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From our Canon Chaplain

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

In the early 1970's, I attended a conference at the University of Leicester in England organised by what was then known as the Christian Teamwork Institute of Education. The theme of the conference was Leadership in Groups. The experience was, to say the least, odd. The conference was designed to bring about experiential learning of how groups and their leadership function in relation to one another. This was done by allowing the participants to create their own groups and systems for interaction and inter-communication. We ended up with large groups, small groups and what were called inter-groups - these designed to bring about systems of representation and delegation that would communicate between the other types of groups. The outcome of all this was deeply significant and not a little alarming. The alarming part was that we discovered that no matter how sophisticated the systems of interaction and inter-communication between groups were (representatives, delegates, and plenipotentiaries) the resulting interaction was negligible.

Apparently, the groups preferred to develop, at different levels, a life of their own and were not interested in their relationship with other groups. The most disturbing discovery in all this was that a large group - made up of representatives from smaller groups - was unable to relate back to its constituent small groups most of what it did. They simply weren't interested in what their representatives sought to bring back and often barely recognized them any more - more concerned about their own life than that of the larger group to which they were related through representation.

While what I have described was a somewhat rarefied experiment, it nevertheless raises some interesting questions about how we operate within the church community when concerned with interaction and inter-communication between our various groupings. Perhaps we might look afresh at the dynamics operating between vestries and congregations, between congregations and convocations/dioceses, and more recently between the church as a whole and its General Convention.

Just a thought !

Good wishes and blessings,

JOHN