Ro is an experienced and longstanding advocate for LGBTIQ Victor...
<p><strong>Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality</strong><strong><br></strong></p><h3>Ro is an experienced and longstanding advocate for LGBTIQ Victorians and has held leadership positions in the community and government sectors.</h3>
<p>Ro has been a member of three Victorian Government LGBTI ministerial advisory groups and chaired the ministerial advisory committee on LGBTI Health and Wellbeing between 2007 and 2009.</p>
<p>In Ro’s formative years they held positions in the Synod Youth Ministry Team of the Uniting Church as well as positions with the Victorian Council of Churches as a project officer and represented the National Council of Churches at the Christian Conference of Asia. </p>
<p>As founding CEO of UnitingCare Cutting Edge, Ro established Victoria’s first rural support group for young LGBTI people, giving Ro a deep understanding of the issues faced in rural and regional areas.</p>
<p>Ro is a former Chair of the Adult, Community and Further Education Board, the Victorian Skills Commission, the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVIC), and former member of the Hume Regional Development Australia Committee.</p>
<p>Ro has been recognised for extensive community service: in 2003 Ro received a Centenary Medal and in 2009 was inducted into the Victorian Government Honour Roll for Women.</p>
<p>Recently Ro was recognised in the <em>Top 50 Public Sector Women (Victoria) 2017</em>. </p>
Rod Bower is an Anglican priest, Rector of Gosford where he has served for 19 years and Archdeacon for Justice Ministries and Chaplaincy in the Dio...
<p>Rod Bower is an Anglican priest, Rector of Gosford where he has served for 19 years and Archdeacon for Justice Ministries and Chaplaincy in the Diocese of Newcastle. He is an ambassador for the Refugee Council of Australia and serves on the board of the Samaritans Foundation. </p>
<p>Rod is a passionate advocate for a number of social justice and human rights issues, including marriage equality. He believes that our treatment of Asylum Seekers, the lack of action on climate change and the failure to adequately recognize First Nations people damages our communal soul. </p>
<p>It has been said the he takes “a hard line on compassion”, he is committed to building social and cultural capital and contributing to the evolution of an Australia where there is respect, peace and harmony. Rod is married to Kerry, also a passionate advocate for Asylum Seekers; they have two married children and four grandchildren. </p>
<p>Rod was a finalist nominee for the 2018 Australian Human Rights Medal, he received the 2016 Doha International Award for Interfaith Dialogue and was named Abyssinian of the year by the Muslim Community. He is the author of ‘Outspoken’. </p>
<p>Rod will deliver a Keynote Presentation, <em>Common Home & A Just Society</em></p>
Chris Budden has been a Minister of the Uniting Church for over 40 years. Sydney Brown once described him as a theological activist; the title he...
<h3>Chris Budden has been a Minister of the Uniting Church for over 40 years. Sydney Brown once described him as a theological activist; the title he most appreciates. Besides local ministry he has been an adjunct member of faculty at United Theological College in Sydney, an associate researcher at the Public and Contextual Research Centre at Charles Sturt University, and a writer (contextual theology, ethics and justice, and issues of sovereignty and treaty). </h3><p>He has a particular interest in the way theology and church practices are shaped by relationships with power. He spent the last five years of full-time ministry as National Coordinator for the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress. He remains committed to supporting efforts to develop Indigenous theologies in Australia. His writings include <em>Following Jesus in Invaded Space: Doing Theology on Aboriginal Land </em>(Pickwick, 2009), and <em>Why Indigenous Sovereignty Should Matter to Christians</em> (Mediacom Education, 2018). He contributed to <em>Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization</em> (edited Steve Heinrichs; Orbis, 2019). </p>
Matthew Fox (b. 1940) is an internationally acclaimed spiritual theologian, Episcopal priest, and activist who was a member of the Dominican Order...
<p>Matthew Fox (b. 1940) is an internationally acclaimed spiritual theologian, Episcopal priest, and activist who was a member of the Dominican Order for 34 years. He holds a doctorate, summa cum laude, in the History and Theology of Spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris and has devoted 45 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality, which is rooted in ancient Judeo-Christian teaching, inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions; welcoming of the arts and artists; wisdom centered, prophetic, and committed to eco-justice, social justice and gender justice. </p>
<p>After a long campaign, Cardinal Ratzinger – later Pope Benedict XVI – as chief Inquisitor and head of the Congregation of Doctrine and Faith silenced Fox for one year in 1989 and three years later he expelled Fox from the Order, whereupon Fox became an Episcopalian priest.</p>
<p>Fox has reinvented forms of education and worship and awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West, revivifying awareness of Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, and Thomas Merton, among other premodern and post-modern spiritual pioneers. He has authored more than 35 books on spirituality and contemporary culture, among them: <em>Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, The Reinvention of Work, A Spirituality Named Compassion and Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times</em>. His books, celebrated around the world, have been translated into 60 languages. </p>
<p>Matthew will deliver two Major Public Addresses:</p>
<li>Thursday Evening, 11 July; <em>Original Blessing, Cosmic Christ, and Other Archetypal Paradigm Shifts from Creation Spirituality to Our </em>Times </li>
<li>Friday Evening, 12 July; <em>On Being Deeply Human in a Time of Earth-Crisis and Apocalyptic Warnings</em></li>
<p>He will be interviewed by leading Australian Progressive Dr Val Webb then participate in an interactive discussion with the audience which Val will moderate</p>
<p>“Matthew Fox might well be the most creative, the most comprehensive, surely the most challenging religious-spiritual teacher in America . He has the scholarship, the imagination, the courage, the writing skill to fulfill this role at a time when the more official Christian theological traditions are having difficulty in establishing any vital contact with either the spiritual possibilities of the present or with their own most creative spiritual traditions of the past….He has, it seems, created a new mythic context for leading us out of our contemporary religious and spiritual confusion into a new clarity of mind and peace of soul, by affirming rather than abandoning any of our traditional beliefs.” Thomas Berry, author of <em>The Great Work, The Dream of the Earth and The Universe Story.</em><br></p>
Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir is a non-auditioned choir which welcomes members regardless of their sexual identity or musical experience. The choir is...
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir
<p>Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir is a non-auditioned choir which welcomes members regardless of their sexual identity or musical experience. The choir is open to all – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, intersex, queer and our straight allies. What unites us is a love of singing together and striving for performance excellence. A powerful symbol of diversity, inclusion and harmony, the choir has maintained a vital and visible presence in the history of Sydney’s LGBTQI community.</p>
<p>Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir has provided the soundtrack to countless community events and celebrations over the years, and has regularly represented Sydney on the national and international stage. Our repertoire is equally diverse, ranging from classical to pop, and from music theatre to contemporary Australian compositions. With around 80 active singing members at any time. We usually present two major concerts each year, as well as performances at a wide range of community events, interstate and international festivals, collaborations with other artists, recordings and fun social events.</p>
<p>Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir held its first ever performance in 1991, following a letter published in the Sydney Star Observer in November 1990 which called for community interest in forming a choir. Over 25 years later we’re still going strong and looking forward to our 50th Anniversary!</p>
Norman Habel is a Professorial Fellow at Flinders University. He is a biblical scholar who has specialised in the Book of Job, ecology and th...
<p>Norman Habel is a Professorial Fellow at Flinders University. He is a biblical scholar who has specialised in the Book of Job, ecology and the Bible, and Wisdom Literature. His initiatives include <em>The Earth Bible Series, The Season of Creation</em> and Ecological Hermeneutics. His recent works include <em>Discerning Wisdom in God’s Creation</em> and <em>The Earth Care Charter. </em>He has also been involved with building positive relationships with the Aboriginal Peoples of Australia. He worked with the Rainbow Spirit elders in Queensland to produce <em>Rainbow Spirit Theology</em>. He is the author of <em>Reconciliation, Searching for Australia’s Soul. </em>His latest work entitled <em>Acknowledgement of the Land and Faith of the Indigenous Custodians after following the Abraham Trail</em> is a challenge for the churches of Australia and the background for his presentation at the Common Dreams conference.</p>
<p>Norman will give a Keynote Presentation, <em>Time to Publicly Acknowledge the Creation Spirituality of our Aboriginal Custodians.</em></p>
<p>Ivan Copely will respond to Norman’s presentation.</p>
Rex A E Hunt is a religious naturalist, progressive liturgist, and social ecologist. A retired Uniting Church minister, he was the founding Chair o...
<p>Rex A E Hunt is a religious naturalist, progressive liturgist, and social ecologist. A retired Uniting Church minister, he was the founding Chair of Common Dreams Conference of Religious Progressives. Rex has authored and/or edited eight books, his latest being <em>Season and Self: Discourses on Being ‘at home’ in Nature</em>. He continues in a leadership role within progressive religion, encouraging others to 'push boundaries’. He lives on the NSW Central Coast (Gadigal Country of the Eora Nation). Rex is a member of the Common Dreams General Committee.</p>
<p>Rex’s elective, <em>Of Old Trees, Stardust, & Moments of Wonder: A Short Introduction to Religious Naturalism</em>, will be in presentation format & will cover such areas as: (i) What is Religious Naturalism; (ii) Some characteristics of Religious Naturalism; (iii) Who is a Religious Naturalist? (iv) At-Homeness in Nature; (v) Religious Naturalism and progressive Christianity. (v) Horizontal transcendence. (vi) Natural not <em>super</em>natural. All with a backdrop of over 185 ’nature’ visuals/photos.</p>
<p><strong>Rex Hunt</strong> is a 'grass roots' religious naturalist, progressive liturgist, and social ecologist. He lives on the Central Coast (Gadigal Country of the Eora Nation) of New South Wales (NSW). Forty-six years ordained, first as a Presbyterian (1972), he is today a <strong><em><u>retired minister</u></em></strong> of the <strong>Uniting Church in Australia </strong>(formed in 1977), where his last placement was at the progressive <strong>Church of St James</strong>(2000-2009) in Canberra, ACT - Canberra being Australia's capital city, centre of national political life. He served in parish/congregation appointments as well as, for nine years, was the <strong>National Director of Communications</strong> with The Assembly, Uniting Church in Australia.</p>
Gregory Jenks is an Australian religion scholar and Anglican priest, currently serving as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton. Prio...
www.gregoryjenks.com <p>Gregory Jenks is an Australian religion scholar and Anglican priest, currently serving as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton. Prior to his appointment as Dean of Grafton, Greg was Dean of St George’s College in Jerusalem. Greg is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Theology at Charles Sturt University and the Coin Curator for the Bethsaida Archaeological Excavation in Israel.</p>
<p>Greg was closely involved in the founding of Common Dreams in 2007. </p>
<p>In addition to chapters he that has contributed to numerous books, his recent publications include <em>The Once and Future Bible</em> (Wipf & Stock, 2011), <em>The Once and Future Scriptures</em> (Polebridge Press, 2013), <em>Jesus Then and Jesus Now</em> (Morning Star, 2014), and (with Rex Hunt) <em>Wisdom and Imagination</em> (Morning Star, 2014).</p>
<p>He is an active adopter of social media for parish ministry, including connecting with those are sometimes described as spiritual but not religious (SBNR). Many of his sermons and workshops at Grafton Cathedral are live-streamed for a wider audience as people wishing to review the material at a later stage.</p>
<p>Further details of his print and digital publications are available at <a href="http://www.gregoryjenks.com"><strong>www.gregoryjenks.com</strong></a></p>
<p>Greg will deliver the Opening Address at the conference. He will also be the moderator of a Q&A style interactive discussion between the conference audience & a panel of speakers drawn from other speakers at the conference</p>
Jason is a Uniting Earth Advocate and a minister in the Uniting Church in Australia. After graduating
from zoology with honours, he convert...
<p>Jason is a Uniting Earth Advocate and a minister in the Uniting Church in Australia. After graduating</p>
<p>from zoology with honours, he converted into an Evangelical church where he pushed for a more literal</p>
<p>approach to Genesis, before entering theological college and back-flipping. With a life-long passion to</p>
<p>help animals, he has spent his ministry helping the church and others reflect on what it means to live</p>
<p>well on Earth, and to do something about it. Which wasn’t quite what he had planned, but he has been</p>
<p>very privileged to jump from funding puddle to funding puddle for the last 20 years doing so. He lives in</p>
<p>the forest with his family where they try to be good neighbours to the other animals around them.</p>
<p>A PhD on Biocentric Theology began shortly into his ministry, as he moved from being a safely married</p>
<p>heterosexual advocate for the church to rethink its views on sexuality, especially homosexuality, to a</p>
<p>separated minister with a new partner. Some of his doctoral thesis turned into a poem, which turned</p>
<p>into a talk, which turned into a book on the evolution of sexuality, and implications for faithful sexuality</p>
<p>today.. The poetry bug bit, and a few more might be scattered throughout the conference. You will</p>
<p>recognise them because they sound like Dr Seuss and Pam Ayres had a love child who became a priest.</p>
Jonathan grew up in a committed progressive Jewish family and always wanted to be a Rabbi. He...
<p>Rabbi, Leo Baeck Centre, East Kew, Melbourne</p>
<p>Jonathan grew up in a committed progressive Jewish family and always wanted to be a Rabbi. He went to a large orthodox Jewish day school, because it was the only choice in Jewish day schools and had excellent engineering facilities! There he began to experience orthodox Judaism, which reinforced for him the values of his own progressive tradition! </p>
<p>He spent two years studying Production Technology before working in industry as a stores and systems manager and buyer, first in plastics, then furniture. He was accepted for the five year Rabbinic training, which included time in Jerusalem and Sydney, Australia. Apart from Israel, one of the most significant influences on him was the annual Jewish Christian Muslim conference which was held in Germany. </p>
<p>After ordination in 1988, Jonathan worked at the Hertsmere Progressive Synagogue near London for 15 years. He was involved in developing a pluralist Jewish state school sector with primary schools and eventually the Jewish Community Secondary School.</p>
<p>Jonathan has also become heavily involved in environmental work, constructing an underground home in London and running a car on compressed natural gas, charged up every night from the mains. In Australia he built a ‘Seven Star Energy- and Water-Efficient showhome’, and established JECO, the Jewish Ecological Coalition. </p>
<p>Jonathan was also instrumental in establishing the Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia, which runs residential conferences, schools programs and other events. In 2007, Jonathan spoke at an interfaith seminar in Canberra with the Dalai Lama on ‘Paths to Peace’, and also gave his first gave a keynote lecture for the Common Dreams conference in Sydney. </p>
<p>He moved to Australia and took up current position January 2003. He serves a congregation of about 300 households in Melbourne, a part of the Union for Progressive Judaism. </p>
<p>Personal statement: I believe in putting prayer into practice. I am interested in faith frameworks for modern life, and my studies, talks and meetings with others have persuaded me that those of us who consider ourselves ‘religious’ have an enormous amount in common, as well of course as important differences. I firmly believe that we must learn to live together with interest and respect for, and indeed celebration of, difference and diversity. We pray to the same God, who created this magnificent diversity. I also believe that God put us on earth as caretakers of creation – and we have done a pretty poor job recently and are fast running out of time! Hence, I see it as our religious obligation to resolve the difficulties and problems our world faces.<br></p>
Cathie Lambert lives in Margaret River, Western Australia. She is currently taking a leave of absence from ministry as a Uniting Church minister to...
<p>Cathie Lambert lives in Margaret River, Western Australia. She is currently taking a leave of absence from ministry as a Uniting Church minister to complete a PhD through the University of Divinity in Melbourne. Her topic is the beguine mystics of the 13<sup>th</sup> century and their relevance for de-churched women today. She is also a trained Spiritual Director and helps to train new spiritual directors as part of the team at Dayspring. </p>
<p>Deep Water Dwelling is her spiritual direction business where she provides individual spiritual direction and runs retreats and workshops for groups. She specialises in mandala workshops, which was her topic for her spiritual direction project and released a book, ‘A Mandala a Month Workbook’ earlier this year through Mediacom.</p>
<p>Cathie’s elective session, <em>Marguerite Porete: Hearing the Voice of a Beguine Mystic in Today’s World</em>, is in presentation format.</p>
<p>Marguerite Porete (1250-1310) was a beguine mystic from Hainaut, Belgium, who wrote of her experiences and ideas about the spiritual journey in a book titled “The Mirror of Simple Souls”. She wrote it creatively as a dialogue between Love (God), the soul and reason. Scholars believe that her work was a great influence for Meister Eckhart who followed her. Her book was written in the vernacular language and distributed widely. Her text was seen as heretical and copies were burnt. Eventually, Marguerite was burnt at the stake in Paris on the 1<sup>st</sup> of June 1310. </p>
<p>Marguerite Porete, often overlooked, has much to teach us about the spiritual life and spiritual authority in today’s world, particularly for women. Her life and writing dialogues with Matthew Fox’s principles of Creation Spirituality by presenting us with alternative ways to view God, teaching about the spiritual journey, opening up the mystical life, challenging the status quo of the church institution, and challenging us to embrace wisdom from different times and places.</p>
<p>In this presentation Margaret will introduce Marguerite to the audience, tell of the highlights of her work and her life and assist people to see her relevance in today’s world.</p>
Rev Dr Margaret Mayman is minister at Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney. She was born in Aotearoa New Zealand and was ordained as a Presbyterian M...
<p>Rev Dr Margaret Mayman is minister at Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney. She was born in Aotearoa New Zealand and was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister in 1983. She holds a PhD in Christian Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York where she lived, studied and taught for 12 years. She was a parish minister in New Zealand for 18 years before moving to Sydney in December 2013.</p>
<p>At Pitt Street, Margaret leads a congregation that practices a ministry of inclusive hospitality and seeks to participate in the public square in the City of Sydney. Margaret enjoys bringing progressive religious and ethical perspectives into dialogue with the issues of the secular city. She has been involved in a number of social justice campaigns presenting a progressive religious voice on issues such as Marriage Equality and justice for refugees and people seeking asylum.</p>
<p>In 2010 she was awarded an international fellowship to the Kettering Foundation in Ohio where she researched faith communities' engagement in community politics.</p>
<p>Margaret has over 30 years experience in ordained ministry in congregational and academic contexts in New Zealand, USA and in Australia. Her preferred model of church is a community of justice-seeking friends. As an ethicist, she is passionate about bringing Christian faith into dialogue with the issues of the secular city and has learned from experience that visible engagement with social justice is an effective means of evangelism.</p>
<p>Margaret is Vice President of Common Dreams & she has directed the team responsible for making the Sydney arrangements of the conference.</p>
<p>Margaret will also join with Keynote Speaker Ro Allen to lead an Elective conference session on LBGTI issues.</p>
Kavisha Mazzella AM is an ARIA award winning song writer who has been on the Australian Folk scene since the 90's.Born in London into a multicultur...
<p>Kavisha Mazzella AM is an ARIA award winning song writer who has been on the Australian Folk scene since the 90's.Born in London into a multicultural family of an Kavisha Mazzella AM is an ARIA award winning song writer who has been on the Australian Folk scene since the 90's. Born in London into a multicultural family of an Anglo- Burmese Mother and Italian father and immigrating to Australia in the 60's, Kavisha brings communities together with her beautiful songs and lets these strands of culture inform her original songs as well as paying respects to tradition. </p><p>She has 7 solo albums under her belt as well as having recorded and sung with many great artists such as Tiddas, Andy White, Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter, Kev Carmody, Neil Murray, Mick Thomas and Paul Kelly. She has played many festivals nationally and abroad as well as run choirs and vocal workshops all over the world. IN 2011 She was awarded an Order of Australia for her services to singing song writing and representing immigrant, refugee and aboriginal communities in performance.</p>
Joel McKerrow is an award winning writer, speaker, educator, community arts worker and one of Australia’s most successful internationally touring p...
<p>Joel McKerrow is an award winning writer, speaker, educator, community arts worker and one of Australia’s most successful internationally touring performance poets having performed for hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world since 2010 and being the third ever Australian representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships in the USA (2012). </p>
Based out of Melbourne, Australia he is the Artist Ambassador for the aid and development organisation ‘TEAR Australia’ and was the co-founder of community arts organisation, 'The Centre for Poetics and Justice' (2010-2013). Joel has released three music/spoken word albums and three published books of poetry. Alongside his poetry and writing Joel is a highly-sought after speaker at conferences, churches and gatherings all over the world teaching on the intersection of spiritual formation, social Justice, creativity and identity. This comes after having walked alongside young people for the last seventeen years within schools, churches, youth work organisations and theological institutions through which he has now become known worldwide for being an experienced practitioner and thinker in these areas of personal formation. </p>
Brian McLaren (Author and activist) has said of Joel, ‘In a time when politics, theology, and other important avenues of human intercourse suffer from a flatness of prose and a vacuum of meaning, Joel walks on stage just when we need him, sounding off with all the craft of a first-rate poet and all the verve of a first-rate performer.’</p>
<p>Joel will give a recital of his poetry as one of the electives – <em>The Poetics of the Sacred Imagination</em>. He will also make cameo appearances throughout the conference.</p>
<p>He says about his elective - “Creativity should never be relegated as the ‘pretty-bits-around-the-edges’ in our discourse on the sacred, or our engagement with the world. Rather, it sits at the very core of our explorations into God and the self and the world. The poetic voice therefore is a great revealer of the mysteries as it does not seek to answer the questions of our inner world but rather to explore the way these questions move within us. Joel McKerrow will be reading/performing his dynamic works of poetry seeking to draw us into a different mode of listening by which our inside worlds might be touched with both the aching pain and the delicious hope of our existence upon this sacred earth.”</p>
Roje Ndayambaje was born in Congo and raised in Uganda in a Rwandan family. His poetry is marked by each of these places and a deep love for Africa...
<p>Roje Ndayambaje was born in Congo and raised in Uganda in a Rwandan family. His poetry is marked by each of these places and a deep love for Africa. Roje writes and performs poetry to share the story of his people and encourage others to find and share their own. Roje has performed Spoken Word at numerous events including the Australian Poetry Slam Newcastle Heats, Poetic Justice, Art Bender Newcastle, Soul Lounge (Adelaide) and SpeakUP Gosford. He has supported Luka Lesson and collaborated with Will Small and Manal Younus. Roje’s storytelling abilities and soulful poetry will leave you changed after hearing it.</p>
Thea is a Catholic Christian, a semi-retired social worker, grandmother and an advocate for action to curb global warming. She has long been invol...
<h3>Thea is a Catholic Christian, a semi-retired social worker, grandmother and an advocate for action to curb global warming. She has long been involved in a range of social justice issues, mainly concerning global poverty. For the last eleven years Thea has been involved in the multi-faith climate action organisation, the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC, pronounced “ark”) and is currently the President. </h3>
<p>ARRCC’s mission is twofold, (1) to promote ethical, environmentally sustainable, healthy and contented lifestyles which respect the Earth’s precious natural resources, (2) to advocate, from a faith perspective, for public policies which contribute to climate justice. See <a href="http://www.arrcc.org.au">www.arrcc.org.au</a></p>
<p>Previous to this, Thea’s activism focussed on campaigns for the cancellation of developing country debt (Jubilee 2000), trade justice (Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network) and more poverty-focussed aid for developing countries (Micah Challenge). </p>
Dr. Anne Pattel-Gray is an Aboriginal woman who is a descendant of the Bidjara/ Kari Kari people in Queensland and she is a recognised Aboriginal l...
<p>Dr. Anne Pattel-Gray is an Aboriginal woman who is a descendant of the Bidjara/ Kari Kari people in Queensland and she is a recognised Aboriginal leader within Australia – nationally and internationally. She has dedicated her life to the struggle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and she is a strong campaigner and lobbyist and deeply committed to seeking justice, equity and equal representation for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. She is very proud of her Aboriginal culture and heritage and is a strong advocate for Aboriginal women, children, families and community regarding our Cultural and basic Human Rights. She has developed a leadership quality that promotes and builds a deeper sense of community and participation that brings a greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and cultural identity and cohesion with the broader community that leads to beneficial partnerships, engagement and reconciliation.</p>
<p>Dr. Anne Pattel-Gray has an earned Ph.D. from the University of Sydney awarded in 1995 in the Studies of Religion with the major focus on Aboriginal Religion and Spirituality (she was the first Aboriginal person to graduate with a Ph.D. from the University of Sydney). And a Doctor of Divinity from India awarded in 1997 (the first Aboriginal person to be awarded the D.D.). Dr. Pattel-Gray has achieved many firsts in her prestigious life and she is known as a trail blazer and she has opened many doors for her people. She is a recognised scholar, theologian, activist and prolific writer with several publications – chapters, articles, edited works and authored books. Dr. Anne Pattel-Gray is deeply committed to the advancement of Aboriginal people and to reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. She has over thirty years in senior management as a CEO and she possesses a wealth of experience and she has developed enormous expertise. </p>
<p>Anne will deliver a Major Public Address on Saturday evening 13 July.</p>
Heather has been writing, composing and arranging music for 20 years in both sacred and secular settings. Her music is used within churches around...
http://www.heatherprice.com.au <p>Heather has been writing, composing and arranging music for 20 years in both sacred and secular settings. Her music is used within churches around the world thanks to her contribution to music aimed at the "Messy Church" movement and her intergenerational compositions with progressive Christian language and themes. </p>
<p>Hailing from Newcastle, Heather grew up attending Adamstown Uniting Church, a progressive and innovative church that instilled in her a strong connection between faith, creativity and the world around us.</p>
<p>The daughter of Opera singer, Jennifer Barnes, and jazz musician, Rod Barnes, Heather was surrounded by music from birth.</p>
<p>An accomplished and experienced musician, Heather has completed a Bachelor of Music; travelled nationally and internationally, singing and performing with contemporary act “The Good”; has performed on Double Bass with orchestras such as Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria; and has published her songs for use in churches around the globe.</p>
<p>Heather’s passions are faith through creativity, the use of singing and music to create community and identity and giving modern language to sacred practises and creeds to help to make them more accessible to a progressive faith.</p>
<p>Heather’s current published works include “I Am Loved” (collection of songs for young and developing faith), “Carols In The Sun” (Australian Christmas Carol Collection) and a new set of “Congregational Songs” for use in Intergenerational settings. Heather travelled to the International Messy Church Conference in England in 2016 to launch her successful “I Am Loved” album that is used internationally within Messy Churches.</p>
<p>Heather is currently “Musician in Residence” at Adamstown Uniting Church and leads worship each week for a progressive congregation of all ages.</p>
<p>Heather will lead a session of singing <em>Progressive Voices: Songs for Hope & New Life.</em></p>
Doug Purnell OAM is ‘living a second life, timeless and wide’ (Rilke). He has been for all his working life a minister in the UCA in pastora...
<h3>Doug Purnell OAM is ‘living a second life, timeless and wide’ (Rilke). He has been for all his working life a minister in the UCA in pastoral settings and as a Pastoral Theologian at United Theological College in Sydney. In his retirement he is pursuing a life goal to work in his studio every day, hoping to make a ‘mature body of work’ that enables people to see God in fresh ways.</h3>
<p>C R Foster (theologian and educator): “Your paintings “show a glimpse of transcendence, or God.” Your painting reveals hidden mysteries, but it does not define or postulate that mystery. The viewer, as is always the case when confronted by mystery, only discerns mystery as he or she engages it. And for some viewers of your painting, that requires some work on their part.”</p>
<p>Doug is a pastoral Theologian who is author of four books, as an artist he has had four residencies in the US (3 of those at the Henry Luce III Centre for Arts and Religion Washington DC), accompanied by shows of his work. And over the past 13 years he has curated 12 Contemporary Stations of the Cross exhibitions with more than 150 leading Australian artists. </p>
<p>His most recent exhibition was ‘Echoes of the Land’ at Sheffer Gallery, Darlington in Sydney <a href="http://www.sheffergallery.com/exhibitions/Purnell/index.html"><strong>http://www.sheffergallery.com/exhibitions/Purnell/index.html</strong></a></p>
<p>Doug’s elective - <em>Playing with the idea of ‘cross’ in paint</em> - is a Workshop/Talk. He says about it “I had come back to my studio to work after a successful exhibition. Making new work was difficult. I was playing on small boards a little bit bigger than A4 size… and I was building on a response to a work in my show, that structurally was built around a ‘cross’ shape… so I began playing with the idea of ‘cross’ … only, my theology of ‘cross’ is changing radically… so I wondered, if I just played with the notion or construct of the cross in these paintings might I be helped to rethink my understanding of the cross… the images that emerged intrigued me and when I looked at the work what caught my attention was how figurative the cross became and how active the figure became… Later the cross became a bird, and later still more ideas emerged. I shared the work with friends and was excited by their responses.”</p>
<p>This workshop will share that journey with image, comment and conversation.</p>
<p>The Chapel Space: Blue Paintings.</p>
<p>As an artist, Doug Purnell will construct a small chapel space showing some of his recent work (there will be eight plus paintings). This will be a space for quiet reflection and meditation, where Doug as artist is offering paintings that open the idea of mystery.</p>
<p>A comment by Sean Scully about abstraction is very apt. “I should say something here about abstraction, about why I make abstract paintings. I agree with Kandinsky’s view that the depiction of the appearance of the real world somehow obstructs access to the spiritual domain. And it is that domain that I am trying to gain access to with my paintings. That is what I am always trying to address and that is why I paint abstractly.” (Sean Scully, Resistance and Persistence. Selected writings. Merrel, London, 2006, p 21) </p>
Rev Alexandra Sangster is a Minister of the Word with the Uniting Church in Australia and the minister at
<p>Rev Alexandra Sangster is a Minister of the Word with the Uniting Church in Australia and the minister at <a href="http://www.emergingchurch.net.au/">Fairfield Uniting Church</a> in Melbourne. She is a dynamic and powerful worship leader and preacher. You can hear some of her sermons via the Progressive Pods a <a href="http://www.emergingchurch.net.au/progressive-christian-podcast/" target="_blank">Progressive Christian Podcast</a>. </p>
<p>Alex is passionate about breaking open Story in ways that liberate, inspire and awaken and in ways, which create connections with the emerging church and those who are spiritually hungry but culturally anti–institution.</p>
<p>She is also the author of the <a href="http://progressivechristianity.org/resources/the-mystic-bible/">Mystic Bible</a> a theologically progressive Gospel for children published and sold by both the Victorian and American Progressive Christian networks.</p>
Rev John Smith is a recently retired Uniting Church minister who was ordained in 1974 in the Methodist Connexion. John has had a varied mini...
<h3>Rev John Smith is a recently retired Uniting Church minister who was ordained in 1974 in the Methodist Connexion. John has had a varied ministry including, welfare management, chaplaincy and parish ministry. As a trained social worker with a Masters degree from Flinders University John is best known for his pioneering work with children, especially those in need of care and protection, including young offenders. His pioneering work in assisting adults who have intellectual disabilities to become accepted and recognised for their abilities, has received national recognition. John was a welfare service manager for 27 years. </h3>
<p>He is a founding member of the Progressive Christian Network of Victoria and continues as a member on the state committee. He is also a founding member of Common Dreams Conferences and continues to serve on the Common Dreams General Committee. </p>
<p>He writes articles on the historical Jesus for faith communities and has co-edited with Rex Hunt on “Why Weren’t We Told? A handbook on progressive Christianity,” as well as “New Life Rediscovering Faith: Stories from progressive Christians”. His most recent book “Honest To GOoD Discerning the Sacred in the Secular” is the story of his personal journey in search of spiritual wholeness with intellectual integrity.</p>
<p>John’s elective, <em>Jesus and the Transforming Influence of Friendship</em>, is in presentation/lecture format including twenty minutes of open discussion, comments and questions from the audience.</p>
<p>This presentation will provide information on the values of the historical sage Jesus of Nazareth. Followed by the social evils that confront our society in this present day. The presentation will be followed by 20 minutes of open discussion. It will analyse the difference between a “progressive Christian” approach to understanding the message of Jesus as opposed to a conservative orthodox Christian understanding of a message about Jesus. This will be achieved by reflecting, not only on the words and actions of the historical Jesus, but by examining the values of compassion and acceptance shown in his relationships with the people he meets. The practical application of these values will then be compared to the values held by western civilization and in particular those values reflected by Christian orthodoxy. The values that will be explored are our response to the problems of: racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, the Australian government’s treatment of refugees & asylum seekers, sexism: (including domestic violence and abuse of women generally), social class and economic inequality. Finally, the session will address how these values can be challenged and changed through the transforming influence of friendship as shown in the life of the sage Jesus of Nazareth. <br></p>
Dr. Val (Skerman) Webb's career spans three countries and occupations as diverse as microbiology, business, public relations, art and religious st...
<h3>Dr. Val (Skerman) Webb's career spans three countries and occupations as diverse as microbiology, business, public relations, art and religious studies. She holds a graduate degree in Science (microbiology) from the University of Queensland and a Ph.D. in Theology from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. Born and educated in Brisbane, Val lived almost thirty years in the United States where her husband Maurice was a surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. </h3><p> During a period in Brisbane in the 1980's, Val held state and national positions in the Uniting Church in Australia, including Chair of the Queensland Synod Board for Education and Communication, and Superintendent of Communications and Resources for The Wesley Hospital. </p>
<p>Val has taught religious studies and world religions at universities in the United States and Australia and has written eleven books, including <em>Florence Nightingale: the making of a radical theologian; In Defence of Doubt: an invitation to adventure;</em> and <em>Stepping out with the Sacred: human attempts to engage the Divine</em>. Her book <em>Like Catching Water in a Net: human attempts to describe the Divine</em> won the "religion" category of the 2007 Best Books USA Awards. Val's latest book is <em>Testing Tradition and Liberating Theology: finding your own voice </em>(2015)<em>. </em></p>
<p>She has recently completed two speaking tours of progressive groups in the UK and continues her writing and speaking engagements here and overseas from her home in Mudgee, NSW where she and Maurice own an award-winning guesthouse (www.mudgeehomestead.com.au) run by one of their three children.</p>