Following the success of previous biennial conferences, Catholic Social Services Victoria and Catholic Social Services Australia are again partnering to present Serving Our Communities with Courage and Compassion. The conference will be held at the Catholic Leadership Centre, Victoria Parade, East Melbourne on 26-28 February 2020.
A significant element of the conference will be the opening plenary session on the evening of 26 February which will focus on the Indigenous voice and reconciliation. This forum, titled Beyond Surviving to Truthfully Thriving: Continuing our Journey of Listening in Truth and Justice, will draw on the enduring wisdom, strength and resilience of Australia’s First Peoples. It will seek to capture the lessons learned from the past ten years of the Closing the Gap program, which was established by government to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The plenary will look, in particular, at how each of the program’s targets is interconnected. Significantly, the next phase of the Closing the Gap initiative needs to be guided by the principles of empowerment and self-determination which are so closely aligned to the mission of Catholic social services.
Specifically, this session will assist participants to grow in their awareness of and responses to the social marginalisation of Australia’s First Peoples, to learn to listen and respond in truth and justice, and to increase their understanding of how the Catholic social services sector can more creatively and effectively journey with Australia’s First Peoples towards true reconciliation.
The Serving Our Communities with Courage and Compassion conference will also include sessions on exemplars of courageous and compassionate service, enacting mission at the margins, implementing child safety, eco-justice, addressing homelessness, best practice in governance, the Plenary Council, and fostering emerging leaders. During the conference dinner, Ursula Stephens, recently appointed CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia, will deliver the 2020 Mary MacKillop Oration. The conference will conclude a media masterclass on engaging media to advance mission.
For further information and bookings, see https://www.css.org.au/Serving-Communities.
Gabrielle McMullen AM
Catholic Social Services conference committee