Highlights of the 2021 President's Conference
The 2021 President’s Conference, hosted by Uniting Church President Dr Deidre Palmer, will be held from the 29th April – 2nd May.
Here's what some of the speakers are most excited about:
I love the theme of this President’s Conference! For me the most electric and inspiring reality on the planet is always bound up in the surprising and wonderful ways God gets hold of us as individuals and collectively as the Church. These profound stories are happening all the time right under our noses in the Uniting Church. Sometimes we don’t see what other parts are up to and how together we are part of a beautiful tapestry being woven together by a creative master. Spaces like this give us an important glimpse. Can’t wait!
Rev. Jesse Size, Minister, Para Hills UC, Adelaide
Rev. Radhika Sukumar-White
Minister, Leichhardt Uniting Church
"I'm looking forward to the upcoming President's conference to hear stories of ministry and calling from around the Uniting Church, particularly with how COVID-19 has impacted the whole church. I'm hoping to be inspired in my own ministry, and hope that my story can help inspire others. It's particularly great that some of us will be able to do this face-to-face!"
Rev. Adrian Sukumar-White
Minister & Uniting Church Chaplain (University of Sydney)
The theme of the conference is Christian vocation, inspired by one of the core themes of the Uniting Church – the commitment to recognising and celebrating the ministry of the whole people of God in the church and world. The call of God encompasses the whole of our lives, and we respond in many ways.
The conference will explore what this looks like in many forms, from local churches, agencies and schools, through to faithful people serving in their profession and living out their Christian discipleship in their relationships, families, communities, and daily life. It will highlight the joy of these many ministries, celebrating the amazing diversity of the Spirit’s creative action in our lives and the lives of others.
Here are five (and a half) reasons to get yourself to the President’s Conference this month:
Be nourished by Bible studies from leaders Dr Victoria Lorrimar and Rev Dr Ockert Meyer
Dr Victoria Lorrimar is lecturer of Systematic Theology at Trinity College Queensland. She thinks and works at the intersection of theology and science, with an undergraduate degree in genetics and biochemistry, a Masters of Divinity through the Australian College of Theology, and a PhD in theology and science from the University of Oxford.
Rev Dr Ockert Meyer is Lecturer in Preaching, Worship and Theology at UTC in Parramatta. He completed his doctoral studies at Stellenbosch University, in South Africa and Leiden University, in the Netherlands. An ordained Uniting Church Minister he has worked in congregations in South Africa, the Netherlands, and Australia. Ockert’s great love, and the focus of his research and teaching, is the art of preaching.
You can listen to Ockert speak on call and vocation as part of the series of webinars held last year which served as an introduction to the topics and discussions of this face-to-face conference in 2021.
Hear from those expressing discipleship through gifts of creativity and the arts
The conference will hear from a range of people and groups whose sense of call is bound up with creative ministries such as music, theatre and art.
The MiniM (Ministry in Music) Choir, conducted by Rev Jenni Hughes, is a community of people from many different churches and denominations connected through a shared love of music and friendship that sings together, prays together and creates music that is moving and celebratory.
Based in the wider Adelaide Metro area, the Subtle Bricks Theatre Company is an amateur theatre company which supports worship, events and concerts through performance and script writing. Members come from a wide range of backgrounds, sharing a passion for the Gospel, performing and working together to create something good.
It will also hear from visual artist Karan Hudson, musician and poet Rev Dr Sean Gilbert, and musicians and vocalists Rev Radhika Sukumar-White and Rev Charissa Suli.
Reflect on the expression of faith and discipleship in the public sphere
Reflecting on God’s call to meaningful engagement with the world around us, the conference will hold a panel discussion with Rev Sandy Boyce (Minister at Pilgrim UC, Adelaide and President of Diakonia World Federation), Assoc. Prof. Lorna Hallahan (social worker and disability advocate), Mark Henley (Manager of Advocacy and Communications for Uniting Communities, Adelaide), Prof. Dr Ian Olver (medical oncologist, cancer researcher, bio-ethicist, and Lay Preacher), and Dr Sureka Goringe (National Director of UnitingWorld). We are reminded that God’s call invites us in every aspect of life to engage justly and compassionately, which can lead us to public advocacy and vocations in the public sphere.
Hear stories from people responding to the call to discipleship in various vocations
This conference is a celebration of ‘every member ministry’, and an opportunity to hear and affirm the vast range of activities which are for Christians the context for their call. Dr Joanna Palmer, Jordan Sumner, Rhanee Tsetsakos, and Emma Dubrich will take part in a panel discussion on living out Christian vocation, sharing how they are using their lives to participate in God’s mission in the world.
Share in the joy of our own call stories and the call stories of others
Each of us brings to the discussion of call and vocation a rich and complex story. The conference will make space for people to share their personal journeys of faith, and the pathways they have followed in response to God’s call. It will invite people to reflect on the ways God’s call is discerned personally and in community, and how we are sustained by God and others as we live our Christian vocation in daily life.
Bonus: the conference will be held at U City in the heart of Adelaide, surrounded by good coffee, eateries, and a short two minute walk from both the Adelaide Central Market and Victoria Square. Nourish your heart and mind in a beautiful location.
Join the conversation using #calledbygoduca