This is Part 3 --- [ Part 1 | Part 2 ]
QUESTIONS OF STRUCTURE:
The main point made at the start was that our Church is mainly rural and at the moment the women in the rural areas are the ones who miss out on the services of the MU and any resources that are available. Any change in structure should be aimed at making sure all branches, rural and urban are cared for.
M.U. And the Church:
- MU is an organisation within the Church and is therefore under the authority of the Canons of the Church and responsible to the Bishop, the Diocesan Council and the Synod of the dioceses. They are not independent and need to consult before acting. Their independence only means that they are independent from other National MU groups (England and Australia) and can make their own rules and plans. But they are not independent from the Church and clearly come under local Church authority.
- The present way of running the MU at both a National and Diocesan level is ineffective and cannot possibly work. The Church is too large and too rural for it to have any chance of being successful. The present system was brought over from England and Australia and those models are just not workable here in PNG. What others do should not dictate how we do things here though we can learn from their successes and failures.
- The whole of the National Church is going through some major changes in its structures and strategies and the MU must be a part of those. It should not isolate itself from what is happening and should not carry out any renewal and restructuring apart from the wider picture. This means that at all levels of renewal, the wider Church needs to have an involvement.
- Some Proposals that were looked at:
- It was agreed that the National Executive of the MU be made up of the Diocesan Presidents coming together as a group. One of these would then be elected the National President.
(Note: It is important to understand what the role of the National President is in a small and spread out Church like ours here in PNG. Our Archbishop is the Head of the Church and at the same time carries out his normal episcopal ministries, only acting as Archbishop when there is a need. The MU national president can easily follow the same model, especially seeing the enormous expenses involved in having a President running round the country. We cannot afford that now so she really has no effective fulltime role)
- On a Diocesan level, the Diocese could be broken down into smaller areas and these areas meet together and have an area representative. These representatives come together to form the Diocesan Executive.
- The national headquarters should be located in a place which is the best economically, keeping in mind the needs of the most isolated areas as well as the urban areas. Its location should also keep in mind the movements of the wider Church and where it is placing its pastoral resources.
- What training resources are needed?
- There is a need for some fulltime workers to be involved in the producing of resources and for the carrying out of training within the Province. Having one person would not be enough.
- There is a need for the creating, drawing up, publishing and sending out training materials, discussion materials and a wide range of teaching and study materials to our groups. Without this there is little possibility of growth and change.
- The MU needs to tie itself more directly into the pastoral renewal of the wider Church and to make sure it is not duplicating processes and resources. They should also make full use of what is already happening and being produced.
- There needs to be a greater emphasis on the use of Pidgin and the local languages rather than English all the time.
- We need to remember that resources need to be able to delivered to the rural areas as well.
FINAL GENERAL DISCUSSION AND COMMENTS:
- There has to be more accountability from the MU for all monies that come into it, especially from overseas. This should first of all go through the National Office in Lae and be entered into the accounting system before being distributed widely. This would place it under the same procedures as the rest of the Church and provide some external auditing and supervision. All accounts remain in the name of the MU but the auditing comes under the Church.
- There should be no changes in the MU until the review is carried out. This means projects such as the employing of a fulltime worker, secretarial staff, equipment and so on should all be put on hold until the future shape and work of the MU is clearer.
- The MU, through the Diocesan Presidents, National President and the National Chaplain, will work with AusAid in the drawing up and carrying out of a renewal programme aimed at achieving the hopes expressed in the above minutes. This will be funded by AusAid and will be an ongoing project. Consultation across the Province will be carried out at all stages.
- The proposed Provincial Jubilee celebrations have been cancelled and in its place the Dioceses are encouraged to carry out individual Diocesan celebrations.
- To help with this a liturgy will be drawn up so that all branches and groups across the Church will be celebrating the same prayers and liturgies.
- Any monies raised and collected during the Jubilee celebrations will be put together into the one national account and used for renewal programmes and for all matters relating to the renewal of the MU nationally. Envelopes will be drawn up and circulated for this purpose but also other monies collected and all offerings made should also be put into this one fund.
- The Jubilee should not just focus on a celebration of the past but should be something that stirs people up to renewing for the future as well. Therefore some kind of renewal, at a Diocesan level, should be included in the celebrations. Where possible this should be coordinated between dioceses.