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South Pacific Zone of Mothers Union: visioning workshop


The Rev’d Canon Libbie Crossman tells us about the recent ‘MULOA: Mother’s Union Listening, Observing and Acting’ visioning workshop, where a framework was developed following “a mix of prayer, worship and Bible study”

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Mother’s Union Provincial Presidents from almost all Anglican Provinces around the world recently gathered north of Dublin, Ireland, along with the Mother’s Union Worldwide Trustee Board representatives to plan for the future of our organisation following the approval by the Worldwide Council of an updated constitution.

Over five days, we formulated a visioning and planning document and trialled it. The name chosen for the survey strategy was MULOA: Mother’s Union Listening, Observing and Acting. Following this meeting, Zonal Trustees from around the world were asked to gather together representatives from all the Dioceses in their Provinces and train them to use the survey materials in their own Dioceses. It was hoped that at least 10 percent of all members worldwide would be given the opportunity to have input into the survey.

In April 2019 the last of the MULOA workshops for the South Pacific Zone was held at St Andrew’s, Indooroopilly for eleven members from Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands who had been unable to attend the workshop held at St John’s College, University of Queensland in January.

Almost 70 members met in Auckland last August to be trained to go out and survey their members. This second round of meetings was to give feedback on the meetings they had held in the previous months.

Although the time frame was short and considering the vast distances to be covered in the South Pacific Zone, which covers the Anglican Provinces of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Australia, Melanesia and Papua New Guinea, surveys were conducted in Mothers Union branches in both rural and urban areas.

With a mix of prayer, worship and Bible study, the eleven members worked through three basic questions that had previously been asked of the branches they had visited:

  1. Whom do we seek to touch, or should we be seeking to touch and what influences them? Some of the responses were: our members and their families, prisoners and their families, aid donors’ clergy and members of the church, street youth, perpetrators of domestic violence, the police and health workers.
  2. What differences are we/could we be making? Responses included, enhancing relationships, implementing initiatives to reduce violence in homes and community, increased community awareness of the work we are prepared to do, better interaction between the churches and the clergy.
  1. How do we/could we effectively make a difference? Responses included learning to listen to others effectively; skills training; parenting courses; recognising that men, women, children and youth are working partners.

We worked in small groups, individually and in plenary session. The group had already seen both the framework that they prepared in Auckland and the revised framework from the January meeting. Their task at this meeting was to spend time in answering these three questions and seeing what was missing or needed to be enlarged.

This was felt to be particularly important as the January meeting had members mainly from Australia and New Zealand and the January groups and the facilitators felt that it was important that different cultural voices need to be heard.

The original facilitators, The Rev’d Bronwyn Pagram from St John’s Cathedral, Mrs Tagolyn Kabekabe, the South Pacific Co-ordinator for Anglican Alliance based in Solomon Islands and The Rev’d Canon Libbie Crossman, the South Pacific Zone Trustee, led the first two sessions. At the workshop at Indooroopilly the facilitators were The Rev’d Canon Libbie Crossman and Mrs Margaret Coombs from All Saints’ Parish, Chermside who had been present at the previous workshops.

At the end of two long days, we had managed to edit the framework to the satisfaction of all participants. From this workshop the framework will join the frameworks prepared by members in the other ten zones around the world. Provincial presidents from around the world and the Trustee Board will meet as Worldwide Council in Kigali, Rwanda in early June and will complete the task of deciding a global strategy for the 21st century.

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