AMPJP Executive Officer’s report on June 2021

30 June 2021 by

The musical Hamilton covers some themes that I see as very relevant to Ministerial PJPs.

The musical covers Alexander Hamilton’s role in the foundation of the USA.

After the American war of independence, securing long-term peace and prosperity required wide-spread support for a virtually untried form of government called “republic”. People were familiar with monarchy – it had an administrative simplicity, recognisable symbols/myths and was respected by other Nations. Hamilton wrote 51 essays to convince Americans that the proposed US Constitution should be adopted. He had to counter those who wanted a very different model and those who were prepared to see a reasonable compromise fail because it didn’t contain everything they wanted.

As first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton had to design and win support for a national banking system. Again, he had to convince people to change from the status quo. Some States were reluctant to work with a Federal bank – especially if it took on some of their roles.

The musical also covers the time when the first President, George Washington, surprises many by announcing his retirement after serving eight years. Some had expected that Washington would have stayed for life – that’s what they were used to from monarchy. Some wondered if the new generation of leaders could lead as successfully. Some worried that the whole republic could fail if it had a poor leader.

It struck me that many MPJPs have the same struggles. They are advocating a model that is unfamiliar to most, where there are many possible structures/ways of operating – none of which  are perfect, where even supporters have different expectations, and where detractors look for evidence of failure. Along the way leaders change and people’s confidence and vision needs to be reassured.

All of which reminded me of Newman’s prayer to God in uncertain times.

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom

          Lead Thou me on!

The night is dark, and I am far from home—

          Lead Thou me on!

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene—one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou

          Shouldst lead me on.

I loved to choose and see my path, but now

          Lead Thou me on!

I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,

Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still

          Will lead me on,

O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till

          The night is gone;

And with the morn those angel faces smile

Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

by John Henry Newman (1833) – Declared a Saint by Pope Francis on 13 October 2019
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Featured image: courtesy of Lyric Theatre, Sydney