President's Conference 2023
Rev Sharon Hollis answers our questions about what we can look forward to in July
May 24, 2023
It’s just over two months until the 2023 President’s Conference, taking place in two parts 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 stories and reflect on how God is present and working in our Church and our ministry. Early bird registration closes on 31 May, so make sure you get yours in!
This week we caught up with President Rev Sharon Hollis to find out more about the conference and what we can look forward to.
"I’m looking forward to taking time out to hear wonderful speakers, meet with members of the Uniting Church and be encouraged for my own ministry"
The first part of the Conference will explore the theme, ‘Ministry in precarious times.’ What do we mean by precarious times? What are some of the marks of this?
This part of the conference seeks to name how ministry can feel fragile and hard at the moment. There are many layers to this. 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.
What might we reflect on in this part of the conference that may resonate with people who minister in the Uniting Church?
We will reflect on the complexity of ministry which all ministers will know something about, with its mixture of joy, pain, grief and hope. We’ll explore the impact of grief and loss and some practices which can support us in these precarious times. 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.
I’m also delighted in this part of the conference to have input from poet, novelist and feminist theologian Rev Canon Dr Rachel Mann and Uniting Church minister Rev Dr Cathie Lambert who is a scholar of Beguine mystics and spiritual director.
How will the second part of the conference tap into the All of this Is Us theme?
‘All of this is us’ is a phrase that emerged out of the 40th Anniversary of the Uniting Church. It’s a way of capturing the many different ministries and expressions of life and faith that make up who we are. As people from across the Uniting Church, together we represent that diversity and can share and learn from each other.
Through panels, we’ll also be hearing from a range of people about the innovative work of the Assembly and other parts of our Church in areas like the Covenant, remote area ministry, church partnerships, community services and disability. All of that is us!
What would be a big drawcard for people to this part of the conference?
I hope people will be enriched by the opportunity to meet with people from across the Uniting Church and to hear great speakers who will reflect on the diverse ways they exercise their discipleship and participate in the life of the Uniting Church.
I am excited that Uniting Church biblical scholar and minister Rev Dr Sally Douglas will join us for this part of the conference to help us reflect on what makes for healthy, life-giving communities of faith. I hope this will be learning that people can carry back with them to their own communities.
What are you looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to taking time out to hear wonderful speakers, meet with members of the Uniting Church and be encouraged for my own ministry.
Early bird registration for the President’s Conference closes on 31 May.
The draft timetable is now available.