Seeking to Create ‘Vā ’ Spaces as a Means of Fostering a Communal Model of Supervision in a Cross-Cultural Setting

Kamaloni Tu'iono

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

The UCA has declared itself to be a multi-cultural church; there is a need then to explore a cross-cultural model of pastoral supervision which can help Pacific Islander ministers to develop further their competence in their ministries. There is reluctance to acknowledge and address this cross-cultural need, however. It is nevertheless important to put in place a supervision model which can match the demand and expectation for Pacific Island ministers to perform professionally and responsibly as ordained ministers.
The choice has been made not to follow the quantitative approach because of its limitations. Martyn Denscombe argues that in a qualitative paradigm, “reliance on data in the form of words, text…means that it forfeits the possibility of some rigorous and objective form analysis.” Findings rely so much on individual interpretation, rather than a universal system of analysis: comparing and evaluating findings is difficult and there is the possibility of relativism. There is avoidance of focus groups due to not enough ministers for samples and difficulties in getting hard evidence. Nevertheless, this research must rely to a great extent on the experiential knowledge of the researcher and others who not only understand the cultures but also some of the cross-cultural issues. Linguistic understanding allows for fewer mistakes and avoids professional fraud. The research undertaken comprehends discussion from cross-cultural points of view of how to address effectively supervisory issues; it offers an innovative model benefiting both Church and Pacific Island ministers.
Based on discussion of the covenantal relationship in supervision, the project comes up with the ‘communal model’. In this model, cross-culturally issues are discovered and discussed between cross-cultural gaps. The community is gathered; the discussion is communal rather than dealing with the issues in one-to-one bases.
This method is based on the Pacific Island concept known as ‘va’, or sacred space. In this space ‘talanoa’ or dialogue is happening. According to Halapua, “..talanoa lies in the depth of the art of listening. Communication and dialogue in the context of ‘talanoa’ becomes sacramental when quality listening is honoured.” This is the space, the va, where the covenant is built and relationship are formed by both parties.
Doubtless the model requires testing and further discussion with the Pacific Island ministers continuously into the future. However, if the Uniting church is to be true to its declaration of being a multicultural church, the model should be implemented.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Ministry
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Pearson, Clive, Principal Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2022

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