eNews – May 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Icebergs and Progressive Learning

By Executive Director Rev Dr Jenny Byrnes

A recent news item tells of an iceberg running aground over this Easter weekend, just off the small town of Ferryland (Canada). The berg rises about 15 storeys high above the waterline, which is only about 10% of its mass. “Most folks can’t wrap their heads around how big it is,” a local commented.

I’ve often found the metaphor of icebergs (10% above and 90% below the surface) useful to assist and remind me about much in life and education, conflict and communication, etc, etc. However, this newspaper story has introduced another significant lens on the icebergs of life!

The article continued…

“The stunning view … is actually a snapshot of the death throes of the iceberg 15,000 years in the making. What began as snowflakes falling on Greenland in the last ice age has crept to the sea in a glacier and then broken off … to float slowly out into the bay.”

Beginning as snowflakes and 15,000 years later, a glacial iceberg.

Although we don’t plan on taking 15,000 years for our snowflakes of learning and growth to develop into large visible edifices of knowledge and practice, it is helpful to be reminded that it takes many snowflakes of continual insight and formation to gradually build our lives and be formed into visible signs of God’s presence in the world.

That’s probably where the metaphor needs to end! Moving at glacial pace and frozen for thousands of years is not what we are looking for in a Church that is continuing to learn and be formed and reformed for the sake of the Gospel!  Unfortunately, many of us have had a ‘one stop shop’ mentality for our learning and don’t readily engage in ongoing ‘snowflakes’ of continual insights, formation and growth.

The CTM will continue to offer such opportunities for the near future and I encourage you to join the journey of theological and missional education. In particular, at this point in the year, take a moment to contemplate what areas of your life and ministry need strengthening and refreshment and then  enrol in a unit at Pilgrim or engage in resourcing workshops to keep gently increasing your capacity to minister, lead and serve effectively.


Upcoming 64th Blake Prize Touring Exhibition Special Event: Symposium Australia & ‘The Divine Image’

Thursday 11 May – Saturday 13 May 2017 at Kinross Arts Centre

Want to find out more about the 64th Blake Prize for spiritual and religious art?
How are religion and spirituality interpreted by contemporary Australian artists?
What do the arts and spirituality have in common?
May 11, Day 1 – Atmospheric Concert,
7.30pm – 9.30pm
May 12, Day 2 – Panel Discussion and Conversations with Art, 10am – 4pm
May 13, Day 3 – Arts Workshops, 10am – 3pm
Generously Sponsored by the Centre for Theology & Ministry

Public forum celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Uniting Church

Sun 16 July, 2:00-5:00pm at Centre for Theology and Ministry, 29 College Crescent, Parkville

Where is the Uniting Church heading, and how will we find our way?
Recognising the 40th anniversary of its inauguration, join two key leaders for an afternoon forum to explore the current and future shape of the Uniting Church in Australia. Deidre Palmer, President-Elect of the national Assembly will explore the current and future shape of the Uniting Church. Geoff Thompson, systematic theology teacher at Pilgrim Theological College, will address the Basis of Union as our continuing theological compass.
Registration cost of $10 includes afternoon tea and a copy of the Basis of Union for every participant.

Pathways to Union and Beyond

(1-day short-course) Mon 17 July, 9:00am-5:00pm at Uniting Church Centre, 130 Little Collins Street, Melbourne & CBD churches

Join this one-day exploration of the faithful journey of three denominations towards union, and a fantastic opportunity to witness living history. Anyone interested in the Uniting Church and its history is invited to explore three city churches and discover what led to union through the voices of people who took part in the critical early years before and after the formation of the Uniting Church?

This is a rare opportunity to hear Rev Graham McAnalley, Rev Dr Robert Johnson, Rev Dr Norman Young, and Rev Dr D’Arcy Wood, share their stories of the formation and ongoing commitments of what it means to be part of the Uniting Church.

You will enjoy the experiences and insights of these significant Uniting Church leaders from the time of union as they explore the Uniting Church’s emergence, and roots in Congregationalism, Methodism and Presbyterianism. The beautiful city buildings still reverberate with the history of the times, and will enhance your understanding of where the Uniting Church comes from – theologically, practically and faithfully. The registration cost of $45 includes lunch and refreshments.  

Uniting Church Studies 2017

(7-day intensive course) Sun 16 July Fri 21 July plus 12 August, 9:00am-5:00pm

This intensive educational program provides a fantastic opportunity for people who want to know more about the Uniting Church, its faithful foundations, core commitments and pressing priorities for the future.

Suitable for general interest as well as candidates for specified ministries including the Admission of Ministers process, the course draws upon a wide range of Uniting Church leaders to explore the theology, history and life of the Uniting Church, including president-elect of the Assembly, Dr Deidre Palmer.

Hosted by Rev Dr Geoff Thompson, Rev Dr Avril Hannah-Jones and Rohan Pryor, the program will visit iconic city churches as well as the Centre for Theology and Ministry, Parkville. The full registration cost of $145 includes refreshments and some meals.

Living Leadership: Uniting Church Leadership

Build your capacity, insight and resilience for leadership in your context.

11-13 July 2017, 10am-4pm at Centre for Theology & Ministry, 29 College Crescent, Parkville Vic 3052

Cost: $120 pre-registration (or $100 if registered as part of a team (two or more people) by Monday 3 July.

Register and pay online      Registrations close: Monday 3 July 2017 

Living Leadership: Uniting Church Leadership is an intensive 3-day course that focuses specifically on leadership within the Uniting Church context. Drawing on the theology, history and life of the Uniting Church in Australia, as well as the Basis of Union, areas to be explored include:

Upcoming Events

May 2017

5 Art for Wellbeing
7 New Texts in Context (2/3)
11 Inter-cultural Leadership – Through the lens of generations
11 Australia & “The Divine Image” Symposium
19 Lay Preachers & Pastors Training (LP + MoP) (2/4)

June 2017

3 Make it Messy Conference
4 New Texts in Context (3/3)

July 2017

7 National Lay Preacher’s Conference
11 Uniting Church Leadership
16 Uniting Church Studies – 40th Anniversary (1/2)
17 Medieval Monastic Wisdom
17 Reading & Interpreting the Bible
21 Lay Preachers & Pastors Training (LP + MoP) (3/4)

‘Let the sun shine in’ – CTM goes solar!

Over December and January the large, flat north-facing roof of the Centre for Theology & Ministry and Dalton McCaughey Library was covered in solar panels.

This was the end result of a CTM commissioned study on what options would best suit our needs, undertaken two years ago through the City of Melbourne Commercial Solar Program. A desktop assessment was made which reviewed the suitability of rooftop solar, the system size and provided indicative pricing.

The CTM then compared three major retailers and a local company, EnviroGroup (based in Northcote) was chosen as fitting the CTM and DML’s needs.  
In order to generate the most out of the system, tilted frames have been used as they are self-cleaning and more efficient in collecting energy. The first proposed option of a 90kW system was also reduced to 76.25kW.

It is estimated that the installation and purchase of the solar panels will pay for itself in electricity savings in seven sunny years and thereafter, provide significant savings and a significantly greener CTM.


Make it Messy Conference

Saturday 3 June
Register by Monday 29 May

Download flyer        Register online now

Generate 2017

“Embodying the Way”

MUC were well represented at Generate 2017, a workshop run by the UCA Centre of Theology and Ministry on Saturday 18 March to explore Intergenerational Ministry. The day was part of a two day training workshop and I was joined by fellow MUC members Chris Mitchell, Ken Manson, and John Steel on day 2.
Christ Barnett, the Children and Families Ministry Co-ordinator at CTM gave us a thorough history of the growth of UCA from its beginnings as a Mono-cultural to a Multicultural church, moving to a Cross-cultural church and nowadays, an Inter-cultural Church. This history lesson was useful in understanding where and how attitudes and our faith journeys have formed into what we are today.
The rationale behind Intergenerational Ministry was discussed as a product of several theories, including developmental, social learning, ecological and socio-cultural theories and Chris raised two definitions of Intergenerational Ministry;

We were reminded that Intergenerational Ministry is not purely about worship and is much more than just about children and their families; it covers the Church as a whole. We should be caring, praying, learning, celebrating and serving our awesome God together. It sounds simple, I agree, but as we know, this task has its challenges.

The group were asked to complete a mapping exercise to identify various stakeholders (i.e. leadership teams, aging community, young families and children etc) in our church community and discuss their specific needs and possible solutions that could assist in meeting these needs. This exercise was simple but effective in forcing us to identify the feelings and thoughts of stakeholders within our MUC community and realise that many of our fears and solutions overlap and are not dissimilar.

Our very own Drew Hanna assisted Chris Barnett in encouraging us by providing helpful resources to assist us with being successful in Intergenerational Ministry. These include frameworks such as Here2Stay and Sticky Faith and books such as Belonging and Becoming by Mark and Lisa Scandrette.

We were encouraged by stories from Church leaders from the Banyule Network and Horsham region who have taken deliberate steps to build Intergenerational Ministry through worship and pastoral care activities such as Messy Church, Social Dinners and newly formed Intergenerational Worship services. Discussion of their successes and challenges highlighted that success in Intergenerational Ministry requires work and acceptance that perhaps not all who are invited to participate will come, but those who are eager to eat from Christ’s table will be fed (see parable of the Great Feast Luke 14:16-26).

My hope and prayer is that MUC can continue to be fed by the love of God on the same table, together.

Article by Elvina Kioa from Manningham Uniting church. Reproduced with permission.

7 – 10 July: National Conference of Lay Preachers

Centre for Theology and Ministry, 29 College Crescent, Parkville
For Lay Preachers, Candidates and all interested in leading worship, hosted by the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania’s Lay Preachers’ Committee of Management for the National Lay Preachers’ Committee.

More information & registration form

27-30 July: Transforming Worship National UCA Conference

Burnside City Uniting Church, Adelaide
A national gathering for preachers, worship leaders, musicians, artists, poets and anyone interested in exploring the formative and transformative nature of Christian worship, hosted by the UCA Assembly and the Centre for Music, Liturgy and the Arts, Synod of South Australia.
More information & registration