glyn Cardy's motion requesting an examination of the theology and practice of marriage was presented and passed. This provided the first opportunity for the discussion on human sexuality which we have all been anticipating and dreading. This was therefore the chance for the airing of opposing views on the place of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people in the church. On the "liberal" side, the opening address by Glyn was superb, as was that from Tim Mora on the "conservative" side. Some of the speakers spoke most movingly of their personal experience, including Bishop Api Qilio, whose son is gay. Reconciling his love for his son with the teachings of his church has lead Bishop Api to becoming chair of an organization for Gay and Lesbian Fijians. The motion was passed by a a large majority because regardless of people's stand on the issue of the place of GLBT in the church, there is widespread agreement on the need to reevaluate the issue of marriage. The sexuality issue has, incidentally, been of great interest to the Fijian media, and also to the police who have been regularly, though discreetly present at several of our sessions.

3 comments:

Elaine Dent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elaine Dent said...

Grateful that discussions on human sexuality are thoughtful and well presented. In our corner of the church, it has been the personal stories that have been so powerful. Have to admit that I was amused and a bit baffled by the discreet presence of the police. Were they just curious or did they expect a scene or something? Blessings as your meeting continues.

VenDr said...

Elaine, this is Fiji.