Indaba at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
The 2008 Lambeth Conference was described by the Archbishop of Canterbury as an ‘Indaba,’ which was described to the bishops as ‘a gathering for purposeful discussion.’
Those asked by the Archbishop to organise the conference understood the whole event to be an Indaba. They were clear about the need to establish the common ground of commitment to Christ in order for there to be safe ground for the bishops present to speak the truth to one another in love.
The Conference was preceded by Bishops from the provinces of England, Scotland Ireland and Wales offering hospitality to bishops from around the world. The Conference itself began with the bishops meditating on the Scriptures in retreat, and every day started with worship and Bible study. The common reading of the Bible and participation in worship gave a very clear definition of the community within which difficult questions could be raised.
The Bishops met in the same small group of about 8 to study John’s Gospel and it was with that group of 8 that they met with typically 5 other groups of 8 for a discussion of the role of ‘the Bishop in Mission’ in the diversity of the Anglican Communion. These groups were referred to as ‘Indaba Groups,’ but they were designed to be a part of the whole Indaba culminating in the moving final service.
Ian Douglas, one of the members of the design process, has published a report on his reflection in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. It is reprinted with permission of both the publication and author.