eNews – May 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

Give your heart and soul and brain an opportunity to notice something different

By Executive Director Rev Dr Jenny Byrnes

Thousands upon thousands of pieces of information/stimulation flood our brains hour by hour, minute by minute. However, our brain only has the capacity to ‘take on board’ a small percentage of all that is available to us.

Not so surprising is our tendency or habit to ‘take on board’ the things that reinforce our previous patterns of thinking and experiencing. Like doing a jig-saw – how easy it is to pick up the pieces we readily identify – that’s where our first energy is directed.

The ongoing challenge and delight for us in our life journey is to be available to notice and learn from that which doesn’t readily fit into our habitual thinking and patterns.

When I look at what’s on offer in ongoing learning from opportunities at the CTM or at the Wheeler Centre, or through study at Pilgrim, or any other learning agencies or organisations, I wish I could spend my whole life continuing to engage in the journey of discovery beyond my comfort zone. This is one of the ways I imagine breaking my habitual thinking and practices and perspectives. To give my heart and soul and brain an opportunity to notice something different than my preconceived ideas or notions.

What might you choose in the next couple of months that will stretch your thinking and refresh your brain into new possibilities?

There are leadership development opportunities – a ‘taster’ just prior to the Synod Opening Worship, day workshops on a variety of topics and ministry practices, Wisdom’s Feast in July; and not forgetting the chance to engage in depth by taking a unit (face-to-face or online) with Pilgrim – I’m lining up to audit an intensive in this next semester. What might you encourage your friends and colleagues to participate in, with you and others on this journey that just may change your brain, or at the very least expand your thinking and ministry practice!


Let there be light

In 2016 Wisdom’s Feast offers an exciting, thought-provoking and electrifying three-day program that will challenge and inspire attendees.

Wisdom’s Feast – “Let there be light: Reading the Bible for social and cultural transformation” will run from 19-21 July. World renowned theologian Muse Dube headlines the list of speakers and will present the Northey Lecture on Tuesday night, followed by supper or sweets. Other speakers include Katharine Massam, Apwee Ting and Chris Budden, with Uniting World staff presenting on being transformed by our overseas neighbours. More speakers and workshop presenters will be confirmed in the lead-up to July so please visit the event page for details and to register.


Lunchtime seminar series concludes

The final Pilgrim Theological College Semester One Lunchtime Seminar will be held on Thursday, 5 May. Jane Kelly IBVM, (University of Melbourne) and Associate Professor Katharine Massam (Pilgrim Theological College) presents “Memory and Imagination: histories for the future”.

Exploring the theme Text from the Margins, semester one’s free seminars are open to the public and allow attendees to expand their knowledge of theological topics of interest. Bring your lunch or buy it at our re-furbished Sage + Grace cafe.

Seminars start promptly at 1pm and finish at 1.50pm.


2016 Living Leadership program

The 2016 Living Leadership program kicked off in April with 28 participants attending the first half of the Core intensive unit that was run in partnership with the Presbytery of Western Victoria. The participants will return to Ballarat on 24-25 May for the last two days of the event.

There are more opportunities to engage with Living Leadership in 2016.

20 May: Living Leadership Plus – Strategic Leadership explores issues around strategic leadership so join us as Rose Broadstock distils six years of learning and a Master’s degree in Strategic Foresight into the most powerful strategic tools for Strategic Leadership: “Giving local communities a model of how to create and sustain strategy for change”.
3 June: Living Leadership Focus – What makes us Distinct? A Synod-eve exploration of Uniting Church leadership distinctives.
21-23 June: Living Leadership Focus – Uniting Church Leadership includes inter-related councils, consensus processes, ethical leadership.
14 September: Living Leadership Plus – Inter-cultural Leadership explores issues around inter-cultural leadership.

Please note that Plus events are only open to those who have previously completed a Core unit. Visit the Living Leadership event page for details.


Registrations open for Recapturing Our Soul Conference

2-4 September 2016 will see the Centre for Theology & Ministry host the Recapturing Our Soul Conference. The conference explores issues surrounding congregations, agencies and state relations in the community service sector.

Many institutions within the community service sector have a religious background and motivation. This service grows out of belief. However, with the professionalisation of health provision in an increasingly plural society, some gap has developed between believing communities and the associated agencies.

The Conference examines this gap and considers various ways of uniting communities, church congregations, community service delivery and the state sector. It will stimulate a clearer understanding of the added value of the church’s core values to community service provision and explore the future connections between the church and agency/third sector community work.

The Conference has an international flavour and boasts 16 speakers from Australia and Germany exploring three streams:

1). Theologies of agencies
2). Economics of funding
3). Advocacy

If you work in agencies or your work has an agency focus the Recapturing Our Soul Conference is a must-do professional development opportunity to add to your calendar.

Hero image: Belonging 13 (Detail), Flossie Peitsch, 500mm x 500mm, acrylic on canvas, 2012


Upcoming Events

May 2016

5 Pilgrim Lunchtime Seminar Series #5: Jane Kelly and Katharine Massam
20 LL Plus – Strategic Leadership
22 Radiate
24-25 LL Core – Living Leadership Intensive (2/2)
25 One World WonTok Conference

June 2016

1 University of Divinity Research Day
3 LL Focus: What Makes Us Distinct?
10 Tongan National Conference
16, 23 & 14, 28 July Art of Story 2016
20-24 Uniting Church Studies
21-23 LL Focus: Uniting Church Leadership
27 – 1 July Somers Camp

July 2016

3 ANZATS Conference
7 LL Focus: What Makes Us Distinct?
10 Fijian National Conference
8-13 National Young Adult Leaders’ Conference
15-16 Thesis Bootcamp 2
24 Uniting Church Studies – Project presentation day



On and off the walls

Darron Davies’ The Travellers: A Photographic Exhibition continues until 10 May. Davies’ photographs examine the play of light and spiritual meanings in colourfully esoteric images rich in detail and intrigue. The exhibition is in the Centre for Theology & Ministry gallery and is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Entry is free and if something tasks your fancy limited edition prints are available for purchase.

The Art for Wellbeing Exhibition continues at Queenscliff Uniting Church through until 26 May. The exhibition consists of 30 works from artists including Lara Bardsley, Michael Donelly, Jenny Echevarria-Lang, Margi Gibb, Deirdre Hassed, Lilia Varesta and others. For more information, visit the Festival website.

From 13 May to 11 July the CTM’s exhibition space will host Flossie Peitsch’s Belonging: Longing for Place. The exhibition comprises an expanded series of wall-mounted linoleum panels, fabricated and fabric sculpture, and canvases. The event will be opened at 5.30pm on the 13th of May  original audio interpretations/soundscapes by composer/performer Christina Green. Respecting the strong ‘sense of belonging to a place’ related by native peoples around the world, Peitsch (Canadian) and Green (Australian) keenly researched their own belonging. Though neither of them are indigenous to their respective countries, they feel an ongoing connection to each other’s adopted country. Via their combined art practices they delve deeply into the land and spirituality they love.

Story telling is pivotal to the arts at the CTM and in June and July Christina Rowntree and Julie Perrin return with the acclaimed Art of Story program. Art of Story empowers participants to discover the beauty and power of engaging listeners with stories that speak.

In July, art will take pride of place at Wisdom’s Feast. On Wednesday night, 20 July, The Centre for Theology & Ministry will be transformed into an Arts Open House with exhibitions and story telling. Don’t miss it.

And of course our monthly Artist Network Gatherings will continue to bring artists together to inspire and explore the arts.


Pilgrim: In brief

Student representatives on Pilgrim Academic Committee

We’d like to welcome the appointment of the following students to the Academic Committee of Pilgrim Theological College:

Brad Denniston – representing the coursework cohort of students
Margaret Campbell – representing the research cohort


University of Divinity Research Day – Call for papers

The University of Divinity’s Research Day is scheduled for Wednesday, 1 June, and will be held at the Centre for Theology & Ministry. University of Divinity Director of Research Prof John McDowell has called for papers to be presented in the short paper sessions. Contact John via email if you’d like to present a paper.