…”where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them…” Matthew 18:20.
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 was that the voice of laity be heard in support of its clergy.
For Te Pihopatanga 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” 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 whānau of the Church as being its backbone.
Archbishop Brown Turei chaired Te Runanganui 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 the purpose of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa was simply yet brilliantly summed up in Archbishop Brown’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.
While looking at the past towards the present and in to the future, rangatahi (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, Taitokerau rangatahi (North Auckland youth representative) Kerira Tapene stated: “It’s cool to see how decisions are made and what the processes are.”