Ioane Vito Hall in Newtown resounded with the voices of 180 Samoan leaders singing joyfully as they welcomed Archbishop John Dew to their gathering last month. The occasion gave Archbishop John, Frs Maleko and Mauola, Sr Pesio Iosefo, and Lorraine McArthur, the opportunity to explain the journey to Pentecost Synod 2006 and to invite their full participation in the process.
‘As leaders you are salt and light in your communities,’ Archbishop John explained. ‘Not everyone can come to the synod, but I want to hear from as many people as possible. That is why I am asking you to take part in the interview process which allows us to reflect on what is best in our archdiocese and to continue to build on it, and then to go out and interview the groups for whom you have responsibility.’
It was a wonderful morning, the hall abuzz with conversation as people in the various groups told their stories, some in Samoan, some in English, all of them rich in experience and meaning.
At the end of the morning, during the closing liturgy, Archbishop John, visibly moved by their support of him, and their commitment to the synod process, invited all to take the light they had been given, out into their communities, to be a ‘freeing, healing presence’ in the world.