eNews – September 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Welcome to the September 2015 edition of enews

What’s passionfruit got to do with it?

Executive Director Rev Dr Jenny Byrnes draws on a teenage experience in the UK to understand the value of placing oneself in an open learning environment where perspectives from various points of view are shared and interrogated. 

Interrogating reality sounds like an aggressive approach to life. My understanding is that it means not passively allowing life to happen around us, rather to be curious and inquisitive.

Whilst living in England in my teenage years my family received a crate of passionfruit (like a food parcel!) from friends in Australia. My mother offered some to a nearby neighbour encouraging her to use the pulp to flavour the icing the neighbour was preparing for a soon-to-be-made cake. On enquiring some days later how the neighbour had found the taste and delight of passionfruit my mother was told that “the flavour was okay but the preparation of removing all the seeds from the pulp had made the experience labour-intensive and less than enjoyable!”

Why did that crucial piece of information escape notice – that we eat the seeds!

I have always thought the lesson behind this humorous experience was something about the clashing of realities or the need to interrogate reality at a greater depth. How could each have known where the gaps were in this communication – what was not understood, what questions were left unasked, what assumptions were made, and so on and so forth.

The only way I can think to interrogate reality without making false or biased assumptions is to place myself in an open learning environment – where opinions, insights, knowledge, perspectives from various points of view are shared and interrogated. This learning environment might be in a book group, or a bible study, it may be in a classroom or a workshop, through discussion groups or reading.

However it happens, staying in the learning space so we can continually grow and have ideas, assumptions, insights and knowledge tested is part of a vital and healthy life.

Remember the passionfruit story and make sure you interrogate reality so you get to enjoy the whole taste of life.



Rohan’s reflection

Rohan Pryor reflects on the big issues of leadership, learning and education in the church in the wake of the 14th triennial Assembly of the Uniting Church.

We are children of a loving God, members of a family that includes the marginalised and powerless, a community that challenges injustice or inherited privilege, and shares power as well as love.

Read the story here



And on leadership…

The Centre for Theology & Ministry’s Living Leadership team will be presenting our Spring 2015 Living Leadership Intensive in October and November, which is an opportunity to build capacity, insight and resilience in leadership through participation, by yourself or with other team members, in a six-day intensive that will inspire and inform.

Visit the event page for details and to register



Stellar speakers at September symposium

The CTM’s 11 September Children & Spirituality Symposium is an event for anyone – chaplains, RE teachers, Christian educators, ministers/pastors, children & families ministry leaders – willing to be stretched in both their undergirding theological understanding and actual practice of ministry engagement with children.

Children and Families Ministry Co-ordinator Chris Barnett has put together another huge program, which features Pilgrim Theological College’s Rev Dr John Flett, Dr Larissa McLean Davies, the Deputy Director (Learning and Teaching), Melbourne Graduate School of Education (University of Melbourne), and Beth Barnett, Learning and Theological Engagement, Victorian Council of Christian Education.

Visit the event page for details and to register



Thoughts on 40 Developmental Assets

Adrian Greenwood reflects on the recent Thriving: Resilience and 40 Developmental Assets Training workshop where keynote speaker, Andrew Fuller, director of Resilient Youth Australia, presented Australian youth data collected through developmental assets surveys. Adrian writes that unsurprisingly, the Australian research shows that kids thrive when they are safe, happy, empowered, and belong. Belonging is seen as vital for youth finding resilience and transforming their communities. Happily, providing belonging is also something we are well equipped to do as a church.

Read the story here.



Farewell Lauren

We farewell our friend and colleague Lauren Mosso, Ethical Standards Officer from the Safety and Culture Unit based out of our building in Parkville. Lauren has accepted a call as Pastoral Care Co-ordinator and Senior Chaplain at Epworth Hospital from 14 September.



Parking change

Regular visitors to the Centre for Theology & Ministry please note that on 1 October we’ll be changing the access code to our car park, so please contact Lorrayne at reception to reserve a visitor parking space should one be available for your visit. See this page for details on parking at the Centre for Theology & Ministry.

Upcoming Events


4 Living Leadership 2015 Masterclass: DiSC, Leadership, Crisis and Change
11 Children & Spirituality Symposium
15-18 The Fundamentals of Transition Ministry
19 Artist Network gathering – Ilka White
23 Cafe praxis
24 Discernment, Selection and Formation



6 Messy Faith Sticky Church
6-11 National Youth Ministry Convention
7,14, 21 Oct
& Nov 11,18
Intentional Interim Ministry
7-9 Oct
& 4-6 Nov
Spring 2015 Living Leadership Intensive
17 Artist Network gathering – Caught in the Moment Exhibition Launch
17 – 10 Dec Caught in the Moment Exhibition
19-23 Intentional Interim Ministry
26 Finding Your Own Voice Workshop with Val Webb
28 Cafe praxis




Messy Faith, Sticky Church

Many leaders and their faith communities are seeking to be more intentional in their ministry engagement with young people. As more and more churches embrace the philosophy and practice of intergenerational ministry, whilst at the same time acknowledging the importance of generational ministry, fresh challenges need to be addressed and our Messy Faith, Sticky Church workshop featuring Brad Griffin and Judyth Roberts will encourage, energise and equip you to meet these challenges!

Visit the event page for details and to register



Caught in the Moment exhibition launch

The moment freezes one fragment of time, but also invites us to explore the wider context of before and after, past and future, now and not yet. Popular culture advises us to “be in the moment” yet Thomas Merton claims “we live in the fullness of time.” Artists will explore and express the tensions and freedoms of being caught between chronos and Kairos in a diverse range of visual media.

Artists of the VicTas Art and Spirituality Network present their second group exhibition, Caught in the Moment, which will be launched on 17 October. The exhibition will be opened by Rev Dr Anne Mallaby, Lecturer in Pastoral Studies at Whitley College.

Visit the event page for details and to RSVP for the opening

The exhibition will run…

17 October to 10 December 2015
The Centre for Theology & Ministry
29 College Cres., Parkville VIC 3052

22 January to 17 February 2016
Warrnambool Uniting Church
115 Koroit St, Warrnambool VIC 3280




Pilgrim Open Day

Thinking of studying theology for fun, out or interest, or as the foundation to a career in Ministry or within the church?

20 October 2015 is Pilgrim Theological College Open Day. We’re throwing open the doors and you’re invited to come and visit our college and experience the Pilgrim difference, which in 2016 will include 30 new units. Open Day is free to attend and you’ll experience sample lectures, meet faculty and admissions staff and enjoy light refreshments.

Visit the Pilgrim website for details
Facebook users can register to attend here



Val Webb CTM-Bound

Internationally recognised speaker Dr Val Webb is presenting a workshop on October 26. Finding your Own Voice is an ideal chance to discover your own voice within your unique context and experience, and to network with other lay people and local leaders.

Visit the event page for details and to register



Book Club borrowing made easy

The Otira Theological Book Club section of our site has been upgraded and allows easy borrowing for UCA groups. Simply click on a title of interest, read the synopsis and click the ‘borrow’ button to send us an email.

You can also let other people in your book group know about titles of interest by emailing them directly from the page, or share details about the book on Facebook if your group has a Facebook page.

Visit the Otira Book Club page