Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

An end to “hair curling” questions?

The church is taking steps to polish up its act as a hirer and firer.

Lloyd Ashton  |  11 May 2010

The church intends to polish up its act as a hirer and firer.

That’s the gist of a resolution this morning, which calls for all dioceses and hui amorangi to aim for ‘best practice’ when they employ staff, or extend Bishop’s letters of offer to clergy.

And the General Synod will support the production of a national paehere tangata/people (human resources) package to meet the needs of churches and pariha in this area.

Archbishop David Moxon said the church had an “uneven” knowledge of how human rights and privacy law affected the church, and that unintentional breaches of the law were common.

Questions, for example, about whether a woman intended to have more children, may be asked innocently, but are a clear breach of the law.

The church needed not only to lift its awareness of the present laws, said Archbishop David, “it needs to aim to be a sought-after employer.”

But it’s not a mere matter of doing a workplace audit, said Archbishop David.

There are significant theological reasons for aiming to do better, and he briefly sketched some of those for the synod.

“Work is sacred,” he said. “The labourer is worthy of his hire; we are made in the image of God; every hair on our heads has been counted.”

Graeme Elvin (Waiapu) said such a resource “would be an incredibly useful” not just to the church, but would “extend the church’s relevance” to people in the marketplace.

The Rev Helen Wilderspin (Dunedin) said she’d been involved in convening a number of Boards of Nomination for clergy appoints.

All had been successfully concluded, she said, but some of the questions she’d heard “had made my hair curl.

“But I have not had the basis to say: ‘No. we cannot ask that question.’”

The motion was passed unanimously.