Some of the women gathered for the 2012 Women in Ministry provincial hui, which is being held at St John's College in Ak.
Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also... The treasure chest that is the visual centrepiece of the women's hui.
The Rev Jenny Quince walks the hui delegates through some of the highlights - and low points - of the 1970s.
Kamana Katene, Kahu Tapiata, Betsy Gifford and Fa'asega Tapelu consider a presentation.
Anne Purcell (foreground) Jane Beattie (centre) and Dorothy Smith listen during a small group session.
The Rev Sarah Moss, who's the chaplain at Auckland's Dio school, reports some of the findings of 'The Noughties' - the 2000's group.
Young Ihaia Simmonds chews over the deeper implications of the hui. That's his mum Hinekura behind him.
Shona Pink-Martin enjoys a lighter moment at the hui.
Here's the good news, says Jacynthia Murphy - if runanganui resolutions are anything to go by, the next Maori bishop could be a woman.
Rosemary Neave - who led the session of The Listening Process - also led a spontaneous rendition of: "Keep on walking forward!"
Recently departed, and dearly missed - one of the Tikanga Pacifica visitors chose to honour her mum.
More treasure - and the desire to honour the first two Maori bishops, Frederick Bennett and his successor, Wiremu Panapa.
Tiny, exquisite, Chinese children's shoes - and a wish to honour multi-faith Aotearoa New Zealand.
More than 100 women have gathered at St John’s College for this year’s Women in Ministry provincial hui.
They’re meeting beneath a banner that proclaims:Treasuring Women in Ministry and at the centre of their deliberations is – quite literally – a treasure chest.
It’s an ancient leather suitcase, in fact, full of emblems that evoke memories of folk held dear, of causes to honour or uphold, and of milestones reached on the road to the emancipation of women’s ministry, lay and ordained.
This is the second such women’s provincial hui – they’re organised by the Centre for Anglican Women’s Studies (CAWS) – and judging by the numbers who have shown up, this is an idea which has got traction.
Traction as a three tikanga event, too, with a good contingent of women from the Pacific Islands. And it’s mark of their valuing of the occasion that they politely turned down the Centre’s offer of financial support, and fundraised to get to Auckland under their own steam.
Treasuring Women in Ministry is a three-day hui and Carole Hughes, who is both the Convenor of CAWS and Archdeacon of Auckland Central, kicked things off with an exercise that was both an icebreaker, and a sometimes poignant reminder of the road that women in ministry have come down.
She got the women to organise themselves into groups, each defined by the decade that was pivotal for them.
The older women, for example, mostly met in the 1960s group – and after exchanging their experiences, they reported back to the plenary about the first moves away from hats-in-church and debutant balls to ministry.
The Rev Jenny Quince – who is one of the pillars upholding The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Khyber Pass – spoke for the 1970s group. She reflected on the emergence of strong role models for women, such as Mira Szazsy, Eva Rickard, Whina Cooper, Marilyn Waring, Elizabeth Murchie and Puti Murray.
Jenny's remarks were moving, too, because she briefly told of being a divorced young solo mum, way back then – who was drummed out of Mother’s Union on account of her status.
The Rev Jenny Chalmers gathered up the reflections of the 1980s group, and she reminded us of the social upheavals of that decade – the Springbok Tour, Homosexual Law Reform, Rogernomics – and of how, culturally speaking, everything seemed to change in that decade.
As far as Jenny and her group were concerned, that was the time when women “became aware of political and social power.”
The 1990s folk remembered the birth of the Three Tikanga church, the birth of inclusive language in the new Prayer Book, and of the general “possibility of women being taken seriously.”
As you’d expect, there were enough women for whom the years post 2000 were key to form two or three groups.
They spoke of a “sense of fulfilment” – and a sense of stepping into an inheritance won for them by older women.
And the Rev Jacynthia Murphy reminded the hui of a resolution passed, without dissent, at the 2011 runanganui – that “Kahui Wahine… strongly encourages the election of a woman to the Episcopate when the next vacancy occurs in Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa.”
If you were judging simply by that timeline exercise, you might get the idea that these women were mostly looking over their shoulders, and that there's nothing much now left to do.
So, just to set the record straight, as soon as that first session was over, Rosemary Neave jumped to her feet and led a rousing chorus called: Keep on walking forward!
Then it was down to business, and the first of eight hui sessions, each led by a keynote speaker.
Jenny Te Paa led the opening session, and the moot there was Pioneering Women.
The second session was a highlight, too, this time featuring Beverley Reeves (yes, that’s Lady Beverley) delivering a personal, fiesty and, at times, downright funny reflection on the theme: Women of Golden Years.
Thursday's sessions were on Urban Mission (led by Karen Morrison-Hume); Controversial Issues in Women’s Health (led by Mere Wallace, Isabel Mordecai and Numia Tomoana); The Listening Process (Rosemary Neave) and, in the evening, there was a session called Pacifica Speaks – which was introduced by The Rev Amy Chambers, Sepi Hala’api’api and Mele Prescott.
The hui wraps up on Friday afternoon, with a reflecting and visioning session led by Dean Jo Kelly-Moore – and a reinspection, in the light of what’s been heard and shared, of the contents of that treasure chest.
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