By Brigitte Te Awe Awe-Bevan and Kerry Davis for Anglican Taonga
Amongst calls being made for the New Zealand flag to remain and a motion for a Bishop's age of retirement overturned, a profound theme threading its way through this year’s [Te Runanganui o Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa - Maori General Synod of Aotearoa/New Zealand] was that the voice of laity be heard in support of its clergy.
For [the Maori Anglican Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand] to grow the Church, laity must step up and take control of the administration side of the Church, freeing clergy up to get on with their core business of worship.
“Minita a Whanau” (Ministry amongst families) and education were key points in strategic planning discussions throughout the weekend which continued on the theme for laity to become involved in supporting clergy in their own wider communities with the Church, recognising the wider [family] of the Church as being its backbone.
Archbishop William Brown Turei chaired [the General Synod] with humility and wisdom providing guidance and impetus throughout the programme.
Ms Amohaere Haukamo, a guest panellist tasked with facilitating discussion on the vision and aspirations of the Maori Anglican Church, commented that the need for clarity of purpose was simply yet brilliantly summed up in Archbishop Turei’s message of “having the sacred duty to be bearers of Good News” (“ki te mau Te Rongopai ki te iwi, ki ngā hapū, ki nga whānau o Aotearoa”).
Ms Haukamo indicated that with clear purpose and direction the Church will progress with common intent and consistency stating “the people will see that consistency, and from that confidence will be gained from those to whom you are taking that message.”
Dr Rosemary Dewerse also urged the conference to be steadfast in collating and keeping alive the stories of their ancestors who, inspired by the scriptures, brought the gospel to their people and transformed Aotearoa/New Zealand.
While looking at the past towards the present and in to the future, youth also enthusiastically commented on how they saw the proceedings of the conference, and the future of the Church. When asked her views on the conference, [North Auckland youth representative] Kerira Tapene stated: “It’s cool to see how decisions are made and what the processes are.”
Maori General Synod of Aotearoa/New Zealand
Te Runanganui o Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa – the Maori General Synod of Aotearoa/New Zealand encompasses five regional Hui Amorangi (Dioceses) located across New Zealand, and meets biennially. One hundred and sixty delegates, observers and guests attended the 2015 meeting, which was hosted by Te Hui Amorangi o Te Upoko o Te Ika (Diocese encompassing the central and lower western region of the North Island).
General Synod welcome sessions | Summary of General Synod business