Sorry, I meant indaba. Rowan Williams introduced indaba groups into Lambeth 2008. Indaba purports to be “a gathering for purposeful discussion”. What it is when practised by Anglicans is a gathering aimed at building relationships, particularly with those with whom one disagrees. In order to do this, you have, at all costs, to avoid “purposeful discussion” for fear of damaging the relationship.
Consequently, at Lambeth 2008, no-one really argued, nothing was decided and nothing was achieved. Moreover, the relationships that emerged were the emasculated affectations that you would expect from a gathering of people who lack the conviction that if a proposition is true, its negation must be false.
The Diocese of Toronto, undeterred by the fact that they don’t work, is still using indaba groups:
Anglicans from the Diocese of Toronto who participated in the Anglican Communion’s one-year indaba process believe it can have a transforming effect upon the church if it is used more broadly.
The Diocese of Toronto participated with Jamaica and Hong Kong in three eight-day meetings that took place in Toronto in May, 2011, Hong Kong last September and Jamaica this February. There were three topics for discussion: social justice and advocacy, youth alienation and homosexuality. An important part of the meetings was immersion in the life of the host diocese, so that participants could understand the context for decision-making.
Mr. Graves notes that it’s tempting when people think differently from the way we do to let them go their own way. When he has thoughts like that, he looks at a photograph in his office that was taken of all the indaba participants in Hong Kong.
“The easy answer is to have a divorce,” he says. “But when you’ve built relationships with people, that’s not so easy. I look at those people and ask, ‘Can I do without that person in my life?’ and I don’t believe I can.”