I say that ours is beginning to work, not because we have solved issues or had a breakthrough. The real breakthrough was the breakout from our designated Indaba topic and schedule and agreeing, as an Indaba group to enter into conversation together and to address our own articulated concerns. This is what Indaba should be as I believe it was first offered to us by the Archbishop of Canterbury when, last April, he announced that we would use this process. He said:
We have given these the African name of indaba groups, groups where in traditional African culture, people get together to sort out the problems that affect them all, where everyone has a voice and where there is an attempt to find a common mind or a common story that everyone is able to tell when they go away from it. This is how we approached it. This is what we heard. This is where we arrived as we prayed and thought and talked
So this is what we are doing. I don't know what is happening in all other Indaba groups but I understand that some others have also re-shaped their Indaba process, for the good.
It is true to say also that I have heard a number of people say that they don't like the Indaba process. I suspect that at least some of these are those who are good at speaking in big assemblies; others are missing the opportunity of wooing or whipping up the whole crowd, and still others, sad to say, for whatever reason best known to themselves, would, it appears, be happy to set aside the journey towards mutual understanding in order to precipitate that crisis that some people so desperately seem to want. Yes, want!
For now, for some of us at least, after a hesitant start, Indaba is working. And this is coming from one who, as my friends and colleagues know, hates small group work!
Something else, Indaba may well have something to teach us all in our western cultures in the shaping of our ecclesial lives and even our synodical processes. But then Indaba takes time, time and more time - something we in the west seem to have all too little of.