Once a year, the Anglican Board of Mission brings together its diocesan representatives from across Australia for an annual conference.
The gathering is an important opportunity for staff, Diocesan Representatives and others to meet, share news, to discuss ideas and issues, to learn.
This year’s conference was held on 26 - 28 July at the historic St Paul’s College within the grounds of the University of Sydney.
There was a good attendance with 18 ABM Diocesan Representatives from 16 Dioceses, 3 Board Members, 9 staff and a representative from the ABM National Auxiliary.
The conference began with an acknowledgement to country by Richard Morgan, Director of Community Development at St Paul’s College.
This was followed by opening prayers and a welcome from the Rev Andrew Sempell, Rector of St James’ King St, who has recently been appointed to the ABM Board.
The Rev John Deane, ABM’s Executive Director, noted that there was a sense of family in seeing familiar faces, and meeting new ones. New representatives at this year’s conference included Bishop Bill Ray, Chair of the Brisbane Committee; the Rev Canon Ian Howarth, Bendigo Diocese; the Rev Peter and Mrs Fiona Tinney, Newcastle Diocese; and Alan Larsen, Rockhampton Diocese. New ABM staff members present were Lyn Moorfoot, Supporter Engagement Manager; the Rev Dr Ivan Head, Gifts in Wills Officer.
|Lyn Moorfoot, Supporter Engagement Manager|
One of the conference highlights involved a discussion about the Statement from the Heart and ABM’s advocacy work around the publication ‘A Voice in the Wilderness’. (An 8-part study written by Celia Kemp to open up conversation about the church’s theological response to the Statement from the Heart – find it here.) This was in response to ABM’s agreement to work with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council (NATSIAC) to raise this at Synods over the next year via a motion to Synod. It was very encouraging to see that there was a clear commitment to making this statement heard, understood and discussed more broadly in the Church and then acted upon.
Another highlight was the ABM Dinner event on Friday 26 July held in the college’s Graduate House Dining Hall. The guest speaker was Tony Naake, a long-time supporter of ABM, who is fundraising for the Water, Sanitation and Health Project in Myanmar. Tony entertained diners during a Q&A session led by Fr John, speaking about his recent pilgrimage to Myanmar with ABM. It was inspiring to hear from an individual supporter who was moved by his experience to begin a personal campaign to help people through this project (view Tony’s video here).
On Sunday, the final day of the conference, delegates had the chance to worship at various parishes around the Sydney area, with Bishop Bill Ray invited to preach at St Luke's Enmore.
All in all, it was a successful gathering and ABM is most grateful to its Sydney Committee for helping to organise and facilitate the event. We give thanks to everyone who took time out to attend – coming together, meeting, sharing and building partnerships is a vital part of the work that ABM has done for many years and continues to do today.
| Fr John with Tony Naake, right, at the dinner.