The first item on the agenda at this year's Tikanga Youth Synod – which is in full swing in Auckland's Henderson Valley this weekend – was the welcome for and commissioning of the new T3YC Youth Commissioner, Jax (Jacqueline) Clark.
Jax, duly welcomed, had a gift she wanted to bestow on the synod.
It was a framed photograph…
Of a road sign.
That sign has symbolic value, she reckons.
A couple of weeks ago, after her first day in her new job, Jax was snarled up in peak hour traffic – Auckland traffic had been particularly horrendous that day – when she noticed the road sign over the lane next to hers.
Cars and buses were whizzing along that lane.
That free-flowing lane, of course, is the T3 lane.
And Jax took that as a metaphor, a sign from the Lord even, that when the three tikanga truly mesh, things move. They flourish.
"If we choose to take that journey together," she told last evening's gathering, "I think we'll find we have a lot more movement.
"While being able to preserve our own uniqueness, as tikanga and as individuals.
"That's a picture I've been reflecting on – and asking the Lord about. It's something that He's put on my heart in this work that I find myself in. I hope that's a journey we can take together."
Jax Clark, who has a Bachelor's degree in Applied Theology, and has had many years' experience in youth ministry and in community organising, is a member of St George's Epsom – and we'll aim to introduce her properly in the next issue of Taonga mag.
TYS18 began last evening at Carey Park, Henderson, and runs through till early afternoon tomorrow.
Much of today's business is in the form of a general synod – with the aim of training up the 50 odd delegates so that when the opportunity knocks for some of their number, theyll be equipped to advocate for youth in the main decision-making forum of the church.
The TYS representatives are debating concerns that were first aired at last year's TYS – about youth representation at General Synod, and about the dismal level of awareness of mental health issues in our society, including amongst clergy and lay leaders.
Those concerns will be further thrashed through during today, and tomorrow afternoon T3 Youth Commission will distil what they've heard into motions which will be submitted to the General Synod.