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September 18, 2013

Essence of Indaba

by Admin

These reflections on Indaba were initiated by The Most Rev Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town and a member of the Lambeth Conference Design Group. They outline the spirit of Indaba.

Indaba is a Zulu word for a gathering for purposeful discussion. It is both a process and a method of engagement as we listen to one another concerning challenges that face our community and, by extension, the Anglican Communion.

An Indaba first and foremost acknowledges that there are issues that need to be addressed effectively to foster on-going communal living. Originally, in the Zulu context, these might be stock theft or poor service delivery, but in the case of the Anglican Communion it might be questions related to the way we handle the Bible, sexuality, post colonialism, autonomy concerns and our many missional challenges. It is these issues that need to be “brought to the table”.

In Indaba, we must be aware of these challenges (issues) without immediately trying to resolve them one way or the other. We meet and converse, ensuring that everybody has a voice, and contributes (in our case, praying that it might be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) and that the issues at hand are fully defined and understood by all.

The purpose of the discussion is to find out the deeper convergences that might hold people together in difference, and come to a deeper understanding of the topic or issue discussed. This will be achieved by seeking to understand exactly the thinking behind positions other than my own.

Cautions, Indaba works best when participants do not go into the discussion with a hidden agenda nor a prior solution. When you bring the issues, others add with their own voice and a greater truth is revealed; in the process people grow, learn and understand not only the issue, but each other.

For Indaba to work, Indaba on day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, etc. must be seen as interrelated, even if their themes differ. The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.

At the end of each Indaba session the discussion will be summarised, seeking to honour each of the different voices that have been heard. These written summaries will help to shape the communications coming out of the Lambeth Conference.

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