8 Principals of Indaba – Diocese of Derby
Following their participation in the Pilot Conversation phase, the Diocese of Derby have developed principles of encounter to share the Indaba process more widely in the Diocese.
Indaba isn’t just an opportunity to recognise our diversity but to recognise that we
actually NEED each other across all our communities.- Cath Hollywell, Diocese of Derby
The following are the eight insights or principals that the Diocese of Derby’s Indaba team gained from their involvement in the Continuing Indaba Pilot Conversation
Principle one – Key to Indaba is each delegates desire to be apart of the process – For maximum value one cannot be ‘forced’ into indaba – a person must ‘want’ to be in the process – this is vital when the process becomes difficult and painful. A participant needs to be willing to ‘give’ themselves to the process ‘intentionally’ – there should be a degree of surrender through the process – a closed mind or absolute dedication to an entrenched position weakens the conversation. Delegates are of course entitled to strongly held beliefs – but an openness to the possibility that the Spirit of God could speak through others is crucial.
Principle two – Although Indaba provides a framework (the formal questions) through which to dialogue – the whole process is relationship (rather than task) driven. It’s very ‘human’ in that throughout the process it causes human encounter to be pre-eminent. Simple acts of eating, sleeping, travelling, studying and sharing common experiences together have a powerful bonding effect.
Principle 3: A multi-party participation (for us a tripartite engagement) is a vital principle of avoiding an adversarial experience. ‘Many voices’ not only enrich the conversation but frees the dynamics to be more conducive to harmony. The multi-layered conversation is also a vital ingredient – conversations were not just between the three invited delegations but also within the delegations there were very meaningful Indaba conversations as difference was explored.
Principle 4: the combination of hard & soft dialogue helped to keep the agenda moving forward – the formal dialogues forced engagement with the hard to name issues – the informal dialogues created space for clarification, healing, etc …
Principle 5: the aphorism “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes” is very relevant to indaba – rather than just ‘learning about’ another context the value of indaba is to ‘live’ another person’s context – this enables a deeper understanding of the pressures, influences and demands which have caused a person to shape their opinions in a certain way. Learning comes from listening, watching, experiencing and sharing with others.
Principle 6: Time is an important element in Indaba – the repeated centrifugal – centripetal rhythm of Indaba which throws participants together in intense encounter and then gives space for them to reflect and form comment in the safety of their own environments helps to create a more thorough dialogue – participants are granted the space to allow their thinking to evolve and change outside of the cauldron of a formal conversation.
Principle 7: Using the Lambeth Lectio proved a useful tool to allow study of the scriptures that enabled people to learn through listening. The scriptures could teach and speak through the ‘lens’ of others. Rather than a traditional interrogation of the text where participants tell others what the scriptures say – Lectio goes some way to allowing the Spirit to speak through the text using the words and perspectives of others to illuminate insights overlooked by a more traditional approach.
Principle 8: Indaba is not mediation – it does not ‘necessarily’ have to deliver a ‘solution to a problem’ – the process enables true ‘qualitative’ understanding in all parties – through that better understanding and shared bond solutions are discovered in the light of new thinking patterns. People change their minds in the light of new perspectives. If long-lasting solutions are not immediately found a greater respect exists in order to enable parties to live together more easily in the tension of difference.
For indaba to work – a person needs to want to share with others, different from themselves, in committed open relationship over an extended time period around an issue or issues that everyone is prepared to deeply explore formally and informally, however uncomfortable that may be, in contexts and surrounds that may or may not be familiar to themselves whilst holding open the willingness for the Spirit of God to bring new revelation and understanding to them (which may be different from their currently held view) through worship, study and encounter, the by-product of which may be the resolution of a specific issue or problem, but the net-product will always be increased dignity, respect and understanding that will allow a greater freedom to live together in the tension of difference!! Phew!