Anglicans in the bar

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.”



9 thoughts on “Anglicans in the bar

  1. I can understand that “youth alienation” is a worth while subject to address. Within our Church the youth are niticable by their absence. Why is it that we as a Church seem to have lost touch with our own children. I try to encourage my children to come to Church with me, one (the youngest) does, the other two say that Church is boring. And it does not seem to matter which service book is being used, they say that both the BCP and the bas are boring.

    Seems to me that the bas experiment has failed. Does the BCP represent any hope of attracting our children back into our Churches? I hate to admit it, but most likely not. So what is the solution? Do we need to “think outside the box”? Will this mean a “redical departure” from “traditional” (as represented by the BCP) or “evolving” (as represented by the bas) forms of Anglican Worship?

    One idea for discusion:
    Have a Sunday afternoon service, perhaps at about 4:00 pm. Use contemporary English and contemporary music. Perhaps have the service structured to be more interactive, instead of a sermon have a group discussion about the Holy Bible readings, and allow the discussion to flow more freely.

  2. When my children lived at home they knew as long as they lived here they attended church with us. They also attended a youth group by their own choice on Friday nights. They also had a close relationship of their own with God, Jesus.
    They now have children of their own and still attend a church.
    Now a days there are so many other things being offered on a Sunday morning.
    The “Meeting house” still has sermons, they have a number of young people attending.

    Perhaps the answer is praying for our children to come into that personal relationship with God, then they will want to spend time with Him.

  3. Most churches look at “youth” as a necessary part of their congregational moasic. The problem is that most churches really don’t like the chaos that exuberant youth brings into their highly controlled space.
    Sucessful churches understand that the mission of the church is faith development and, in my opinion, the most needy group is youth. If a parish consistently nutures its youth, really listens to what they are saying and makes resources available for youth, the kids will stay. Otherwise -bye, bye!

  4. My church is awesome and my children look forward to attending the service.

    The 11:15 service has a worship band, dress is casual, the sermons are always meaningful and relevant and service is on overheads and there are never any handout that you have to fumble through during the service. We have an active and lively church-school program that engages young people and doesn’t shunt them off to a corner to do yet another meaningless craft.

    During the week there is a myriad of small group ministries including a tween youth program on Tuesday evening and a teen program on Wednesday. Moms and dads are active in both. The ladies group meets on Friday nights and the men’s group meets Saturday mornings. There are bible studies, outreach opportunities, prayer groups, books clubs, music ministry, etc.

    My church is a place people want to be because it enriches their lives and it includes children in parish life.

    You wonder why I drive by 5 Anglican churches to go to mine? Meaningful worship, relevant preaching, engaging and welcoming hospitality that is family friendly. To many of our churches are first rate bbboooorrriiiinnnggggg. My kids would rather watch paint dry than put up with some of the nonsense we spoonfeed people at church.

    The Rev John Westerhoff asks “will our children have faith.” The answer is simple – not unless we provide something meaningful and engaging that respect them as people and finds an appropriate place for them in the life of the parish.

    My church is growning – it’s no coincidence.

  5. Eph
    Just curious but if you are so happy in your life in the ACoC, why do you seek to spend so much time with those that you have no respect for in ANiC?
    Post after post after post -it seems more than passing strange to this beat up old pilgrim.

  6. Three reasons I like coming here:
    1) It helps strengthen my faith
    2) You folks are lively and engaging and I enjoy discussing all things Christian with you
    3) To defend and dispell myths you have of the ACC

    Thanks for asking

    • Well. You could show number two by taking it easy on the insults and stereotypes you throw about regularly.

      #3 – I’d been part of the ACoC 43 years, as opposed to your 18 months or so. I think I have a pretty accurate picture of what’s going on, thanks.

  7. 7

    With respect to your faith, good for you. This is indeed a place to encounter faithful servants.
    God talk is always good.
    However, most of the writers to this Blog have had a lifetime of service in the ACoC. Unless you can tell us that the ACoC is renouncing its rush to apostacy, you add nothing new.

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