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2015 Conference

The 2015 Conference will take place at Whitley Theological College in Melbourne on 1, 2, 3 December 2015.

The theme is – New Horizons: Ministry in a Questioning Age.

In due course there will be a call for papers and ideas for workshops etc.


Keynote Speakers

Dr Emily Click: Harvard Divinity School, Boston, MA, USA
Dr Les Ball: Brisbane College of Divinity and Sydney College of Divinity
Rev. Dr Kevin Ward: Knox College, New Zealand



Conference Program

Download the Conference Program


Elective Workshops:


Session 1: 2pm Tuesday 1 December 2015

Presenter: Emily Click, Harvard Divinity School, Boston, MA

Title: Theological Reflection on Relational Wisdom and Field Education



This workshop will continue discussion on the theme of her keynote address, focusing on theological reflection about the parts of our work that demand relational wisdom. What do we learn about Christ’s teachings when we structure difficult conversations? What stories of the faith can prove an animating force as we make meaning of the extraordinary challenges field educators witness? How have we seen our own faith either deepen or wither? As field educators, we bridge our academic institutions’ values and purposes with the work of the church. Our unique vantage point potentially can split apart our faith and our work to efficiently administer or attend to broken relationships. This will be an opportunity to infuse everything we do with the gifts God continues to give in our life of faith.



Presenter: Sean Gilbert, Uniting College, Adelaide

Title: The Promise and Synergy of Integrative learning: Reflections on Recent Classroom Experience



In what Trygve David Johnson describes as a period ‘twilight’ (between the dusk of one age and the dawn of another), education for ministry practice is itself reaching forward into a shaded unknown. Released from linear and highly rational constraints of modernism, it is in constant need of re-imagination, if not experimentation.

At Uniting College, SA, as a two-phase core element of the Bachelor of Ministry program, I have been teaching Integrative Ministry Practice for 3 years. Through it, we examine pivotal aspects of the Christian life, e.g., hope, compassion, imagination, each in conversation with present Field Education experience, contemporary culture, bible, theology and tradition.

The dynamism of such conscious integration, both in thought and practice, has revolutionised approaches and dispositions toward the multifaceted ministry of Christ. I would like to share something of that pedagogical experience and trajectory with the Conference.

* Trygve, David Johnson. The Preacher as Liturgical Artist. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014.



Presenter: Anne Mallaby, Whitley College, Melbourne

Title: Art: A Conversation Partner in the Supervisory process



Interaction with art has the potential to challenge, shape and transform each of us.  What goes on as people are drawn to reflect upon art?  Does reflection upon questions of meaning unfold, and if so, is this reflection inherently theological?  Is it possible that the outcome of seeing is transformation, if so, how might art and more broadly, the arts, become part of the supervisory process. Indeed, how might art claim a significant voice in our theological education, as we re-frame the church for the future?



Presenter: Kathy Mayes, Laidlaw College, Christchurch, NZ

Title: Training and Resourcing Ministry Supervisors, so they are able to support students for new modes of ministry engagement



One of the changing horizons in ministry over recent years has been the subtle shift in emphasis from task and knowledge to connection and meaning making. 

Going forward, the academy will rightly continue to focus on knowledge and the ministry placement on task, but ministry supervisors will be key to learning for connection and meaning making.

In order to do this the supervisor requires a repertoire of methods to enable them to facilitate this learning which involves the drawing together of the student’s personal, spiritual, professional, ministerial, theological and academic formation.

This workshop will look at ways of understanding the supervisory role in this new milieu and to offer signposts to methods that can be used in a supervisory conversation.  



Session 2: 4pm Tuesday 1 December 2015

Presenters: Linda and Graeme Flett, Laidlaw College, Christchurch, NZ

Title: Integrative Conversations for Team Leadership



Complexity in congregational life and shifts in culture mean that the ability to work well in a team context is an essential rather than optional element of congregational leadership. How do we create a learning process that emphasises not only orthopraxy, but also offers the opportunity to integrate orthodoxy and foster growth in orthopathy? This workshop presents the integrative frames in use at Laidlaw College and explores these through the lens of five conversational spaces in use in one internship module. In each space it is intended that the transformation process be implicit as well as explicit in order to expand the student’s capacity for team leadership.



Presenter: Cecilia Francis, Trinity College Theological School, Melbourne

Title: ‘Who I am, Where I am’: the significance of Field Education placements in formation for ministry



The interface between identity and context is pivotal in the formation of students through Field Education placements. This includes how such matters are addressed in supervision, through theological reflection and in how theological studies and the practice of ministry are integrated. The identity/context interface is the source of both proactive and reactive influences for the student’s envisaging of future ministry and how they might engage others in innovative ministry practice in a changed and changing environment.

The workshop will explore key elements of this interface in students’ experience as well as some initiatives in the formation processes at Trinity College Theological School to address emerging issues. This will include attention to the strengthening of integration in preparation for leadership in a variety of contexts, including significant factors for training in ministry supervision.




Presenter: Murray House, Avondale College, NSW

Title: Adding Research to Field Education



This workshop will examine potential areas of research in Field Education such as pedagogical practices, outcome based Work Integrated Learning, Service learning, and the formative impact of the mentoring process. Interdisciplinary forays investigating links with emotional intelligence and intercultural learning will provide new insights that could spark fresh ideas for research. During the workshop, participants will be given opportunity to partner with others also interested in their areas of research. Funding sources will be suggested for participants to explore.



Presenter: Bruce Hulme, Tabor, Adelaide

Title: When dragons lurk: liminality and formation in theological reflection



TR seeks to answer faith-life questions arising from experience, but if it becomes overly solution-oriented, liminal spaces can be too easily avoided. Like Peter, students who step out of the boat may find themselves fearful of the “dragons” TR often generates—such as paradox or deeper questions—lurking beneath a heaving and uncertain surface. Crossing the spiritual, theological and ministerial limen in TR can be uncomfortable, but is worth persevering with, since such liminality is often pivotal in Christian formation. This workshop draws upon our collective stories and wisdom to explore the role of liminality in TR, and the pastoral implications for learning and teaching in practical theology.



Session 3: 2pm Wednesday 2 December 2015

Presenter: Les Ball, Research Fellow, University of Qld

Title: Pedagogical Approaches to Integrative Practical Theology



If SFE is to be an effectual arena for the ideal of theologically integrated praxis, pedagogical approaches to SFE need to be attuned to that end. Traditional methods of “learning by doing” need to be continually reviewed to ensure a learning experience that is faithful to its received values and relevant to its contemporary contexts. This workshop explores a variety of pedagogical methods appropriate to SFE that are conducive to the attainment of the desired goal of a theologically integrated graduate equipped to face the ever-increasing critical challenges of ministry in a questioning age. Participants will address various scenarios and will work in pairs/small groups to apply a variety of learning and teaching methods to specified learning objectives in SFE.



Presenter: Graham O’Brien, Bishopdale Theological College, Nelson, NZ

Title: Reflective Practice for Post-ordination Professional Development



The continuing professional development of ordained ministers is an important concept given the ever-changing nature of ministry and society as a whole.  The current model of training in the Anglican Diocese of Nelson is a one-day training event each month over a 3-year cycle, with input provided by speakers and discussion based on 5 key areas that are important for ministry: Church Practices; Leadership and Management; Pastoral Care; Age-Specific Ministries; Self Care. 

The proposed scenario for change seeks to embed reflective practice as the central method for the professional development of ordained ministers, thereby extending reflective practice from training and into the mode of life-long learning.  Components of this approach would include:

  • Intentional reflective practice as the central methodology.

  • Communities of practice as the central location for reflective practice.

  • Facilitation as the central mechanism for reflective practice.


Presenter: Kevin Ward, Knox Centre, Dunedin, NZ

Title: Congregational systems, emotional intelligence and ministry formation



Understanding ourselves and how we relate to others with whom we are connected by virtue of the systems we are in, is emerging as one of the critical dimensions in forming people who will do well as leaders in ministry in a time of ‘heightened anxiety’.

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