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July 17, 2012


Church of England Commits itself to Continuing Indaba

by Admin

With Indaba there is a really deep listening process that brings back a challenge to us about how we do mission back at home.

On Saturday 7th July the Church of England Synod discussed and commended the World Shaped Mission Report including a commitment to use Continuing Indaba and similar processes to build relationships with the global church at diocesan and parish level.

Christine Wilson, Archdeacon of Chesterfield in the Diocese of Derby spoke of her experience of Continuing Indaba encounters to the Synod.

I have had the privilege of participating in some very fruitful partnership links in a former ministry for 10 years in the Diocese of Chichester. Over the period of time we saw how that development towards mutuality and partnership in the Gospel grew and grew and became extremely fruitful. But I want to speak particularly today about something that gets a mention on page 75 of the report, Indaba.

Last year I had the privilege of being involved in a Continuing Indaba pilot conversation between Derby, Mumbai and New York.  There is something about the quality of engagement that is different to that of a partnership or companion link. In going very intentionally ‘barefoot’ and putting on the shoes of another and walking a mile with them and understanding their mission context. What it is that matters to them in their particular culture, how they do their mission and why?

One of the things that was so interesting about it was the qualitative difference, the relationships were deeper. Sometimes with the partnership links that I had been involved in, relationships don’t get past the point of polite hospitality and friendship. With Indaba there is a really deep listening process that brings back a challenge to us about how we do mission back at home. The Indaba process it is a three way, a triad, so there are three relationships and we look with fresh eyes into each of those encounters. Seeing what God is doing in that place and when they come to look at us waiting for them to speak into our context with a prophetic voice. Asking us the questions that perhaps we need to hear and we don’t hear because we live in it.

The Indaba Process is also a great leveller. There’s a sense that when a bishop is part of a companion link that dynamics are such that some people don’t feel able to speak. But with the Indaba Process as the process goes on every person in the room is heard – their voice is honoured and they get to speak. By the time we got to the end of our Indaba Process, it was the lay women – particularly from Mumbai – who really were on fire and speaking out and it was outstanding what they had to say. This says something about the quality of Indaba.

Whilst I want to affirm the continuing growth through diocesan companion links I also want to say you know we’ve got this wonderful new process that we’re just piloting of really getting deeper and actually beginning to speak to one another across our differences, understand why we have those differences, as we engage with their context and see how it impacts on ours.

So, I just want to give a shout for the Indaba Process.

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