Exploring our precarious times
Learn more about one of the key themes of the 2023 President's Conference
June 21, 2023
There is now just over a month until the 2023 President’s Conference, to be hosted by Uniting Church President Rev Sharon Hollis from 26-30 July at Redcliffe Uniting Church, north of Brisbane.
The President’s Conference is a great national opportunity to gather with others across the Uniting Church to connect, share our stories and reflect on how God is present and working in our Church and our ministry.
The 2023 conference is taking place in two parts: 26-28 July for ministry agents in a placement, and 28-30 July for the whole church.
"We will explore what it means for prayer to be at the very heart of precarious times"
Uniting Church minister Rev Dr Cathie Lambert is the Education Co-ordinator (Ordained Ministries) and Principal of Perth Theological Hall in the Synod of Western Australia. She is also a scholar of Beguine mystics and a spiritual director. Drawing on these two rich areas, Cathie will offer two keynote presentations during the first part of the conference as part of a focus on ‘ministry in precarious times’.
“The word ‘precarious’ has its roots in the mid-seventeenth century Latin word “precarius” meaning to obtain by asking or praying,” she said. “In precarious times we can often feel alone, however, the word itself implies a dependency on another.”
“The beguine mystics of the thirteenth century also lived in precarious times. For these women, their status made life uncertain and dangerous.”
“During our time together at the President’s Conference we will explore what we can learn from their courage and faithfulness. Their dependency on God and on their male supporters provides an interesting place from which to explore how we minister to ourselves and to others in precarious times.
“In the first presentation we will explore what it means for prayer to be at the very heart of precarious times. In the second presentation we will look more closely at how we walk together through these times and the vulnerability in doing so. Throughout, we will draw on words of wisdom from the beguine mystics that still ring true today.”
In a Q&A about the conference themes, President Rev Sharon Hollis said that this focus on ‘precariousness’ seeks to name how ministry feels fragile and hard for many across our Church at this time.
“COVID was demanding in many ways and is still demanding. There is a lot of grief about the decline in much of the church. Ministry itself is becoming increasingly demanding. As ministers we are called to accompany people through their hardest days and most joyous moments.”
“At the same time, we know that God is with us, so this is a time to reflect together about how we can know God’s call and presence in our ministry.”
“We’ll ponder how, in all of our experiences, the Incarnation is God’s loving entry into the precariousness of human life and how the good news of Jesus strengthens us and gives us hope.”
Registrations for the President’s Conference are open. For all enquiries contact us at PresidentsConference23@nat.uca.org.au