On the Friday and Saturday afternoons of the conference, you will have the opportunity to choose from elective workshops covering a wide range of topics.
These workshops are a great opportunity for conversation, participation, and sharing in small groups – and for exploring things you might not have tried before!
To help you choose, we have provided a short description of each workshop and information about the workshop leaders.
If you have registered for the conference and would like to make a booking for your preferred workshops, please get the access to the booking page by contacting Julianne at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Longing, Listening, Learning and Loving in the Way of Christ: the promise and potential of Receptive Ecumenism for our life and mission
We will take time for shared theological reflection through art, music & conversation for:
- nurturing a disposition of learning, rather than telling, recognising that all have amazing gifts to share and receive;
- noticing and responding to processes or structures that diminish or extinguish the light of Christ;
- healing division, from within as well as across the churches;
- growing and flourishing as a seamless sign of love in, with and for our world, in the way of Christ.
Geraldine moved to Australia from Scotland with her husband, Paul, and their two children in 1988 and is part of the Catholic community in Salisbury.
For several years she worked alongside the then Archbishop of Adelaide, as part of a 4 member Team, exercising shared leadership in the Governance & Pastoral Care of the Archdiocese, a wonderful experience and unique model of collaboration and collegiality in the Catholic Church.
Other roles have included:
- Australian Catholic Bishops Conference: Inaugural Chair, Commission for Women, and Advisor on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations;
- Chaplain, Synod Office, Uniting Church SA;
- Executive Director, St Paul’s City Ministry, an ecumenical centre for ethics in business and government;
- Mentor and Prayer Companion;
- Education Guide, Art Gallery of SA and many other community involvements.
Geraldine continues her deep commitment to the prayer for unity locally, as Ecumenical Facilitator, South Australian Council of Churches, as Secretary for Leaders of Christian Churches SA, and in various national and international settings.
Beyond doodling in the Margins
Doodling is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes when you are in conversation or sitting listening to Conference Speakers it’s just not quite enough.
Here is an open ended opportunity to find space to respond further using art materials. There may be various paints, canvas, papers, charcoal, collage, pastels, pencils, wool, fabrics, wood, string and some found objects.
No level of expertise is required, simply the desire to make something. Work alone or with a partner.
I’ll be there to help you get started and we may need to drink tea. Make of this what you will.
Some things we make just might find their way into our closing session.
Karan paints and draws in acrylic, charcoal, water colour, ink, pastel and various combinations of thereof. As an exhibiting member and Vice President of the Pastel Artists of South Australia ( PASA ) Karan plays with figurative, landscape and semi abstracted art projects including mosaics and murals.
In her day job she supports students with Special Needs and teaches Lego Robotics and Visual Art as Enrichment in a primary school.
Karan has substantial investments in a long marriage, two young adult offspring, longstanding friendships, one cat, a superb apricot tree, a veggie patch, the worshipping community at Brougham Place Uniting Church and a quite untidy house.
The XX factor – women as agents of change
“Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.” United Nations, 2015
Around the world women and girls continue to be affected by discrimination, poverty and violence. The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations in September 2015, call the global community to action on gender equality, with targets related to eliminating discrimination and violence against women and girls, and enhancing women’s participation and leadership at all levels in all aspects of life.
UnitingWorld is committed to actively promoting gender equality and the meaningful participation of people from marginalised groups in all programs, including women and girls with disability and from minority groups. In this workshop Steph Dalton from UnitingWorld and Junior Vutoyi from UnitingWorld’s partner in Zimbabwe, MeDRA, will run a number of hands-on activities and share stories that will help participants understand the challenges women and girls face around the world, and the positive and life-changing role women and girls play in promoting sustainable change in communities made vulnerable by poverty.
Junior is the Program Officer at Methodist Development and Relief Agency (MeDRA), the community development and humanitarian arm of the Methodist Church Zimbabwe. In her role she is responsible for all of MeDRA’s projects, including providing clean water and improved sanitation to rural communities in Zimbabwe and supporting people living in poverty to earn a living through sustainable, income generating activities. In her role Junior also oversees and advocates for the integration of key cross-cutting issues into MeDRA’s work, including the protection of children, inclusion of people with disability and ensuring gender justice is achieved in all work.
UnitingWorld has worked with MeDRA for the last decade, supporting the organisation to further its goal of improving the quality of life and well-being of marginalised people in Zimbabwe. She is a passionate advocate of women’s leadership and role in the development process. Junior is married and has two young children.
Steph has been a part of the UnitingWorld team for nearly 5 years – first as a volunteer and then as a member of staff. Steph feels strongly about working with communities here in Australia and overseas to see a world where all people’s voices are heard and people have equal access to opportunities.
Steph’s current role within UnitingWorld’s Relief and Development Unit is Manager – Learning and Effectiveness and South Asia. In this role she works closely with our partners in India and Sri Lanka as they implement community development projects. She also helps UnitingWorld program staff and partners develop better Monitoring and Evaluation practices, helping us become organisations which learn well and help bring about change through effective projects.
Steph has completed a Bachelor of International Studies majoring in Development Studies, including an Honours year which saw her undertake research in Johannesburg, South Africa, focusing on the participation of civil society in urban regeneration projects. She is married to Curt and, when not travelling overseas visiting UnitingWorld’s partners, lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Where will women lead the church?
This workshop will explore how women’s stories are a powerful and energising source for leadership.
Women bring different perspectives and models of leadership. Their insight and strength often borne from experiences of pain and rejection brought about through cultural prejudices and practices of exclusion. Through the different conversational voices of women from the Pacific and the diaspora, this workshop will take you on a moving journey of how stories (painful stories) have become sources of courage and transformation for women and their communities. The workshop will invite participants to explore how their own stories and experiences have shaped, informed and influenced their understanding and practice of leadership in the church and community. It will provoke the question – Where will women lead the church – next?
Rev Maleta Rumaroti – Secretary for Mission at Kiribati Uniting Church (KUC).
Maleta graduated from Motufoua Secondary School, Tuvalu in 1983 and applied immediately for a scholarship, only to learn that the Tuvalu Church did not accept women as pastors. Without losing faith, she returned to her parents in Nauru with the hope that God would provide a way for her to serve Him as men do. It was not until 1987 after sitting an entrance exam to Tangintebu Theological College, Kiribati, that she finally entered the college, trained as a pastor, met her husband and chose to serve with the Kiribati Uniting Church. In 2009 Rev Maleta graduated from University of the South Pacific with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Sociology and Psychology. She was appointed by the KUC to serve in the Church and Society Desk, was assigned Acting Secretary for Mission in 2011 and in 2012 secured the role of Secretary for Mission. UnitingWorld supports KUC development and leadership programs.
Rev Dr Sef Carroll – Manager, Pacific Church Partnerships, UnitingWorld
Sef is a Fiji born Rotuman who spent her formative years growing up in Lautoka, the Western side of Viti Levu in Fiji. These experiences continue to inform Sef’s theological reflection on interfaith and cross-cultural relationships, gender and culture. Having lived in Australia since 1987, Sef has always maintained connections with the Pacific, particularly Pacific Islanders living in the diaspora. This includes work with the Pacific Island Women’s Advocacy Services, South Pacific Association of Theological Schools, Pacific theologies conference, Association of Oceanian Women Theologians and Alan Walker College of Evangelism. Her ministry has included work with congregations of Five Dock/Drummoyne, Caves Beach, St Clair and MLC School. Sef is also a sessional lecturer at the United Theological College, Charles Sturt University, teaching cross cultural theologies and interfaith dialogue. Sef is a Uniting Church minister and is currently Manager, Church Partnerships, Pacific at UnitingWorld.
DR sureka goringe – associate director, church connections, unitingworld
Sureka has been an Australian for 22 years, arriving here via university in England, and a childhood in Botswana, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka(where she was born). Her academic training and first career was in science, and she has over 15 years of experience in new product development in the technology sector. Sureka has served in the Uniting Church as a youth leader, elder, church council member and previous Chair of the National Committee of UnitingWorld Relief & Development. In response to a long-felt calling (or a mid-life crisis), Sureka changed career direction three years ago to explore work in the community sector. In an unplanned turn of events, she became the leader of the team who organised the first UnitingWomen conference in September 2014 in Sydney, and currently serves as the Associate Director, Church Connections at UnitingWorld, the Uniting Church agency for international partnerships and mission. Sureka PhD in Materials Science, is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, is the wife of a UCA minister, and the mother of two kids and a dog.
Stories of Women in the Gospel of Mark
This elective explores why feminist approaches to the Gospel are still important in a post-feminist era.
Issues like violence against women, the lack human rights and modern day slavery all have everything to do with the importance of feminism — it is not about women who hate men. So we’ll spend some time exploring Jesus’ view of women — how he related to women like us —and how that is important in understanding what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We will give particular attention to Jairus’ daughter & the haemorrhaging woman (Mark 5:21-43); the dancing daughter (Mark 6:14-29) and the Syrophoenician Woman (Mark 7:24-30).
Keeping the glass half full
Sharonne Price, until recently, has been the Executive Officer of Pastoral Relations and Mission Planning in the Presbytery/Synod of South Australia. Alongside her love for the Church, however, is a passion for her beloved family – children, their partners and her grandchildren, as well as Ian, her partner of over forty years. Sharonne worked for many years in palliative care, and then in hospital chaplaincy. She has witnessed the power of hopefulness many times. This elective will review the current understandings of hope from the world of psychology, and offer simple ways to communicate, understand and access this sometimes elusive gift.
A capable wife who can find?
Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler
REV DR amelia koh-butler
Beyond Violence: Toward a human community of mutuality, equality and respect.
The early Jesus movement has been described as a “discipleship of equals”. Jesus’ call was one of radical inclusion. He welcomed people whose voice was diminished or silenced, into the community of the people of God. This workshop will explore the shape of the Christian community today and our call to prophetic lives embodying relationships that reflect the life-giving Gospel of Christ.
We will explore the impacts of domestic and family violence on our societies and cultures. We will discuss societal and cultural understandings of women and men, girls and boys, and together explore ways we, as followers of Christ, may contribute to relationships and communities of healing, mutuality, equality and respect.
This workshop will include a focus on the Uniting Church in SA’s “Beyond Violence” campaign.
Dr Deidre palmer
Advocacy: exploring the various ways people can be engaged in shaping a more just and compassionate society.
rev. elenie poulos – national director
Reverend Elenie Poulos is a Minister of the Uniting Church in Australia. She was appointed National Director in 2002. She attends Pitt Street Uniting Church in Sydney.
Elenie represented the Uniting Church at the World Council of Churches General Assembly in Port Alegre, Brazil in 2006 and is a member of the World Council of Churches’ Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA). Elenie is also actively engaged with the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) as a member and past Chair of the Commission responsible for Act for Peace, the NCCA’s international aid and development agency, and a member of the Social Justice Network. She is also a member of the Board of ANDI, the project to develop a wellbeing index for Australia.
Prior to her current position with the National Assembly, Elenie was School Chaplain at MLC School Burwood, NSW, for six years. She has a professional background in book publishing and an academic background in linguistics (BA Hons), language in education (MA), and theology (BTh). She is a doctoral student at Macquarie University studying public theology and human rights.
Diversity and gender inclusion in the workplace
Sustaining hope as a social worker (or other professional/ health/ community service worker)
If our work is with people who are vulnerable and faced with many challenges, how do we go on supporting them in finding hope? How do we sustain hopefulness if services are over-stretched or systems make unjust decisions? Can we make space for our own hopefulness to survive and grow, in and around our work?
This workshop will provide an opportunity to reflect together about these sorts of issues, and share ideas, approaches and possibilities.
Helen Whittington is a social worker and family therapist, and has worked in a number of settings, for many years with Centacare Catholic Family Services in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. She has had various counselling roles, particularly with families and children impacted by abuse and trauma, as well as periods as a program manager, a clinical supervisor, and (currently) a consultant. Helen had a strong partnership with her husband, in parenting their two sons and in ministry. In her husband’s later illness Helen was his carer until his death in 2009. She is part of the worship and community life at Enfield Uniting Church.
Mindfulness and value-based living
Mindfulness has gained a lot of attention and popularity in recent years. During this workshop we will explore what mindfulness is and how to apply mindfulness to everyday life. These mindfulness skills can be used to increase awareness of our daily experiences and to focus on the present moment rather than being distracted by common worries or unhelpful thoughts. We will create a space for mindful exploration of a range of questions including What are your values? What or who is most important to you? What gives your life meaning?
The answers to these questions will help participants to pursue a future which is guided by values, purpose and meaning.
Dr. AMANDA HUTCHINSON
Dr Amanda Hutchinson is a clinical psychologist and lecturer at the University of South Australia. She works in private practice in Adelaide with particular emphasis on the treatment of anxiety, depression and stress-related issues in adults. Amanda is passionate about helping people to pursue their values and find meaning in everyday life. Her research interests include health psychology, cancer prevention, cognition and cancer, and mindfulness. Amanda has 30 publications related to psychology and health and is also involved with the Psycho-oncology Cooperative Research Group (PoCoG) at both a national and state level.
Having the courage to live a creative life
I’ve often heard people say, ‘I wish I was creative, but I’m not’, however I’ve decided no one isn’t creative, for we are the creations of the Creator God. We get in our own way, we listen to the critical voice within that thinks what we offer won’t be good enough.
This workshop offers you the chance to play, experiment and discover.
There will be stations of art and writing materials, ideas of how they might be used and I will be there encouraging you to dismiss that inner critic and have a go at whatever takes your fancy. We may even talk about stuff.
Hi, I’m Neryl. I live with a clever German, two university students, a fluffy, white dog, and several bicycles. I’m attempting to live a creative life, to make time for the arts I feel called to practice – writing and the visual arts mainly, though I’ve been known to be dramatic. I’m frustrated when words materialize and I don’t have something to write with/on, so I’ve got notepads and writing implements everywhere. I’m privileged to be able to use my creativity with the Centre for Music, Liturgy and the Arts and within my church community, and at this conference in the worship team. My favourite thing is to spend time with a treasury of friends.