Listening to laity

We gather again in the ‘Upper Room’ at the Cathedral. There are about 60 of us: Lay leaders, leaders of the Mothers Union, the Anglican Women’s Fellowship, the Anglican Men’s Fellowship, and the Guilds.

I ask someone about the Guilds. ‘What are they?’ I want to know. Uncertainty constitutes the reply. As best as I can figure, they are folk beyond the extended dates used to define youth, and not yet of the Mothers Union variety. Maybe adults in their 30s and 40s, I’m guessing.

Fr. Amanze organizes them all into groups to discuss particular questions we have posed. Things like: What do you consider that you and other lay leaders in the Diocese need most to increase your effectiveness? On what subjects do you as lay leaders especially need further training? What training do you who are church group leaders need to increase your effectiveness? What form should this training take?

Having small groups report back is usually a nightmare for me. There seems always to be someone who talks far beyond her allotted time, or someone who yields to the temptation to say what he thinks rather than what the group said. And the rest of us often seem bored except when our group is reporting.

And so I am pleasantly surprised at the efficiency with which Batswana report. One, two, three; here are our key points. They hand me well-organized sheets of newsprint to post. ‘Does anyone in our group have anything to add?’ their presenter asks. ‘Are there additions anyone wishes to make?’

Done.