by Jeremy Sierra
Indaba comes from the Zulu word which means “gathering for purposeful discussion,” and is an initiative from Bishop Andrew Dietsche to foster conversation and relationships among congregations from across the diocese.
Each Indaba team is made of four members. The Trinity team included the Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, Vicar, and parishioners Janet MacMillan, Kudzai Tunduwani, and Samantha Stevens.
Other Parishioners from Trinity came to the gathering in Charlotte’s Place, Trinity’s neighborhood center, to share lunch and to speak about Trinity’s various ministries.
“We wanted our indaba guests to get a good sense of our congregational ministries here,” said Mallonee.
The two groups quickly made connections. Some had never been to Trinity. Others had come to Lower Manhattan when Occupy Wall Street was encamped in Zuccotti Park. The conversation was lively and touched on the genesis of Charlotte’s Place, Occupy, and Trinity’s many ministries and arts programs.
This was the second time the teams had come together. They visited St. Mary’s in October, 2013.
“It was a great weekend,” said Janet MacMillan, “and this has the same energy of jumping in and having a conversation.”
“I was looking forward to coming to Trinity because it’s the other end of the spectrum,” said Michael Attanasio, a member of St. Mary’s, a relatively small congregation, for more than 20 years.
This may be true in some sense, but St. Mary’s is also a vibrant church with many outreach ministries and involved in the local community. Attanasio, for example, is one of many congregants active with a nearby home for people facing emotional or mental issues, driving members to church every Sunday.
All Souls is likewise a small but active and nurturing parish, said the Rev. Frank Morales, Rector of All Souls.
There are many points of connections between the parishes, as well as differences, large and small.
“[Indaba] is setting the stage for dealing with some of the hard issues,” he said. “It’s a basis for dialogue.”
The teams also went on a tour of Trinity and the 9/11 Memorial together, shared several more meals, and attended services at Trinity on Sunday. They will meet again at All Souls in April.