The national Catholic social services conference, Serving Communities with Courage and Compassion, covered a range of topics that impact those working in the sector, and those we serve. They included sessions on Catholic social services journeying effectively with our First Peoples, housing and the homeless, children and vulnerable people, regional Australians and those impacted by domestic violence, disability and/or the justice system, and much more.
Coverage of conference topics, included:
Mission at the Margins – The Call to Uncommon Courage; Debra Zanella presents closing keynote, CSSV, 2 March 2020 – Zanella explored the role of modern-day prophets amidst the current milieu of Catholic social service provision. As CEO of Ruah Community Services and President of the Western Australian Council of Social Services, Debra was able to bring both her vast experience and learnings from key influential people to the table, as she implored those present to do the same.
Building a strong future for Catholic social services, CSSV, 2 March 2020 – A clear highlight of Friday morning’s sessions at the conference, was the panel of young leaders of Catholic organisations who gave a fresh perspective to the notion of a ‘way forward in mission’.
Safeguarding everyone in the Church today and into the future, CSSV, 2 March 2020 – The roll-out of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards for the protection of children, as presented by CEO of Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) Sheree Limbrick at the Friday morning session of the conference, was an interesting and topical subject.
Sullivan lays out challenges facing the church, CathNews (David Halliday/Melbourne Catholic), 28 February 2020 – “Taking the side of impoverished and disenfranchised people is not an option for Gospel-inspired organisations. It is a mainstay of the mission,” according to Francis Sullivan.
Serving Communities with Courage and Compassion – Francis Sullivan delivers opening keynote, Melbourne Catholic, 27 February 2020 – “Taking the side of impoverished and disenfranchised people is not an option for Gospel-inspired organisations. It is a mainstay of the mission,” said Francis Sullivan, former CEO of the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council for the opening keynote address of the biennial Catholic Social Services national conference.
Church governance needs to walk the walk, by Prof John Warhurst, EurekaStreet, 25 February 2020 – Catholic church governance suffers considerable dilemmas. The clue to its problems comes from the challenging recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to review ‘the governance and management structures of dioceses and parishes, including in relation to issues of transparency, accountability, consultation and the participation of lay men and women’. In doing so the RC noted with some approval the approaches to governance of largely lay-led Catholic health, community services and education agencies.
Embracing First Nations voices in the Church, by John Lochowiak, EurekaStreet, 24 February 2020 – Pope Francis’ ‘Querida Amazonia’ (Beloved Amazonia) has been warmly received by many members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic community. The tone of the exhortation is reflective of the position that underpins our vision for the Church in Australia — a Church that is open to the gifts of First Nations Catholics, honest to the past and embracing of a new way of thinking that utilizes the principle of subsidiarity.
Catholic Church’s response to natural disasters, CSSV, 19 February 2020 – The Australian community is facing the challenge of recovering from a summer of natural disasters ― fires, floods and drought. Many Catholic agencies have been involved in providing relief to affected communities. Dr Ursula Stephens, CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia; Jack de Groot, CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW; and Janet Cribbes who headed up the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s response to the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires (through CentaCare) present on this topic.
Challenges in governing contemporary Catholic ministries, by Prof. John Warhurst, CSSV, 16 February 2020 – Prof Warhurst is leading a workshop on this topic, Governance for Mission, with Katherine Juric from Catholic Church Insurances. “Governance of contemporary Catholic agencies is a challenging and critically important ministry of service,” writes Prof. Gabrielle McMullen AM. “Governance-wise, the Church is doing better in some areas than others.” McMullen discusses a workshop being led by Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University, John Warhurst AO, at the upcoming national Catholic social services conference.
Still a long way to go in ending family violence by Felicity Rorke, EurekaStreet, 14 February 2020 – The Royal Commission into Family Violence conducted by the Victorian Government in 2015, told many of us what we fundamentally already knew — that family violence is a widespread issue for many women across this state, and that our services, systems, institutions and communities are not doing enough to effectively support victim survivors. Felicity Rorke is Executive Director of Good Samaritan Inn.
Parishes as centres of social services, CSSV, 13 February 2020 – This workshop, Parishes as an Integral Part of Social Services, will be led by Mark Phillips, CEO of CatholicCare Sydney; Cathy Hammond, Executive Manager Mission and Outreach, CatholicCare Sydney; and Alana Crouch, Director, Catholic Early EdCare. Former executive director of Catholic Social Services Victoria, Denis Fitzgerald, will chair the workshop on Thursday 27th February, from 3:30pm – 5:00pm.
Hopeful vision for better NDIS, CathNews, 12 February 2020 – An adequately resourced disability support system has taken nearly 50 years to establish and will probably take even more time to fully implement, writes Helen Burt.
Hopeful vision for a better NDIS by Helen Burt, EurekaStreet, 10 February – The Royal Commission into Family Violence conducted by the Victorian Government in 2015, told many of us what we fundamentally already knew — that family violence is a widespread issue for many women across this state, and that our services, systems, institutions and communities are not doing enough to effectively support victim survivors.
Sullivan to deliver keynote at national conference, CathNews, 30 January 2020 – Francis Sullivan, the former chief of the Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, will re-state Pope Francis’ call for the Church to go out to the margins at a national conference next month. Read keynote, here.
Francis Sullivan’s keynote, Margin Call – The Risk of Integrity, CSSV, 28 January 2020 – Sullivan’s keynote, Margin Call ― The Risk of Integrity, the address will present a challenging overview of the state of Australian society and the Australian Catholic Church and explore the root of our calling to serve in ministries of the Church.
The bastard subsidiarity of bushfires responses by Andrew Hamilton SJ, EurekaStreet, 28 January 2020 – After disasters the media generally focus on the courage of the people affected by them and the compassion of the public response to them. That focus often changes to complaints about how slow, inadequate and flawed are the responses to it. The change of attention is natural as the energy needed to meet the immediate crisis wanes, and the scale of what has been lost and must be rebuilt becomes clear.
Looking forward to the national Catholic social services conference, focussing on the opening Wednesday night forum, CSSV, 1 December 2020 – This plenary, from 6:00pm – 8:30pm, will draw on the enduring wisdom, strength and resilience of our First Peoples. It will capture the lessons learned from the past ten years of Closing the Gap and will address how each of the targets are interconnected. Speakers include Helen Christensen, Indigenous Education Officer, Catholic Education Melbourne; Helen Kennedy, Chief Operations Officer, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation; and Henry Williams, Reintegration Team Leader, Centacare Kimberley.
Sector looks to close leadership gap, CathNews, 18 November 2020 – Engaging with emerging leaders within Catholic social services has to become a key part of strategic thinking among chief executives and “not just a nice thought”, according to a chief executive working in the sector.
Actively engaging with young professionals and emerging leaders at national conference, Fiona Basile/ CSSV, 17 November 2020 – Engaging with young professionals and emerging leaders within Catholic social services has to become a key part of strategic thinking among CEOs and “not just a nice thought”, according to Mark Monahan, Executive Officer of Edmund Rice Services – Mount Atkinson.
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