REVIEW, REIMAGINE, RENEW: Mission making a difference in a changing world

Melbourne, 24-26 February 2016 

Thanks to the 250+ participants in our February 2016 conference: Review, Reimagine, Renew: Mission making a difference in a changing world.  Much of the benefit of such gatherings is from the opportunity provided to engage with others there.  Speakers were insightful and challenging, and helped us focus on key issues, including family violence, how we behave as organisations, and our alignment with the Pope’s lived narrative of mercy. Resources are being posted here to as they become available.   

Click here to listen to a podcast of John Cleary’s ABC radio show on 28 February. This conference wrap up with Denis Fitzgerald, Marcelle Mogg and Maria Harries covered issues including the Year of Mercy, protecting children within institutions, and building a more compassionate society.

Barrister Julian McMahon delivered the Mary Mackillop Oration at the #MissionRenew conference on 25 February. His theme was courage, and speaking truth to power. His narrative around the final days of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran was deeply moving and inspirational. Read John Allen’s account of Julian’s speech: An Australian Lesson in telling the full Catholic story. 
Click here to read about the Conference mass and Julian McMahon’s Mary Mackillop Oration .

Click here to read an article about the Confronting Family Violence: A Challenge for the Church to make a difference forum held on 24 February.  Panel members included, Joce Bignold, Paul Linossier, Sr Michelle Reid, Donella Johnston and Charlie King.

Keynote Speaker John Allen Jr discussed how Pope Francis’ papacy provides a Magna Carta for Catholic Social Services. Allen, Associate Editor of Crux, said, this Magna Carta includes; firstly the Holy Father’s passion for those on the peripheries namely the poor, refugees and homeless among others. Secondly, his deep missionary concept of the Church, ‘to get out of the sacristy and onto the streets’, and finally, his focus on mercy and being merciful. Click here for the video of John Allen’s address.  Click here and here for articles on thee address.  

panel of sector leaders then reflected on aspects of mission and the future:  click here for video coverage of John Falzon, Deb Tsorbaris, Al Curtin and Jayne Lloyd. 

 Julie Edwards, CEO of Jesuit Social Services, delivered a keynote on Hearts and Minds together for action – making a difference in a changing world. Click here for the video. 

Pre-Conference Material 

Melbourne, 24-26 February 2016

There is rapid change in the environment in which Catholic social services operate: changes in the Church, organisational profile, Australian society, and the relations between Government, not-for-profits and now for-profit providers. In such turbulence, Catholic social services are not, in the words of Pope Francis, ‘immortal, immune or indispensable’. There is a need then to take time out to reflect on this challenging environment; and to do this with current and future leaders, practitioners and supporters who are actively responding to the Gospel call to build a more compassionate and just society for the common good.

Highlights included:

• Family Violence forum: our free public forum, ‘Confronting Family Violence: a challenge for the Church to make a difference’ is scheduled for the Wednesday evening, at Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy
• John L Allen Jr: one of our keynote speakers and workshop leaders, John is one of the foremost authorities on the ‘Pastoral Revolution’ of Pope Francis and his economic outlook that condemns the ‘globalization of indifference’
 Addressing and Preventing Sexual Abuse forum: Robert Fitzgerald AM. Commissioner, Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse will present on the issue that casts a shadow over the Catholic Church
• Catholic social teaching Masterclass: Fr Frank Brennan sj will dig deep into the distinctive social thought of the Church and explore ways that it can be applied in contemporary Australia. 

A not-to-be missed national conference with keynotes, panel discussions and a wide range of stimulating workshops to build capacity for mission-impact. 


‘We are called constantly to improve and to grow in rapport and wisdom, in order to fully carry out mission’ – Pope Francis

‘Review, reimagine, renew: Mission making a difference in a changing world’ aimed to equip leaders, practitioners and supporters to set new directions wisely, make difficult decisions, and build their networks for mission-impact by:• providing valuable opportunities for reflection and spiritual development;• strengthening connections and information sharing; and• capacity building to create change for the common good. In addition to the broader themes of mission, impact and the challenges of solidarity today, leaders from our sector and beyond helped us address specific challenges such as institutional child abuseengagement with Indigenous Australians and the role of the Church in addressing the scourge of family violence.    The conference engaged with a range of relevant themes to equip attendees to approach renewal in social services innovatively in a changing environment. Content included Catholic Social Teaching in action, and securing funding to achieve sustainable mission-impact (‘The Mission or the Money – or both?’ with Tony Nicholson CEO of Brotherhood of St Laurence).   


Current and future Catholic leaders in social service and beyond:
• Catholic Social Services CEOs and Board members;
• community services managers, coordinators and practitioners;
• young professionals and future leaders;
• people in formal ministry;
• pastoral associates and active laity; 
• students and young people;
• Catholic Social Services supporters;
• Catholic health and education leaders; and 
• Other faith-based and values-based leaders in community services organisations. 


This was a be a not-to-be-missed conference offering opportunities for all to interact, listen and reimagine with:  
• John L Allen Jr , renowned US-based journalist and author, A servant Church in a changing world
• Frank Brennan sj (masterclass), Catholic Social Teaching in action (conference attendees only)
• Julie Edwards, Jesuit Social Services , Hearts and Minds together for action 
• Julian McMahon, barrister and human rights advocate, Mary MacKillop Oration (at Conference Dinner)
• Tony Nicholson, Brotherhood of St Laurence, The Mission or the Money – or both? workshop. 


ENQUIRIES Information including conference material and presentations: 
Lucia Brick on (03) 9287 5566

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