Adie Brewerton, one of the kaitiaki of the Greenhouse Community in Levin, presented the story of Greenhouse to Synod. You can read more about Greenhouse and their relationship to the diocese and local parish here.
Adie’s involvement in Greenhouse interacted with her Masters studies, which enquired into people’s stories of trauma and marginalisation, and how they find belonging. The Greenhouse community has become a place of belonging for many in the community who have struggled to find it elsewhere, perhaps even those who have struggled to find it in mainstream church.
“We were frustrated by a lack of diversity, so people felt unsafe in our traditional context.” Adie said the kaitiaki wanted to provide a safe environment for these people, who perhaps might have struggled with abuse from the church, the lingering effects of European colonisation, or other marginalising experiences.
For many members of the community, just being able to be present and accepted in a space that is non-judgmental has been fantastic. Adie told the stories of many members, one of whom shared:
“I kind of feel like Greenhouse is totally different to anything I’ve been a part of, and I think that’s why I love it so much, because everything else I’ve been a part of I haven’t really felt a part of.”
Some community members have felt empowered simply through the loving invitation to be served. Adie told Synod members: “through the relaxed nature of Greenhouse gatherings and the love that he has experienced, Tīpene has felt safe enough to let go of stressors in his life. Being asked by kaitiaki what others could do for him was a significant experience for Tīpene: being asked his opinion rather than being told.”
And for others, taking part has marked a growth in their sense of belonging:
“I know I do belong to Greenhouse because I’m getting involved with helping more… I wouldn’t have done anything to start off with, but once I started feeling more at home, more relaxed, and thinking well, no one else is putting their hand up, she did it last week; maybe I’ll put my hand up.”
You can access Adie’s presentation here.