Continuing Indaba offers the Anglican Communion a model for a healthy church living with conflict on many different matters of significance. The model comes from the work of theologians from around the Communion reflecting on the biblical responses to conflict from their context and from the evaluation of the Pilot Conversations where lay and ordained Anglicans tested the model.
Archbishop Paul goes on to say: ‘The Indaba process also encourages genuine conversation across differences. It seeks to build trust and models a way of decision-making that is not confrontational or ‘parliamentary’, rather it emphasises mutual and intense listening to deeply held opinions and a willingness to dig deeper in order to find the shared values that lie at the root of our common faith.’
The potential for Continuing Indaba has been identified by those who have participated in the Pilot Conversations and in the Theological Resource Hubs.
The Continuing Indaba model begins with the biblical emphasis on our relationship with Christ that underpins our relationships within his body. It leads to genuine conversation that energises mission, both locally and globally. The model needs owning and applying in each locality.
This has happened in Hong Kong. Those present at the hub consultation identified 和, ‘He,’ or harmony, as a distinct Chinese insight to guide ‘a way of decision-making that is not confrontational or ‘parliamentary.’’ The Province of Hong Kong used this insight to help their team understand the Pilot Conversation process. They also used the understanding as the basis of a ‘Youth Indaba’ in their province. They were able to hear the concerns of young Anglicans and discern how to respond. They are considering how the Indaba model can be further developed for use within the province and for relationships with neighbouring provinces.
This pattern of moving from theory to action is being repeated in many of the dioceses that participated in the pilot phase of Continuing Indaba.
The Theological Hubs in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, were followed by a Pilot Conversation between three dioceses in the respective Provinces. The teams discovered both immense difference and common life in the Encounter.
During the final facilitated conversation differences were faced and a partnership forged.
Participation in Continuing Indaba resulted in action in the dioceses themselves. In Mbeere (Kenya) the Continuing Indaba model was used to transform a long standing and deep conflict in the region. In addition, the Bishop worked with the Archbishop to use a Baraza/Indaba of bishops of the province to develop a workable programme to develop positive relationships between ethnic groups in the nation in run up to elections.
The Diocese of Saldanha Bay (South Africa) is considering how its consultative process can better reflect Indaba in the consideration of the issues of significance in their context. These are land, ministry, gender and youth.
On a global scale, all three bishops are seeking ways to develop their relationship and model a positive way forward for the Anglican Communion. The Bishop of Ho (Ghana), who represents the Province of West Africa on many Communion wide bodies, is advocating the process of Continuing Indaba.
Other dioceses who participated in Pilot conversations are developing plans to apply Continuing Indaba in their dioceses to encourage common responses to locally significant issues. Those who have participated in Continuing Indaba have discovered a model for application in both local and global contexts.