Continuing Indaba affirmed as Anglican Communion process
An initiative to enable mission by strengthening relationships between parishes, dioceses and provinces has been celebrated by participants and evaluators as “an important tool” and “wonderful gift” for the Anglican Communion.
Continuing Indaba, an official ministry of the Communion, has, for three years, been promoting cross-provincial/diocesan dialogue, visits and the production of theological resources aimed at supporting the process of enabling “conversation across difference”.
The Anglican Communion states: “Indaba is a Zulu word describing a community process for discernment on matters of significance. Such processes are common throughout Africa, Asia, the Pacific islands and the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Their aim is to further community life, not to solve issues.”
THE FISCAL TREATY
The passing of the Fiscal Treaty in the Republic of Ireland’s referendum last week came as a relief to the coalition government and to the EU centrally. Yet, in many ways it seemed to mark a clear but reluctant acceptance of policy that undoubtedly has far-reaching consequences. Among politicians, commentators and analysts, there had been division of opinion as to the best way forward for the country in its deep economic problems; that division, with all the complexity of the issues, seems to have been reflected in a certain social polarisation. Most likely, it was fear of being without a European fiscal safety net, at a clearly difficult time for the economy, that drove more people to vote in favour, rather than any great love for EU centralisation or external fiscal control. On the ‘No’ side there was anger at the taxpayer having to shoulder the heavy burden of so much bank debt, as well as real concern about continuing austerity making it difficult for the country to recover financially.
It is, however, a welcome development in the whole eurozone crisis, especially following the fresh emphases brought to the situation by the new French President, François Hollande, that the fiscal focus has broadened from that of necessary austerity alone to a concomitant recognition of the importance of enabling growth. Cutting back too much endangers any real prospect of growing the economy, because growth requires investment and investment is not helped by having a population at large that has less and less money to spend. Getting out of this ‘vicious circle’ requires a careful balancing of fiscal policies if both recessionary and inflationary trends are to be avoided.
The Church must be greatly concerned by any policy developments that cause hardship. Many people in Ireland today are in seriously adverse financial circumstances while, by contrast, many who contributed to the economic crisis remain well off. While the Church of Ireland does have its financial challenges, as the Representative Church Body report made clear at the recent General Synod, we truly dare not neglect those, both within the Church and beyond its confines, who are at the hardest receiving end of these harsh financial times, many of whom have had to say farewell to sons and daughters leaving home and country to find work elsewhere. The Church’s response will mean not only giving pastoral support where it is needed but also speaking out for those who are sensing real frustration and hopelessness.
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